From ‘liberalise and patronise’ to a genuine sustainable trade strategy for the EU

From ‘liberalise and patronise’ to a genuine sustainable trade strategy for the EU

The next European Commission must revamp its trade policy for the next five years to focus on sustainability, writes Jude Kirton-Darling. Jude Kirton-Darling is a Socialist and Democrat MEP and a member of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee. We still have four months to go before the new European Commission is appointed, but officials at DG Trade – the institutions’ arm responsible for conducting the EU’s international trade policy – would do well to reflect on the European election results. The European Parliament’s champions of free trade – a…

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Over 400,000 foreign drivers caught speeding in Belgium last year

Over 400,000 foreign drivers caught speeding in Belgium last year

More than 427,000 foreign drivers were caught speeding last yearin Belgium, which is a substantial increase over previous years, De Tijd reported on Saturday. In 2018, 3.74 million speeding tickets were issued in the country, of which 427,859 to foreign drivers, according to figures provided by Transport Minister François Bellot (MR) to liberal Federal Deputy Emmanuel Burton (MR). In 2017, only 264,887 foreign drivers were flashed. The increase is due in particular to the effective collaboration between various European states which allows to identify and send the fine to the…

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France demands a million euros from tax evading mayor and spouse

France demands a million euros from tax evading mayor and spouse

France on Thursday slapped a fine of one million euros for tax evasion and money laundering on a married couple who are mayor and deputy mayor of Levallois-Perret, one of the richest suburbs of Paris. Patrick and Isabelle Balkany, together with their son and two other persons, had been on trial in Paris for concealing millions of euros from French tax authorities for several years. Between 2007 and 2013, the pair of elected officials are thought to have concealed up to €13 million in different offshore bank accounts, front companies…

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Watered-down Tobin tax could enter into force in 2021

Watered-down Tobin tax could enter into force in 2021

EU finance ministers will discuss on Friday (14 June) a new draft proposal for a financial transaction tax (FTT), which will significantly lower expected revenues once participating member states adopt it, according to details of the text seen by EURACTIV. The draft directive is based on a Franco-German proposal made last December and should be adopted no later than January 2021. This will be the first time that all 28 governments will discuss the so-called ‘Tobin tax’, after years of closed-door negotiations and a “messy process”, as one European official…

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Flemish government issues negative advice on Neo shopping centre

Flemish government issues negative advice on Neo shopping centre

The Flemish government has issued a negative advice on the shopping and conference complex Neo, planned for the Heysel plateau in the north of Brussels. The plans for the first phase include 72,000 square metres of shopping centre, bars and restaurants, 590 homes, offices and day-care. A second phase would include a hotel with 250 rooms and a dedicated congress centre which was recently described in a letter from a number of major congress organisers as “outdated”. The plan was the brainchild of former Brussels mayor Freddy Thielemans, who left…

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Belgian tax authorities plan to pay special attention to foreign bank account holders

Belgian tax authorities plan to pay special attention to foreign bank account holders

The Belgian tax authorities have announced plans to pay special attention this year to the tax returns of residents who have bank accounts abroad. The measure is one of a set of priorities announced today which involve checking up on matters which taxpayers are supposed to declare voluntarily, whether individuals or businesses. Others include payments received from abroad, payments claimed as alimony or child support, income from properties rented out for professional ends and failing to submit a tax declaration. For businesses, special attention will be paid to sums claimed…

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STIB denies advertising Uber after Taxi protest

STIB denies advertising Uber after Taxi protest

The Brussels public transport company, STIB, has denied accusations by protesting taxi drivers that it has undertaken promotion of the Uber ride-share company. About 40 of the taxi drivers demonstrated at about 6:00 AM outside the STIB warehouse in Haren to denounce the fact that Stib had spotlighted the U.S. transport platform during the presentation of its 2018 annual report. The protest ended without incident at about 08:15 AM, the Brussels police told Belga news agency. STIB said on social networks that it had never promoted anyone and that the…

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France to ban destruction of unsold consumer products

France to ban destruction of unsold consumer products

France’s prime minister has announced a crackdown on the destruction of unsold or returned consumer products, a move that will affect luxury goods brands and online retailers such as Amazon. Edouard Philippe said a ban on destroying non-food goods – including clothes, electrical items, hygiene products and cosmetics – would come into force within the next four years. The announcement came after the success of green parties in last month’s European parliamentary elections, not least in France where the EELV party came third with 13.5% of the vote. More than…

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Nectar swaps BP for Esso amid criticism by climate campaigners

Nectar swaps BP for Esso amid criticism by climate campaigners

A major UK consumer loyalty programme has been criticised by environmental campaigners for making Esso – whose parent company ExxonMobil has been under fire for its track record on climate change – its new fuel partner. Petrol company BP has axed its 16-year partnership with the Nectar loyalty card, which means that from Saturday the 20 million holders of the card – owned by Sainsbury’s – will no longer be able to earn points with BP and will instead pick up Nectar points at Esso-branded sites when filling up their…

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Brexit: UK car production plunges amid ‘untold damage’ of EU leave date chaos

Brexit: UK car production plunges amid ‘untold damage’ of EU leave date chaos

Car production plunged by nearly half in April as factories shut down to prepare for a Brexit date that never came, prompting renewed anguish from the UK motor industry at the “untold damage” done by prolonged uncertainty. In a slump that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) described as “extraordinary”, 70,971 vehicles rolled off the production lines in April, down 44.5% from 127,970 in the same month of last year. Labour said the figures showed that the government’s “mishandling” of Brexit was already hurting carmakers, warning of further…

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