Week Ahead (10 January)
Monday, 10 January - New Dutch government to be sworn in
Having reached a new coalition deal in December, a new Dutch government will be sworn in today. The new coalition will consist of the same four centre and centre-right parties that governed the last parliament, those being the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Democrats 66 (D66), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Christian Union.
The Government will now be expected to submit its recovery and resilience plan to the Commission – the last EU country to do so. The allocation of funds to the Netherlands will be subject to some fiscal reforms by the Dutch government, including removing some tax exemptions on mortgages and self-employed individuals. The agreement for government also features a commitment to introduce several new taxation measures, including a digital services tax, an airline tax, a CO2 border tax and a minimum rate for profit tax aimed at preventing unfair competition between Member States. The new government will also have to contend with the latest wave of the pandemic which has seen the country enter 2022 in lockdown, prompting unrest in Amsterdam.
Tuesday, 11 January – First round of talks between the French Presidency of the Council and representatives from the European Parliament
On Tuesday, trilogue negotiations get underway on the European Commission’s flagship Digital Markets Act (DMA). EU Member States (Council) and the European Parliament adopted their positions in Q4 2021. Changes to the proposed text on foot of the Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee amendments include allowing users to decide whether to uninstall pre-installed apps, as well as allowing them the option to change their default settings.
Thursday, 13 January - ECON meeting to consider draft report on Single Access Point
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will consider its draft report on the European Single Access Point (ESAP) for company disclosures on Thursday. The ESAP is a proposal within a wider review of the Capital Markets Union, for which an action plan was launched in September 2020.
The idea of the ESAP is to facilitate the flow and use of information to allow for the better allocation of capital across the EU. It will encompass not only standard corporate disclosures but also non-financial information relating to Environmental, Social and Governance reporting (ESG) with the aim of supporting environmental objectives as well as improving the sustainable finance infrastructure in Europe.
Friday, 14 January - Deadline for European Parliament and Council feedback on draft taxonomy
The European Parliament and Council have until Friday to provide feedback on the Commission's draft taxonomy proposals, published on 31 December. The Commission has sought to include investments in nuclear and gas as "green", a decision which has generated immediate controversy. France pushed strongly in favour of nuclear, while Germany, which has almost completed a phase-out of the use of nuclear power, had resisted its inclusion in the taxonomy. The German Greens, which recently entered government for the first time, have accused the Commission of "greenwashing" and have accused the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz of a betrayal, while Austria's climate minister has threatened to sue should the proposals around nuclear power go ahead in their current form. The Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, has defended the Commission's proposals, stating that they were identified on the basis of "robust, science-based criteria".
Despite the opposition to the inclusion of nuclear power, it is thought unlikely that the proposal will be blocked. While Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Spain, among others, are known to oppose the classification of nuclear, blocking the proposal would require 20 member states, representing 65% of the population of the EU, to object. Alternatively, a majority of the European Parliament could block the proposal. However, both scenarios are unlikely to manifest.