22 Feb 2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 22 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
European Semester Winter Package: review of Member States’ progress towards economic and social priorities
The European Commission today publishes 27 Country Reports (for all Member States except for Greece, which is under a dedicated stability support programme) (report on Ireland can be found here), the annual analysis from Commission staff of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including an assessment of remaining imbalances. Also published today are: a report on the implementation of the Fiscal Compact, a report analysing the debt situation in Italy and a report, together with a proposal to the Council for a fine on a case of misrepresentation of statistics in Austria. The Country Reports show that Member States are making headway in implementing the individual policy guidance they received last year around the “virtuous triangle” of boosting investment, pursuing structural reforms and ensuring responsible fiscal policies. The report on the transposition of the Fiscal Compact shows that all parties to the Compact have by now introduced the substance of the Fiscal Compact in their national fiscal frameworks. The full press release and memo as well as a separate memo on Austria are available online.
EU welcomes entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – the most significant multilateral trade deal concluded since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995 – enters into force today, after reaching the required threshold of ratifications by WTO members. The agreement aims to simplify and clarify international import and export procedures, customs formalities and transit requirements. It will make trade-related administration easier and less costly, thus helping to provide an important and much needed boost to global economic growth. The agreement will also help to improve transparency, increase possibilities for small and medium-sized companies to participate in global value chains, and reduce the scope for corruption. EU customs authorities will play a leading role in the implementation of the agreement, acting both as an example to follow and as an engine for further progress in trade facilitation within the EU and at international level. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “Better border procedures and faster, smoother trade flows will revitalise global trade to the benefit of citizens and businesses in all parts of the world. Small companies, that have a hard time navigating daily bureaucracy and complicated rules, will be major winners.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica added: “Trade is a key driver for sustainable development. The new agreement will help tapping the huge potential of trade. I am ready to assist our partner countries to make the most of this agreement.” The deal was agreed during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013. More information is available in a press release online.
NEWS IN FULL