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How do European companies report on the social and environmental impact of their business activities? To answer this question, the Alliance for Corporate Transparency presented a large-scale review in Brussels this week. For the first time, an extensive data set has been available, which analyses the sustainability reports of 1,000 European companies.

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In a current study, the European Trade Union Institute analyses the challenges facing the two key sectors of the coal and automobile industry, towards a climate neutral Europe. One thing is clear: a just transition is required to keep the negative impact on the affected workers to a minimum.

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On 5th February 2020, the European Commission launched a debate on the EU Stability and Growth Pact. A key issue is how public investments could be promoted. From the AK’s point of view the time has come for a Golden Investment Rule.

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On 22nd January 2020, Commissioner Johannes Hahn, responsible for the EU budget, for the first time addressed the European Parliament’s Budget Committee in his new role. The Austrian Commissioner and the MEPs agreed: the EU needs a strong Multiannual Financial Framework from to 2021, to enable it to fulfil its new and ambitious targets.

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On 27th January, Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni as well as the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, answered questions of the Members of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee as well as of the European Parliament’s Employment Committee.

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Long before the official presentation of the European Green Deal, eyebrows were raised as to the funding of the mammoth project. On 14 January 2020 the Commission presented the financial plan for the green transition to MEPs, including an investment plan for a sustainable Europe and a mechanism for a just transition.

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District heating is, on the one hand, an important energy efficiency measure. On the other hand, it is an important infrastructure to increase the share of renewable energy in heating and cooling. However, there is no strong regulation in place comparable to electricity and natural gas from a consumer´s perspective: They generally are in a weak position with high infrastructure costs entailing high prices. Therefore, AK proposes a reform of the framework conditions of the local and district heating and cooling markets on European level.

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Particularly in the run up to Christmas, Amazon’s business is booming. Criticism of the tech giant appears not to have impact on consumers’ shopping behaviour -  the power of the company, based on dubious and anti-trade union strategies, is growing.

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On 2nd December 2019,  Christine Lagarde, the newly appointed President of the European Central Bank spoke in front of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament for the first time. Apart from current economic indicators, she announced her intention to review the ECB’s monetary strategy for the first time in 16 years.

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On 26th November 2019, mail arrived for Council President-designate Charles Michel: a joint letter of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) addressed the lobbying by corporations to influence the Council. In this letter, the AK as co-signatory demands actual lobbying transparency, which, among other, had already been recommended by the European Ombudsman and has actually been envisioned by the guidelines of the Juncker- Commission.