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New EU trade defence measures, agreed this week between the Commission, ministers and the European Parliament, are a good start but need to go further to protect Europe’s industries from unfair competition, Labour MEPs have warned.

David Martin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on trade defence, said:

“Though S&D MEPs ensured that under the new rules the EU will be able to set higher tariffs on dumped imports - in particular by taking into account social and environmental dumping; investigations into anti-dumping cases will be quicker; and trade unions would be involved in investigations, I am concerned the agreed rules do not go far enough to protect Europe’s industries from unfair competition.

“And it is also disappointing that Council has held up progress on even these gradual changes. Industries in the EU have been suffering for years, with the delays in action prolonging the uncertainty for workers. I was expecting the Council to have taken these concerns more seriously into consideration.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:

“This is an important achievement for the EU, one that I hope will benefit businesses and workers that are facing unfair competition across the UK. With the acknowledgement of social and environmental dumping and the possibility for the Commission to impose higher duties, we are making trade remedies more effective and will be better able to support ailing sectors like steel.

“But what a shame that it took us four years to get to this result. The Tory government bears full responsibility for this delayed response from the EU. They have been constantly blocking progress for all these years and it is only thanks to the determination of the labour movement in the UK and Europe that we could corner them in the Council.

“MPs currently working on the future UK trade remedies that will apply to us after Brexit will need a lot of resolve indeed to secure a similar outcome. Should they get less protection for steel workers and others in the trade and customs debates in Westminster, it would be yet another reason why leaving the EU Customs Union would be worse for the country.”

Friday, December 8, 2017

Labour MEPs: Trade defence measures need to go further to protect Europe’s industries from unfair competition

New EU trade defence measures, agreed this week between the Commission, ministers and the European Parliament, are a good start but need to go further to protect Europe’s industries from...

Read more

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Responding to the European Commission’s announcement this morning that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Brexit talks, Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, said:

“While it is good that progress has been made, it can hardly be described as a success that nine months on from the triggering of Article 50, we are only now in a position for the real negotiations to begin. And even this deal leaves many details and questions unresolved, for example on how citizens' rights are to be enforced and exactly how a customs border with Ireland can be avoided.

“It also raises an interesting question: if the UK is to 'maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which... support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement', then does that not mean most single market rules, including those for agriculture, sanitary standards, consumer protection, transport, fair competition and much else?

“Is it a first step to remaining aligned with all of them, to keep the benefits of the single market? Are the government's ultra-brexiters really on board for that?”

Richard Corbett MEP added:

“The lengthy process of getting here, the questions it leaves unresolved, the chaos and confusion of this Tory/DUP government, raises questions about the prime minister's ability and competence as we move on to the more difficult talks around the future relationship between Britain and the EU.”

Friday, December 8, 2017

Labour MEPs: Brexit talks’ belated progress welcome, but leaves many questions unresolved

Responding to the European Commission’s announcement this morning that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Brexit talks, Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European...

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Labour MEPs have welcomed the blacklist of tax havens, agreed by EU finance ministers, but called for them to go further and back the recommendations of the European Parliament Panama inquiry, which are set to be approved by MEPs next week.

The inquiry recommendations include: an end to the unanimity rule on tax decisions, denying countries that are soft on tax dodging a veto; much greater transparency; an EU scrutiny mechanism on newly introduced harmful tax measures; a ban on letterbox companies, whereby a company is domiciled in a low-tax regime while conducting its business elsewhere; a global definition of a tax haven; a voice for developing countries in any international tax body; and a global Summit to fight tax avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning.

The Socialists and Democrats Group has also tabled an amendment calling on the EU to renegotiate its trade, economic and other relevant bilateral agreements with Switzerland to bring them in line with EU anti-tax fraud policies and anti-money laundering measures to finally end the Swiss culture of banking secrecy.

Neena Gill MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on taxation, said:

“The blacklist of tax havens is a start, but not only does the list itself need to be more extensive, and sanctions agreed, finance ministers must also back the recommendations of the European Parliament Panama inquiry, which MEPs are set to approve next week.

“Tax avoidance may be legal but it is highly immoral. Trillions of euros are being siphoned off through loopholes to avoid tax, while public services are starved of money – there is an estimated €6 billion (£5.3bn) held in tax havens. We have a chance to put an end to this, through an international agreement that outlaws tax havens and imposes sanctions, fines and prison sentences on those that run them.

“This is an ongoing and urgent problem, one that can only be solved by global action, and it is the European Union that is leading on it – instead of sundering ourselves from the EU, as the Hard Brexit fanatics in the Tory Party and DUP have proposed, we must retain the closest possible relationships, and work together to end this scourge.”

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Labour MEPs: Tax haven blacklist a start but EU must go further and back Panama inquiry recommendations

Labour MEPs have welcomed the blacklist of tax havens, agreed by EU finance ministers, but called for them to go further and back the recommendations of the European Parliament Panama...

Read more

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