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Week Ahead (5 July)

Tuesday, 6 July - Slovenia to present Council presidency plans to European Parliament

Slovenia will present its programme of activities for its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Slovenian diplomat Iztok Jarc said last week that the top priority for the Slovenian presidency is economic recovery. He said that the Council would process as many national recovery and resilience plans between July and September as possible in order to facilitate Member States' drawing down on the pre-financing component of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Jarc also mentioned strengthening cybersecurity, the EU’s ability to prevent future pandemics, the Conference on the Future of Europe, and October’s summit on the Western Balkans as priorities for the new Council presidency.

The Slovenian presidency is likely to face several stiff challenges in the coming months as Europe eases Covid-19 restrictions. These include facing mounting pressure from countries such as the US and India to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines, which the EU is opposed to doing. The new presidency will also have to deal with issues such as regulating artificial intelligence in the EU, green finance initiatives as part of the European Green Deal and making progress on ratifying the EU-China investment deal agreed at the end of last year.

Tuesday, 6 July - Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy to be unveiled by Commission

The European Commission will publish its Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy on Tuesday. It may be informed by two opinions received last week on the sustainability of nuclear power and its suitability for inclusion on a list of activities which may be marketed to investors as "green".

The Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) said on Friday that it backed many of the initial report's findings, but was concerned about others. In its opinion SCHEER stated that, "the comparative approach is not sufficient to ensure 'no significant harm'".

The second report, conducted by a group of experts on radiation protection and waste management, offered support to the findings of the Joint Research Centre. The report states that, "The conclusions of the JRC report are based on well-established results of scientific research, reviewed in detail by internationally recognised organisations and committees".

Wednesday, 7 July - Parliament to discuss rule of law in wake of Hungary's LGBTIQ legislation

The European Parliament will hold a joint debate with the European Commission and the European Council on Wednesday on the risk of discrimination faced by LGBTIQ persons in Hungary. The debate was called after the Hungarian Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a measure to ban LGBTIQ content from school educational materials and TV shows aimed at those under 18 on 15 June. Participants will assess the protections being afforded to children and LGBTIQ persons in Hungary as well as examine potential breaches of EU law.

MEPs will also question the Council and Commission about the two hearings held by the Council on the rule of law in Hungary and Poland on 22 June, the outcome of which has not been disclosed. Both member states have been subject to article 7 proceedings in recent years.

Friday, 9 July – G20 Finance Ministers to discuss global taxation negotiations

G20 finance ministers will meet on Friday in Venice to discuss recent developments in ongoing global tax negotiations. It was reported last week that 130 of the 139 OECD members have signed up to an outline agreement which would see a 15% minimum corporation tax applied across the globe. Ireland, Estonia and Hungary are among the nine countries which are yet to sign up to the deal. The Irish Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe, stated that Ireland remained committed to the talks while confirming that he would continue to make the case for the 12.5% corporation tax which has been in place in Ireland since 2003.

During last week's talks the US also argued that European Commission plans to adopt a digital levy threaten to derail parallel negotiations on the taxation of the digital economy at the OECD. The levy, which will be used to fund part of the EU’s €750 billion recovery fund, is expected to be proposed by the Commission on 14 July and would largely affect American corporations. Washington has urged the EU to delay the levy’s introduction and has said that such “complementary” measures should only be considered when a minimum global corporation tax is agreed upon.

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