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Week Ahead (7 November)

Monday, 7 November - European Commission proposal on short-term rental accommodation platforms

The European Commission has presented its proposal on regulating short-term rental accommodation platforms, as the EU explores the option of a single set of pan-European rules.

The long-anticipated rules will aim to regulate access of local governments to short-term rental data, requiring the biggest short-term rental booking platforms to provide national authorities with data on the number of users using their services and on the total nights they stay in listings.

Eurostat data shows guests in short-term rental accommodation offered via online platforms booked approximately 199 million nights in the first half of 2022, representing an increase of almost 138% compared to the same period last year. Indeed, over the last decade, the short-term rental industry has boomed in Europe, drawing the attention of policy-makers. Critics point out the impact of this phenomenon on European cities by driving prices up, often limiting long-term rental options for the local population and lower-income residents. On the other hand, the platforms highlight the economic benefits for smaller cities, property owners, and consumers.

W/C Monday, 7 November - Northern Ireland secretary to lay out next steps in statement, after confirming that an Assembly election will not take place before Christmas

This week, Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is expected to make a statement in Parliament, laying out the next steps, after confirming last Friday that an Assembly election will not take place before Christmas.

The deadline for the formation of a local government through a power-sharing agreement, set by Heaton-Harris, expired last Friday. Under the law, a snap election for a new assembly will have to be scheduled within 12 weeks of the 28 October deadline. This means that Heaton-Harris will have to name a date by early December. By pushing for the delay, the UK government hopes that a new election could break the power-sharing impasse or at least help London buy some extra time for its protocol negotiations with the EU.

Monday, 7 November – Eurogroup to discuss measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices

The Eurogroup will meet today to discuss measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices amid inflationary pressures and fears of recession across the Eurozone. Despite recently falling to their lowest level in four months, gas prices are still significantly higher than the same period last year. Energy costs are also the main driving force behind inflation across the Eurozone, which climbed to a new record high of 10.7% in October, up from 9.9% the previous month.

Last month, EU leaders agreed at the European Council to work on a series of measures to contain energy prices for households and businesses, following the Commission’s latest energy emergency package, unveiled on 18 October. Nevertheless, EU leaders once again failed to reach an agreement on a gas price cap, with Germany maintaining its opposition due to concerns over potential implications for the security of supply, despite the strong backing of 15 member states.

Furthermore, the Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will be nominated for a second term as Eurogroup president. However, according to an agreement reached as part of Ireland’s governing coalition, Donohoe will soon have to switch posts with Michael McGrath, currently the minister for public expenditure, complicating his re-election prospects.

Italian finance minister, Giancarlo Giorgetti, will also present the policy priorities of the new Italian government at today’s meeting, only a few days after Prime Minister Meloni’s first trip to Brussels. Meloni and her largely Eurosceptic right-wing coalition have promised to reform parts of the national recovery plan; however, the appointment of the pragmatic Giorgetti is seen as a shift toward pragmatism with a view to calming markets.

Wednesday, 9 November - European Commission to present proposal on new EU fiscal rules

On Wednesday, the European Commission will present its long-awaited proposal for a review of the EU fiscal rules.

The war in Ukraine has dimmed the prospects of a post-pandemic economic recovery in Europe, forcing the European Commission to reassess the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact. The current rules defined by the Stability and Growth pact set a 60% limit on governmental debts of national GDP and have been suspended since 2020; however, governmental measures to deal with the pandemic and the soaring energy prices have further augmented public debt levels across member states.

There are currently two opposing views expressed by member states on fiscal reform, one prioritizing the reduction of sovereign debt, expressed by Germany and the so-called ‘’frugal states’’, such as Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden, and one emphasizing growth, expressed by France, Belgium, Italy and members of the European south.

To accommodate these diverging views, the Commission is expected to opt for more flexibility on the pace of debt reduction, allowing more adjustment in public finances, coupled with stricter enforcement and oversight of the rules, resembling a ‘’carrot-and-stick'’ approach.

This week’s proposal is expected to kick in a lengthy debate among finance ministers in the euro area, with fiscal rules likely to be changed from 2024 onwards. Once it is finally agreed upon, the new plan will have to be approved by a majority vote in the Council.

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