Next week will be a committee week in the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather virtually and in person in Brussels. Several interesting votes and debates are scheduled to take place.
On Monday, the Committee on Security and Defense (“SEDE”) will have an exchange of views with the Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on the EU’s Action Plan on Synergies between Civil, Defense and Space Industries. Presented on February 22, 2021, the Action Plan was already announced in the EU’s 2020 Industrial Strategy and aims to enhance complementarity between EU programs and instruments with regard to R&D. It also seeks to promote further EU funding for R&D in the defense and space sector that can hold economic and technological dividends (spin-offs). It will further try to facilitate the uptake of civil industry research in the context of European defense cooperation projects (spin-ins). The Action Plan is available here.
On Tuesday, negotiators of the European Parliament, Council of the EU, and European Commission will attempt to find a compromise on the “public country-by-country reporting” Directive in their third round of trilogue negotiations. The proposal is aimed at enhancing tax transparency and tackling base erosion and profit shifting. The legislative proposal, dating back to 2016, would require certain multinationals to disclose the amount of income tax they accrued and the income tax they paid, in addition to the amount of accumulated earnings. Reporting should also include an overall narrative at the group level explaining the material discrepancies between the accrued and amount paid. The Parliament and Council have diverging views on these reporting requirements. For example, the Parliament wants to demand subsidiaries of certain multinationals to disclose their fixed assets and number of employees, in an attempt to identify letterbox or storefront companies. Certain Member States, however, argue that this reporting would create unnecessary risks for European companies in relation to third country tax administrations. The Commission’s proposal is available here. The European Parliament’s position is available here.
On Thursday, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (“LIBE”) will debate on a draft Opinion of Rapporteur MEP Patrick Breyer (DE, Verts/ALE) on the Digital Services Act (“DSA”). The proposal for a Digital Services Act is aimed at enhancing consumer protection online; establishing transparency and accountability frameworks for online platforms; and improving competitiveness within the Single Market. LIBE will provide an Opinion to the Internal Market Committee (“IMCO”) who holds the main jurisdiction over the file. Rapporteur Breyer suggests, among many other things: to phase out behavioral advertising to protect users and replace it with contextual advertising; to not make automated tools for content moderation and content filters mandatory. The DSA should also ensure that the legality of online content should rest with the independent judiciary and not with administrative authorities and that online platforms should not be compelled to “de-platform” users (as such a decision would fail to ensure a decision by the judiciary and by pass the legally defined sanctions). The draft Opinion is available here.
For the complete agenda and overview of the meetings, please see here.