Google agrees on $1 billion to end a tax settlement dispute with France

Google agrees on $1 billion to end a tax settlement dispute with France

US internet giant Google has agreed a settlement totalling $1 billion to end a tax dispute in France under an agreement announced in court on Thursday (12 September). The company will pay a €500 million fine for tax evasion, as well as a further €465 million to settle claims with French tax authorities. In a statement, Google confirmed the settlement and hailed the fact it had put an end to fiscal differences that it had had with France for numerous years. The settlement follows similar out-of-court agreements reached in Italy…

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EU Supreme Court may qualify Spanish mortgage lending as offensive

EU Supreme Court may qualify Spanish mortgage lending as offensive

Spain’s mortgage interest rate index – known as IRPH – could be considered abusive, advocate general of the Court of Justice of the EU warned in his conclusions on Tuesday (10 September), which are contrary to an assessment of Spain’s Supreme Court. In a response to a local Spanish court inquiry, advocate general Maciej Szpunar said that IRPH – an alternative to Euribor to set mortgage rates – falls under the scope of application of the EU’s directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts. Spuznar argued that the directive is…

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Italian Prime Minister seeks EU reform as government wins vote of confidence

Italian Prime Minister seeks EU reform as government wins vote of confidence

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called Monday (9 September) for the reform of European Union budget rules and cooperation on immigration as his new government won a parliamentary confidence vote. After a heated debate, 343 MPs backed the incoming coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and centre-left Democratic Party, while 263 voted against, according to the official count. Much of Conte’s first speech to parliament earlier in the day was dedicated to chiding the previous populist coalition for endless bickering, and promising the new government would be better behaved….

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Dutch manufacturing index shrinks a fraction

Dutch manufacturing index shrinks a fraction

The average daily production of Dutch industry was 0.2 percent lower in July than in the same month last year. The fall in production is smaller than in the previous four months, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Of the eight largest business classes within the industry, production of the electrical and electronic equipment industry grew by more than 11 percent. Production in the machinery, food and transport industries also grew. However, according to the statistics office, a small majority of business classes in industry had to cope…

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US will sanction whoever purchases Iran’s oil, official says

US will sanction whoever purchases Iran’s oil, official says

The United States will continue to impose sanctions on whoever purchases Iran’s oil or conducts business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and no oil waivers will be re-issued, a US official said on Sunday (8 September). Iran’s crude oil exports were slashed by more than 80% due to re-imposed sanctions by the United States after President Donald Trump exited last year Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. “We will continue to put pressure on Iran and as President (Trump) said there will be no waivers of any kind for Iran’s…

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EU auto industry forms unlikely alliance with NGO on electric cars

EU auto industry forms unlikely alliance with NGO on electric cars

Long-time adversaries Transport & Environment and ACEA have signed a partnership to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points, as the auto industry seeks to rebrand with a focus on digital and electric. “For many years, on various files, we haven’t always agreed,” Transport & Environment’s Julia Poliscanova acknowledged as she signed a new partnership with ACEA, the association of European car manufacturers. “We will not always agree in the future. But it’s important to have something we can work together on,” Poliscanova said. “It’s important we help you…

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Time to give the transport sector the predictability needed to flourish in a zero-emissions economy

Time to give the transport sector the predictability needed to flourish in a zero-emissions economy

Despite its clear potential for clean transportation, electro-mobility still does not seem to be the motor driving Europe’s economic, climate, and industrial policy, writes Folker Franz. Folker Franz is Senior Vice-President at ABB Europe and currently chairs the Platform for Electro-Mobility, an industry-NGO coalition. As we plan the future of mobility, considering how European citizens and goods will move around in coming decades, Europe is at a crossroads. We can stay on our current path, powering our cars, planes, trains, and ships with fossil fuels, wasting capital while increasing greenhouse…

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Promote the Trans-Caspian pipeline more actively in the interests of Turkmenistan itself

Promote the Trans-Caspian pipeline more actively in the interests of Turkmenistan itself

Iran and Russia are opposing the implementation of the Trans-Caspian project, which is supported by Azerbaijan and is in the EU’s interest, writes Shahnar Hajiev. The broader Caspian Basin – a region at the center of what has been called the “strategic energy ellipse” between Russia and the Persian Gulf – remains an important alternative source of oil and natural gas for European and Asian markets. It is estimated that the Caspian region contains 48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in proved…

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Signs of weakness and instability are seen with the naked eye in Asian economies

Signs of weakness and instability are seen with the naked eye in Asian economies

The markets of Asia that allowed the EU to drive an export-led economic recovery following the 2008 crisis are now faced with a recession. The US-China trade war is taking its toll on Hong Kong, China, Japan, India, Singapore, and South Korea, all of which are looking at deteriorating economic conditions. China’s GDP slowed to 6% in the second quarter – the lowest since 1990 – despite a double-digit currency devaluation over the last year (12%), a deficit-driven investment programme, and accelerating credit supply. China’s factory output is expected to…

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Half a billion euros will be allocated to German forests

Half a billion euros will be allocated to German forests

Climate change is causing problems for Germany’s forests as large woodland areas are dying. The ministry of agriculture is now planning to unlock millions of euros in aid to help prevent new forests from dying out. EURACTIV Germany reports. Approximately half a billion euros could flow into German forests over the next four years, as part of emergency aid to save the forests. This was announced on Thursday (20 August) by Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) after a meeting with representatives of the forestry industry,…

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