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Week Ahead (28 February)

Monday, 28 February – ECON committee to vote on Markets in Crypto Assets proposals

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will vote on its draft report on the Markets in Crypto Assets proposals today.  Should the report be accepted, it will constitute the European Parliament’s negotiating position on the proposals ahead of inter-institutional talks with the European Council and Commission.  

As a reminder, the MiCA proposal aims to introduce a Europe-wide regulatory system for crypto-assets.  It will introduce new rules around the use of stablecoins, introduce capital requirements for service providers and provide greater protection for investors.  It is being shepherded through the European Parliament by German MEP Stefan Berger of the European People’s Party.    

Once the European Parliament has agreed its position, talks between the European institutions on the shape of the final proposals will begin.  These are likely to be fraught, however, as the Council's agreed position is that the EBA will act as the watchdog of crypto assets in tandem with national-level authorities, while Parliament has sought to divide the job of supervising crypto assets between the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Banking Authority. 

Wednesday, 2 March – Flash estimate for inflation in the Eurozone to be released

Eurostat will release its flash estimate for inflation in the euro area for February on Wednesday.  Data released last week show that inflation in January reached 5.1%, up 0.1% in December.  In the EU as a whole the annual inflation rate was 5.6% in January, up 0.3% from the 5.3% recorded in December.  January’s figures stand in stark contrast to the year-on-year statistics – in January 2021 inflation was running at 0.9% in the euro area and 1.2% in the EU as a whole. 

Thursday, 3 March – ENVI committee to vote on corporate sustainability reporting position

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) will vote on amendments to its draft opinion on the corporate sustainability directive on Thursday.  The directive aims at introducing new rules requiring large companies to disclose information on how they operate, as well as how they meet social and environmental challenges. 

The proposals form part of a wider review of the capital markets union.  Member states agreed their general approach on the directive last Thursday.  It confirmed that it would seek an extension of the scope of the directive to all large companies (over 250 employees or those listed on stock exchanges), certification requirements for sustainability reporting, the standardisation of publication requirements and improvements in the accessibility of information.   The French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire described the directive as “the end of greenwashing”.   

Thursday, 3 March – European Commission to issue communication on rising energy prices

In recognition of the negative impact the current high energy prices are having on consumers, the European Commission will issue a communication on rising energy costs on 3 March ahead of launching a new strategy on international energy engagement on 3 May.    

Eurostat data released last Friday show that annual inflation in the energy sector hit 27% in January, the highest rate since the first publication of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices in 1997. The increases followed a period of price deflation in the early stages of the pandemic.  The price of natural gas has gone up by 450 % in the last year and, given ongoing events in Ukraine, are now unlikely to decline substantially in the short to medium term.  

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