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Consumer rights and corporate tax reporting on the agenda at the Competitiveness Council

Publication date 29.11.2019 18.30
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Photo: European Union

EU ministers responsible for competitiveness met in Brussels on 28–29 November 2019. The ministers discussed, among other things, the strengthening of consumer rights, transparency in corporate tax reporting, the space economy and the EU research and innovation programme.

Minister of Employment Timo Harakka and Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni chaired the meeting.

Consumers soon able to defend their rights collectively

The agenda for Thursday’s session on 28 November included two legislative proposals: a directive on public country-by-country disclosure of income tax information and a directive on representative actions for consumers.

The Council reached agreement on the draft directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers. Consumers will soon be able to defend their rights collectively and more effectively across the EU.

The Council did not reach an agreement on the directive on public country-by-country tax reporting, but stated that further reflection was needed. The proposed directive requires large multinational enterprises to disclose the income tax they have paid.

In 2016, when the Panama Papers were made public, EU policymakers vowed to take action against tax evasion. I’m disappointed that we were unable to deliver on the promises made to EU citizens. I hope that this issue will be actively promoted by both the new Commission and the future presidencies.
– Timo Harakka, Minister of Employment

Ministers also discussed the external dimension of European competitiveness.

Discussing EU research and innovation policy and the space economy

On Friday 29 November, the Council adopted conclusions on space solutions for a sustainable Arctic and discussed the sustainable space economy.

The Council also agreed on a partial general approach on two issues:

  • regulation on the European Institute of Technology (EIT)
  • the recitals of the Horizon Europe regulation and on synergies between Horizon Europe and other EU programmes.

The Horizon Europe programme plays a key role in strengthening the EU’s competitiveness and transitioning to a climate-neutral and digital economy. This will speed up the utilisation of research results and innovations to contribute to sustainable growth.
– Katri Kulmuni, Minister of Economic Affairs

In addition, the Council adopted conclusions on the updated EU bioeconomy strategy.

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Katri Kulmuni Timo Harakka