European Commission Daily News 15th Feb
Strong EU trade enforcement rules enter into force
Robust new trade enforcement rules have entered into force that will further strengthen the EU’s toolbox in defending its interests. With the update of the EU’s Trade Enforcement Regulation, the EU is able to act in a broader range of circumstances. The new rules upgrade the EU’s enforcement by introducing the following changes: empowering the EU to act to protect its trade interests in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and under bilateral agreements when a trade dispute is blocked despite the EU’s good faith effort to follow dispute settlement procedures (the regulation previously only allowed action after the completion of dispute settlement procedures); and expanding the scope of the regulation and of possible trade policy countermeasures to services and certain trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (IPR) (the regulation previously only permitted countermeasures in goods). Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The European Union must be able to defend itself against unfair trading practices. These new rules will help protect us from those trying to take advantage of our openness. We continue to work towards our first preference, which is a reformed and well-functioning multilateral rulebook with an effective Dispute Settlement System at its core. But we cannot afford to stand defenseless in the meantime. These measures allow us to respond resolutely and assertively.” A press release is available here.
Meetings of the Eurogroup and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), 15-16 February 2021
Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Gentiloni will represent the Commission at the Eurogroup meeting which is being held today by videoconference. Eurogroup members will exchange views on macroeconomic developments and prospects in the euro area, on the basis of the Commission’s economic forecasts for winter 2021 and the presentation by Dr Michael Ryan of the World Organization of health on the evolution of the health situation. The meeting will also address the international role of the euro following the guidelines formulated at the euro summit in December 2020 and the publication of the European Commission communication on this subject in January. Eurogroup members will review recent developments in the solvency of the corporate sector, on the basis of a note prepared by the Commission, and Lithuania’s draft updated budget plan for 2021, on the basis of the opinion published by the Commission in January 2021. Finally, Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus will present the political priorities of the new Estonian government. Commissioner Gentiloni will represent the Commission at the press conference following the meeting. Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioners Hahn, Gentiloni, Urpilainen and McGuinness will represent the Commission at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) to be held tomorrow by video conference. The ECOFIN Council will exchange views on the priorities of the national recovery and resilience plans, after a presentation by the Portuguese Presidency on the state of play of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The Presidency will inform the ministers of the state of play of national ratifications of the decision on own resources. The Commission will briefly present the elements of its borrowing strategy under NextGenerationEU. The Presidency will also inform participants about the state of play of the conclusions on the guidelines for the EU budget for 2022 and the recommendation on the discharge to be given to the Commission for the implementation of the general budget of the EU. for 2019. Participants will have an exchange of views on how to promote an EU initiative for global recovery to respond to the growing challenges facing developing and low-income countries in financing recovery and discuss financial and political priorities for their relaunch, within the framework of a “Team Europe” approach. The Presidency will also present the state of play of legislative proposals relating to financial services. Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis will represent the Commission at the press conference following the meeting.
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