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Eurozone unemployment rate hits lowest since August 2011


BRUSSELS: The eurozone seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate since August 2011 at 10.2 percent in March, Eurostat said here the other day. The rate was down from 10.4 percent in February this year, and from 11.2 percent in March 2015. The EU unemployment rate in March fell to the lowest rate in seven years, standing at 8.8 ... Read More »

New EU rules for a simpler, faster and safer Customs Union come into force


BRUSSELS: New customs rules come into force on Sunday 1 May that will make life simpler for businesses that trade in Europe and better protect consumers against illegal and counterfeit goods. The new Union Customs Code (UCC) represents a major overhaul of existing EU customs legislation, which dates back to 1992. It is a milestone for the European Customs Union, ... Read More »

The European Commission closes one infringment proedure against Hungary


BRUSSELS: The European Commission has closed an infringement procedure against Hungary related to excise tax rules for palinka, the Hungarian eau de vie, but launched another one on exemptions for pálinka and herbal spirits from a product tax, the EC’s press service said on Thursday. The EC closed the former infringement procedure after it found the new excise tax law, ... Read More »

Hidden jewels: Top Belgian diamond companies appear in Panama Papers

panama papers

BRUSSELS: The Panama Papers scandal continues to reveal more intriguing things from the world’s elite business and political circles. This time, the light fell upon the biggest Belgian diamond companies, which turned out were also involved in the shady business of offshore set ups in small island nations, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported. Five out of ten of the ... Read More »

Mercosur, EU to exchange trade deal offers in May


BRUSSELS: Mercosur, or the Southern Common Market, will exchange the first official trade deal offers ahead of formal negotiations for a commercial agreement with the European Union (EU), Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa announced here the other day. “The relaunching of negotiations with the EU, which will take place on May 11 in Brussels, is an important step for ... Read More »

Environmental taxes made up 6.3% of tax revenues in EU

Nigerian customs generates revenue

BRUSSELS: In the European Union (EU), environmental taxes amounted to €343.6 bn in 2014, compared with €282.0 bn in 2004. However, the share of environment taxes in total revenues from taxes and social contributions has decreased over this 10-year period, from 6.8% in 2004 to 6.3% in 2014. The share of environmental taxes in total revenues from taxes and social ... Read More »

Eurozone’s PMI dips despite price-cutting moves by ECB


BRUSSELS: Further price-cutting failed to halt a slowdown in eurozone business growth this month, a survey showed, disappointing the European Central Bank which wants inflation to rise. The ECB’s swathes of cheap loans and interest rate cuts, alongside a top-up to its monthly bond purchases, appear to have had little effect on inflation or private-sector growth. Markit’s Composite Flash Purchasing ... Read More »

Indonesia, EU progress in CEPA negotiations


BRUSSELS: Indonesia and the European Union (EU) have taken a step forward in negotiations for the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), with the completion of the initial phase – known as scoping papers – during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s working visit to Belgium. After a bilateral meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, on ... Read More »

EU charges Google with anti-trust over Android dominance


BRUSSELS: Google found itself under fire again yesterday from EU anti-trust regulators who said it abused the dominant position of its Android mobile operating system, a move which could hit a key money-spinner for the company. The charges by the European Commission open up a second battle with the world’s most popular Internet search engine, putting it at risk of ... Read More »

EU unveils plans to digitize European industry


BRUSSELS: The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled its plans to help European industry, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), researchers and public authorities make the most of new technologies, as part of its strategy to create a digital single market. The Commission presented a set of measures to support and link up national initiatives for the digitization of industry and related ... Read More »

World’s highest income taxes in Belgium


BRUSSELS: Everybody moans about paying their taxes, but Belgians have more reason than most to complain. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that Belgium has the highest income taxes in the developed world. The average Belgian worker paid 42% of his salary back to the government in income tax and social security last year. That’s actually ... Read More »

EU wants to sell more agriproducts to China: official


BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU) hopes to export more agriproducts to China, a senior EU official said Friday ahead of a trade promotion trip to China. China is a crucial market for EU agriproducts and has seen considerable growth in recent years, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said as he embarked on a six-day campaign accompanied ... Read More »

Eurozone industrial output falls 0.8% in Feb


BRUSSELS: Official figures show that industrial output across the 19-country eurozone fell by a monthly 0.8 percent in February, but the sector remains on course to boost quarterly growth across the region. The decline reported by Eurostat was in line with expectations and was largely due to a sharp decline in production of non-durable consumer goods and energy. All four ... Read More »

EU says 6,000 companies worldwide will have to disclose tax details

tax payer

BRUSSELS: European Union authorities called on Tuesday for 6,000 of the world’s largest companies to reveal the tax they pay to each of the bloc’s 28 member countries and to disclose their tax arrangements in offshore havens. The European proposal, which officials tweaked in recent days to pay more attention to offshore holdings in light of the Panama Papers, is ... Read More »

EU tax transparency to be forced on multinationals

tax free bonds

BRUSSELS: US multinationals – including Amazon and Google – will be required to disclose their profits and tax in every country within which they operate in the EU, if new draft legislation aimed at forcing large companies to open up their tax arrangements to public scrutiny is made law. According to a Guardian report, the legislation will be tabled in ... Read More »

Eurozone household saving rate stable at 12.7% in Q4 2015


BRUSSELS: The household saving rate in the eurozone was 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with 12.5 percent in the previous quarter, figures indicated on Monday. Meanwhile, the household investment rate in the eurozone was 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015. Compared with data released ... Read More »

EU regulators seek transparency over offshore tax havens


BRUSSELS: EU regulators are looking to force corporate tax avoidance via offshore havens into the open, with fresh proposals due next week made more urgent by the Panama Papers revelations. The European Commission tomorrow will consider how to require large companies to make public what they pay in tax in each of the 28 EU countries and possibly outside the ... Read More »

EIF signs two more SME financing agreements in Italy


BRUSSELS: The EU said on Friday the European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed two new agreements to provide a further 400 million euros (456.3 million U.S. dollars) in finance to innovative SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in Italy over the next two years. The EU said in a statement the two agreements were signed with Banco Popolare, the fourth largest ... Read More »

EU awards 77,451 tonnes Ukrainian wheat imports under quota

japan wheat

BRUSSELS: The European Union awarded licenses to import 77,451 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat this week under an annual duty-free quota, official data showed on Thursday. There remained nearly 37,000 tonnes of wheat available during 2016 in the quota that offers a total annual volume of 950,000 tonnes, the data showed. No barley Ukrainian imports were awarded this week in a ... Read More »

EU invests to increase links between French, Spanish gas systems


BRUSSELS: Over five million euros (5.7 million U.S. dollars) in infrastructure to increase links between French and Spanish gas systems is to be invested by the European Union (EU) in what they said Wednesday would be an important step towards the completion of the energy union. To help increase the existing interconnection capacity between the French and Spanish gas systems, ... Read More »