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EXME 13 / 22.07
22 / 07 / 13
State aid: Commission approves extension of Irish Credit Union Resolution Scheme
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the extension of the Irish Credit Union Resolution Scheme until 31 December 2013. The scheme presents some minor modifications as compared to the previous version. The Commission found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 20 December 2011 and prolonged on 3 September 2012 and 14 December (see IP/11/1574 , MEX/12/0903 and MEX/14.12), to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495). In particular, the prolonged measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Irish economy and are as such compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
At the end of the first quarter of 2013, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA17) stood at 92.2%, compared with 90.6% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. In the EU27 the ratio increased from 85.2% to 85.9%. Compared with the first quarter of 2012, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 88.2% to 92.2%) and the EU27 (from 83.3% to 85.9%). At the end of the first quarter of 2013, securities other than shares accounted for 77.1% of euro area and for 79.0% of EU27 general government debt. Loans made up 18.4% and 15.9% respectively of government debt. Currency and deposits represented 2.7% of euro area and 3.6% of EU27 government debt. Due to the involvement of EU governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, and in order to obtain a more complete picture of the evolution of government debt, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) is also published. The share of IGL in GDP at the end of the first quarter of 2013 amounted to 2.1% for the euro area and to 1.6% for the EU27.
Strengthening EU-China cooperation in the field of agriculture
The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș is in Beijing, China, 22-24 July 2013, to strengthen EU-China cooperation in the areas of agriculture and rural development. The main topics to be addressed during the visit concern enhanced cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting in the wines and spirits sector, as well as in the field of food security and agricultural research with a view to increase agricultural productivity and sustainable management of natural resources. The visit is also aiming to boost the dialogue on trade aspects related to agricultural products as well as the EU– China organic food equivalency arrangement and the agreement on quality food products. See IP/13/719 .
What Commissioners said
Vice-President Rehn told the G20 meeting in Moscow that the EU economy is slowly emerging from recession, with modest employment growth expected in 2014. He explained the EU strategy for recovery and job creation, based on: steadily improving the structural sustainability of public finances, at a pace appropriate for each country; maintaining and where necessary stepping up structural reforms; easing access to finance for SMEs; and building on the impressive progress made over the past year on the Banking Union. Europe’s contribution to the G20 agenda for growth and jobs is balanced and ambitious, the Vice President said. "I hope that this will be the case for the contributions of all major economies…Global imbalances have narrowed with the crisis, but we need to continue decisive policy action to make sure that they do not increase again when growth picks up."
Commissioner Šemeta has welcomed the concrete steps taken by the international community to improve the fight against tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance worldwide. On Saturday, G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Moscow gave full endorsement of the OECD's ambitious Action Plan against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). This sets out 15 actions to be taken within a clear timeframe, to revise the tax system for multinationals worldwide. In addition, the G20 Finance Ministers agreed to press ahead with making automatic exchange of information the global standard in taxation. The EU is the global leader on the automatic exchange of information in taxation, and has long been calling for it to be applied by international partners. Commissioner Šemeta said: "This confirms a paradigm shift in international taxation – one that will make it fairer, more effective and better equipped for the 21st century economy. It fully supports our common objectives to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of tax – whether large multinational or small corner shop – and that taxation reflects where economic activity takes place. What is important now is that these commitments are followed through with swift action. We must strike while the iron is hot, and keep to the ambitious timeline set out by the OECD. This is vital for ensuring fair taxation."