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Search resuls for: "Jan Strupczewski"

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Instead, the draft seen by Reuters offers to re-purpose some of the money the EU has already agreed to raise jointly for its post-coronavirus pandemic recovery fund. It will also loosen state aid rules to allow governments to support their firms more. GREEN TRANSITIONThe Recovery Fund already earmarks 250 billion euros in total to be spent on the transition to a green and sustainable economy. But an additional 225 billion euros in the Recovery Fund has not even been claimed by any country because these are cheap loans and governments prefer grants. The Commission said governments will now be able to use these unclaimed loans for green industry support, along with a 5.4 billion euro reserve in the EU budget created to counter the effects of Brexit.
BRUSSELS, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Euro zone economic sentiment rose to a seven-month high in January on more optimism across all sectors except construction, with inflation expectations among consumers and companies both sharply down, data showed on Monday. The European Commission's Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) rose to 99.9 this month, above an upwardly revised 97.1 in December -- the highest value of the index since June 2022. Selling price expectations among manufacturers also dropped sharply to 31.9 in January from 37.8 in December in a sign inflationary pressures early in the pipeline were receding too. The Commission said optimism in industry rose to 1.3 from -0.6 in December and in services to 10.7 from 7.7. The mood among consumers improved to -20.9 in January from -22.1 and in the retail sector to -0.8 from -2.7.
BRUSSELS, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Producers of clean technologies like renewable hydrogen and batteries could receive faster permits under European Union plans to support industries facing U.S. and Chinese competition, a draft document showed on Monday. Specific projects considered important to developing clean technology supply chains could also receive speedier permits, said the draft, which could still change before it is published. Potential options include batteries, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy, renewable hydrogen, energy storage, and low-carbon construction technologies, although the EU will assess which projects to make eligible, the draft said. The EU would also set goals to expand these industries by 2030, to ensure they keep up with Europe's growing needs for clean energy and products. Brussels is looking to create more EU-wide standards for clean technologies - potentially by defining requirements for net-zero emissions products, which could then guide national governments' public procurement of such goods, the draft said.
BRUSSELS, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Plans by the European Commission to create new European Union funding for the green industry are facing mounting opposition in the 27-nation bloc, as seven EU countries openly rejected the idea in a letter to the EU executive. The letter, seen by Reuters and dated Jan. 26, was signed by the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Estonia and Slovakia and addressed to the European Commission vice president responsible for trade, Valdis Dombrovskis. All 10 countries say the EU should be using funds already approved instead of seeking more money. But in their letter, the seven countries said the EU should first spend the money it had already agreed to raise through the 800 billion euro post-pandemic recovery and resilience fund (RRF) of grants and cheap loans. "We have to ensure that the economy can better absorb the already agreed EU funding," the seven countries wrote.
BRUSSELS, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The European Commission is proposing that the EU set a $100 per barrel price cap on premium Russian oil products like diesel and a $45 per barrel cap on discounted products like fuel oil, European Union officials said on Thursday. The price cap on Russian oil products follows a $60 per barrel cap imposed on Russian crude on Dec. 5th as G7 countries and the 27-nation EU as a whole seek to limit Russia's revenue from its oil exports without disrupting world supply. Both price caps work by prohibiting Western insurance and shipping companies from insuring or carrying cargoes of Russian crude and oil products unless they were bought at or below the set price cap. The $60 per barrel limit on crude is now up for review as the market price has been just below the cap. Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Kate Abnett; Editing by Kirsten DonovanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The EU is concerned that European companies will move to the United States, which has a $369 billion scheme to subsidise green production. The EU will therefore provide money for its industry as well, von der Leyen said. "To keep European industry attractive, there is a need to be competitive with the offers and incentives that are currently available outside the EU," she said. For the medium term, we will prepare a European Sovereignty Fund as part of the mid-term review of our budget later this year," von der Leyen said. She said the Commission was now working on what the needs of the green industry were.
BRUSSELS, Jan 16 (Reuters) - France wants the European Union to adopt a "Made in Europe" industrial strategy in response to the U.S. scheme of subsidies for green investment, to keep industrial firms from leaving Europe and reduce members' dependence on outside suppliers. "The implementation of an ambitious and robust European industrial policy is therefore essential today. The French authorities propose that it take the form of a 'Made in Europe' strategy," France said in a paper seen by Reuters. The French paper called for urgent measures in particular to retain Europe companies involved in solar panels, batteries, hydrogen and critical raw materials, noting the "Made in Europe" strategy should be based on four pillars. The third pillar should be EU funding for sensitive sectors, which would help equalise the uneven fiscal power for supporting industries among EU countries.
The EU froze funds earmarked for Hungary and Poland over their nationalist governments' track record of undercutting liberal democratic rules. Portugal had disbursed 1.4 billion euros, or 8.5% of the total recovery funds assigned to it, to project promoters by the end of 2022. Romania and Portugal are the two countries pushing hardest to extend the 2026 deadline and Spain and other Eastern European countries are supporting their demands, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said. Some countries are devising workarounds for projects that are particularly important and look like they are unlikely to meet the deadline, said a source. This would imply budgeting and allocating funds before the projects have been commissioned in order to meet the 2026 deadline, the person said.
[1/2] European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson attend the inauguration of Esrange's new satellite launch ramp, Spaceport Esrange outside Kiruna, Sweden, January 13, 2023. The Commission is planning to loosen state aid rules, but some EU countries can spend more than others. Von der Leyen said the bloc needed "credible and ambitious" financing tools to preserve the single market. She said the Commission was working on an assessment of what the EU clean tech sector needed to compete with U.S. rivals. Yet Scholz's own Social Democrats published a paper on Thursday saying that new EU joint borrowing should be "constructively examined".
G7 seeks two price caps for Russian oil products
  + stars: | 2023-01-10 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
BRUSSELS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Group of Seven (G7) coalition will seek to set two price caps on Russian refined products in February, one for products trading at a premium to crude oil and the other for those trading at a discount, a G7 official said. The coalition - which consists of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, plus the 27-nation European Union - introduced a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian crude from Dec. 5, on top of the EU embargo on imports of Russian crude by sea. From Feb. 5, the coalition will also impose price caps on Russian products, such as diesel, kerosene and fuel oil, to further reduce Moscow's revenue from energy exports and its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. But capping Russian oil product prices is more complicated than setting a price limit on crude alone, because there are many oil products and their price often depends on where they are bought, rather than where they are produced, the official said, asking not to be named. Citing the example of diesel and kerosene that tend to trade at a premium to crude, while fuel oil typically sells at a discount, he said this was why the G7 was considering two price caps.
But the headline number masked a more malignant trend, with all key components of core inflation accelerating. "Rising core inflation means that not much will sway the European Central Bank from the hawkish path it set out late last year," ING economist Bert Colijn said. The recession was expected to push up unemployment, naturally dampening price pressures. But employment, already at a record high, is actually going up, not down. "The delayed passthrough of high production costs and a still-strong labour market will sustain core inflation," Riccardo Marcelli Fabiani at Oxford Economics said.
BRUSSELS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Euro zone economic sentiment improved in December for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, European Commission data showed on Friday, with more optimism across all sectors of the economy and a sharp drop in inflation expectations. The Commission's monthly economic sentiment index rose to 95.8 in December from 94.0 in November, the first upward movement after a slide from a record high of 114.0 scaled in February, the month Russia invaded Ukraine. The mood in industry improved to -1.5 from -1.9 and the sentiment in the services sector, the euro zone's biggest contributor to growth, more than doubled to 6.3 from 3.1. Separately, euro zone retail sales rebounded more than expected in November thanks to higher fuel sales at petrol stations, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said. Retail sales are a proxy for consumer demand which has suffered from high energy prices that triggered a record surge in consumer inflation.
China plans to ease travel restrictions on Jan 8, despite a wave of new infections which has left Chinese hospitals and funeral houses overwhelmed. The IPCR also recommended that all passengers on flights to and from China should wear face masks, that EU governments introduce random testing of passengers arriving from China and that they test and sequence wastewater in airports with international flights and planes arriving from China. "The Member States agree to assess the situation and review the introduced measures by mid-January 2023," the IPCR said in statement. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said last week it did not currently recommend measures on travellers from China, because the variants circulating in China were already in the European Union. The ECDC also said EU citizens had relatively high vaccination levels and the potential for imported infections was low compared to daily infections in the EU, with healthcare systems currently coping.
BRUSSELS, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most European Union countries favour introducing pre-departure COVID testing for travellers from China, the European Commission said on Tuesday, as Beijing plans to lift travel restrictions on its citizens despite a wave of COVID infections. The common EU approach emerged after a meeting on Tuesday of the Health Security Committee, an EU advisory body of national health experts from the EU-s 27 countries and chaired by the Commission. "The overwhelming majority of countries are in favour of pre-departure testing," a Commission spokesman said. The spokesman said all EU countries agreed they needed a coordinated approach to the changing situation in China and to deal with implications of increased travel from China to Europe after China lifts its stringent pandemic polices on Jan 8th. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said last week it did not currently recommend measures on travellers from China.
BRUSSELS, Jan 2 (Reuters) - European Union government health officials will hold talks on Wednesday on a coordinated response to the surge in COVID-19 infections in China, the Swedish EU presidency said on Monday, after December talks concluded with no decisions on the matter. At a similar meeting on Dec. 29, held online among over 100 representatives from EU governments, EU health agencies and the World Health Organisation, Italy urged the rest of the EU to follow its lead and test travellers from China for COVID, with Beijing poised to lift travel restrictions on Jan. 8. "There is a scheduled Integrated Political Crisis Response meeting on Wednesday, January 4, for an update of the COVID-19 situation in China and to discuss possible EU measures to be taken in a coordinated way," a spokeswoman for the Swedish presidency of the EU said. Kyriakides said the bloc should be "very vigilant" as reliable epidemiological and testing data for China were scarce, advising EU health ministers to assess their current practices on genomic sequencing of the coronavirus "as an immediate step". The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said last week it did not currently recommend measures on travellers from China.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni may say more on this in her end-of-year news conference from around 11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT). It was unclear when the EU health committee, which started its meeting on Thursday morning, would end and what decisions it could take. The Health Security Committee is composed of officials from health ministries across the bloc and chaired by the Commission. It has met frequently at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe to coordinate policies. China has rejected criticism of its COVID statistics as groundless and politically motivated attempts to smear its policies.
EU-Ukraine summit set for Feb 3, location not decided
  + stars: | 2022-12-22 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
The location of the summit has not been determined yet. "I can confirm the EU-Ukraine summit will take place on 3 February and there is an open invitation to President Zelenskiy to visit Brussels," said Barend Leyts, spokesman for the chairman of EU leaders. The spokesman said the invitation for Zelenskiy to visit Brussels did not mean that's where the summit would be held. Officials said the theme of the summit was likely to be how the EU can continue to support Ukraine against Russia. The leaders of the EU's two key institutions -- the Commission and the council of EU leaders -- would also assess Ukraine's path to membership in the bloc.
BRUSSELS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it would hold back all 22 billion euros of EU cohesion funds for Hungary until its government meets conditions related to judiciary independence, academic freedoms, LGBTQI rights and the asylum system. The 22 billion euros is the amount of EU cohesion funds that Hungary is to get from the EU's long-term budget between 2021 and 2027. The 22 billion euros for Hungary are earmarked for programmes including education for disadvantaged children, rail transport upgrades, access to broadband and aid for regions affected by coal plant closures. We'll keep working with Hungarian authorities to overcome this situation," said Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. On top of the cohesion funds, the EU is also holding back Hungary's 5.8 billion euros in grants from the EU's recovery fund until the government addresses concerns over the independence of courts.
Russian airlines continue to operate many of the jets, but some have struggled to secure replacement parts. AerCap (AER.N), SMBC Aviation Capital and Avolon, the world's largest lessors, declined to comment on whether they were involved in talks on payment for jets from Russian airlines or their insurers. RUSSIAN STATE FUNDSRussian state backing for the talks was demonstrated in an Aug. 30 letter from its Transport Ministry to 23 airlines. That was "considerably less than the aggregate Agreed Values" for the aircraft, SMBC said in the letter. But one Western finance official said any deal would face major legal and diplomatic hurdles and talks may be premature.
BRUSSELS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Short-term accommodation services company Airbnb (ABNB.O) must provide information in rental contracts to tax authorities and withhold tax under a national regime, the European Union's top court ruled on Thursday. The Italian court subsequently sought guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). "EU law does not preclude the requirement to collect information or to withhold tax under a national tax regime," the EU court said in a statement. But an Airbnb spokesperson said the company was already supporting the correct payment of host income tax by implementing the EU's agreed common tax reporting framework. "We will continue to make progress on the EU's bloc-wide approach to income tax reporting while we await the final decision of the Italian court," the Airbnb spokesperson said.
[1/5] A man dressed as Santa Claus (Father Christmas) and Serge Hennebel, nicknamed "Elf Serge", perform at a Christmas village adorned with thousands of lights, in La Bruyere, Beauvechain, Belgium, December 20, 2022. The work of a Belgian aeronautical engineer, Serge Hennebel, 54, the "Garden of Santa Claus" is a seasonal entertainment venue located in a small village of La Bruyere, in central Belgium, 38 km (24 miles) south-east of Brussels. Lit by more than 52,800 lights, it attracts visitors from across the world who can enjoy a walk in the village, crossing the path of a giant snowman and taking souvenir photos next to Santa's sleigh and Santa's Train. Energy prices in the euro zone were 35% higher in November than 12 months earlier, boosting the costs of powering the venue and forcing the earlier closure, Hennebel said. Reporting by Yves Herman, writing by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Alex RichardsonOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
In the first case, Amazon faced charges of using its size, power and data to push its own products to gain an unfair advantage over rival merchants that also use its platform. The company has agreed not to use sellers' data for its own competing retail business and its private label products. The second case was about the equal treatment of sellers when ranking their offers for the "buy box" on its website that generates the bulk of its sales. In the third case, Amazon agreed that sellers under Amazon's Prime feature can choose their own logistics and delivery services, other than those approved and chosen by Amazon. These commitments address our preliminary competition concerns about Amazon practices on its e-commerce marketplace," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference.
Amazon reaches settlement with EU over use of data, avoids fine
  + stars: | 2022-12-20 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
The company has agreed not to use sellers' data for its own competing retail business and its private label products. The second case was about the equal treatment of sellers when ranking their offers for the "buy box" on its website that generates the bulk of its sales. Amazon has agreed to set up a second prominently displayed buy box for a rival product if it differs substantially in price and delivery from the product in the first box. "We are pleased that we have addressed the European Commission's concerns and resolved these matters," an Amazon spokesperson said. The Commission said it could impose a fine of up to 10% of Amazon's total annual turnover if the company were to breach the commitments.
Poland withdrew last-minute objections to a global minimum corporate tax, unblocking a whole package of linked agreements that includes the loan to Ukraine, invaded by Russia almost 10 months ago. "The next six months will demand even greater efforts from us," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the 27 EU leaders gathered in Brussels, asking them for more support from air defences to energy equipment. EU leaders also agreed a ninth package of sanctions against Russia for waging the war against Ukraine, diplomats said. The decision, which requires unanimity, came after EU Russia hawks Poland and Lithuania had warned that proposed exceptions for food security might in fact benefit Russian oligarchs in the fertilizer business. Poorer EU countries want a coordinated response and warned richer member states like Germany against supporting their industries without showing solidarity with the rest of the bloc.
BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Poland was on Thursday holding up the European Union's formal adoption of a minimum corporate tax for large companies and, by extension, also blocking a whole package of other deals, including financing for Ukraine in 2023, diplomats said. The minimum tax, along with 18 billion euros ($19 billion)for Ukraine next year, the approval of Hungary's recovery plan and the suspension of some EU budget funds for Budapest were all part of a complex deal reached by EU governments on Monday night. "It's the whole package that is held up over Polish issues with the global tax that no one understands," one EU diplomat said. The minimum tax is to apply to companies with an annual turnover of at least 750 million euros and each EU country will have to adopt it into national law by the end of 2023. Large firms will have to pay the minimum rate from the start of 2024.
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