Week Ahead (19 April)
W/C Monday, 18 April – Final week of campaigning for second round of French Presidential election
Campaigning for the second-round vote in the 2022 French Presidential election will take place this week as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen seek to strengthen their claims to the Élysée. Polls suggest that Macron is well placed to win his second term in office, becoming the first presidential candidate in 20 years to do so. The latest Ipsos/Sopra Steria poll shows him ahead on 56% to Le Pen’s 44%. A televised debate on Wednesday is likely to prove important as Le Pen's poor showing in a similar debate in 2017 was widely considered to have contributed to her heavy defeat in that election.
Le Pen faces a difficult task to bridge the gap to Macron, given the strong performance of the left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round. Mélenchon came third, only 0.4% and 400,000 votes behind Le Pen. He immediately called for his supporters to reject the National Rally candidate; reports suggest that at least 80% of Mélenchon voters are likely to comply with his request.
Both candidates endured a tough first week on the campaign trail, with Le Pen facing questions about her links to and support of Vladimir Putin and Macron taking criticism from members of the public over his tenure to date. However, despite the anger, Macron is still expected to win on 24 April, albeit by a much-reduced margin when compared to the 2017 elections, where he took 66.1% to Le Pen’s 33.9%.
Tuesday, 19 April – Deadline for submission to EBA discussion paper on payment fraud
The deadline for comments on the European Banking Authority’s discussion paper on payment fraud data under Payment Services Directive 2 passes today. The discussion paper, published on 17 January, covers the years 2019 and 2020 and encompasses data collected by the finance sector in Europe as well as national regulatory authorities.
The draft discussion paper found that PSD2 is having a positive effect on the payments sector. Nonetheless the consultation is seeking input from industry in order to fill gaps identified in the data, including expanding the geographical span of the data and the number of payment instruments covered. Submissions will be published at the end of the consultation period.
Wednesday, 20 April – ECON meeting to vote on amendments to legislative proposals on minimum level of taxation for corporate groups
According to the draft agenda, on Wednesday the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will discuss amendments to the legislation on introducing a minimum corporate tax rate in Europe. The minimum rate is set to be increased to 15% on foot of the global agreement on the matter reached at OECD level in October. A vote on the amendments at committee is pencilled in for 28 April while a vote of the full parliament is scheduled for 6 June.
Negotiations towards introducing the new tax rate at the European Council have faltered, with Poland, Sweden, Estonia and Malta having rejected a French-proposed compromise in March. Unanimity is required as the matter relates to taxation. The impasse demonstrates that the path towards the implementation of the OECD plan is not straightforward, with further significant doubts over whether the agreement will be approved by the US Congress.
Friday, 22 April – Greece S&P credit rating
On Friday, S&P will review Greece’s credit rating amid some positive indicators for the medium-term health of the Greek economy. It is expected to raise Greece’s credit rating, mirroring its April 2021 decision to raise the rating by a notch to BB, or two notches below investment grade, with a positive outlook.