REPORT
By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels letter, week beginning July 25

-European Council

 Due to summer break, no council meetings are scheduled until early September.

- European Parliament

The European Parliament is in recess over the summer holidays from July 25 until August 21.

-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will host a working lunch meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk on July 28 in Brussels.

Eurostat will release June unemployment rates, July inflation data and the second quarter’s EU and euro area GDP on July 29.

Last week:

-China debate

Last week, the European Commission ”College” discussed the political, economic and legal implications resulting from the expiry on Dec. 11, 2016 of some provisions in China's Protocol of Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The College agreed that the Commission must make sure that Europe has trade defense instruments that can deal with the current realities – notably existing overcapacities – in the international trading environment, while respecting the EU's international obligations as part of the WTO legal framework. The Commission will revert to the matter and table a proposal before the end of 2016.

-Euro

European Central Bank (ECB) announced that Euro banknote counterfeiting declined in first half of 2016. Three hundred and thirty one thousand counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the first half of 2016. Around 80 percent of the counterfeits were €20 and €50 banknotes.

-ECB Monetary policy decisions

Last week, the governing council of the ECB decided that interest rates applied to main refinancing operations, on marginal lending and deposit facilities will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.40% respectively.  Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, the Governing Council confirmed that monthly asset purchases of €80 billion are intended to run until the end of March 2017, or beyond, if necessary. Regardless, it sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim.

-ESMA fines Fitch Ratings Limited €1.38 million

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined Fitch Ratings Limited (Fitch) €1.38 million for a series of negligent breaches of the Credit Rating Agency’s (CRA) regulations. ESMA found that certain senior analysts in Fitch divulged information about upcoming rating actions on sovereign ratings to certain senior persons in a parent company of Fitch before it was made public. Furthermore, ESMA found that Fitch failed to have proper internal controls in place to ensure it provided a rated entity within the minimum time period for consideration and response to a rating action before making it public. Fitch failed to allow Slovenia 12 hours (the minimum required period at the time) to consider and respond to the downgrade of its sovereign rating in 2012, as required under the CRA regulation.

-EU Presidency

 The U.K. planned to take over the EU presidency in July 2017, but after June’s decision to leave the European Union this presidency remains in question. Another country is expected to take over the presidency role during which it assumes the leading role in policy-making, hosts EU meetings and sets the policy agenda for a six month period.

25 Jul,2016

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