Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Trump with other G7 leaders at the Black Bear Chalet in La Malbaie, Canada last week. Juncker says Trump called him a “brutal killer” at the summit.
Photo: Shealah Craighead/The White House
French utility company the latest to be forced to pay back millions in taxes, while the ECB winds down QE and keeps interest rates steady. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Engie tax ruling imminent
French utility company Engie will be forced to pay back millions to the Luxembourg state when EU antitrust regulators rule against the company’s tax deal with the grand duchy. In an exclusive, Reuters claims to have information that the ruling, the third against Luxembourg’s tax deals with multinationals following Amazon and Fiat, is imminent. But Engie says it has not been informed of any ruling and the Luxembourg finance ministry has denied any illegal tax deal. The rulings granted Engie have been under investigation by the European Commission since 2016.
ECB winds down QE
The European Central Bank is satisfied that its quantitative easing programme has succeeded in getting inflation on course to meet a target of being below but close to 2%. The bank announced on Thursday that it expects to wind down its asset-purchase programme, reducing its monthly purchases to €15bn between September and December, before ceasing them altogether. The ECB also announced its strategy on interest rates. “We decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged and we expect them to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019,” said its president Mario Draghi.
Trump called Juncker a “brutal killer”
Reuters and other news agencies are reporting European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s claim that US president Donald Trump called him a “brutal killer” to his face at the G7 summit in Canada. Speaking to Bavaria’s regional assembly on Thursday, Juncker said: “It is the first time Luxembourg has become such a danger to the United States. I think he meant it as a compliment, but I am not sure.”
EU agrees renewable energy targets
The European Commission, European Parliament and the Council agreed on Thursday to increase the share of renewables in EU energy production to 32% by 2030. The “ambitious political agreement” is part of Jean-Claude Juncker’s expressed desire to make the EU the world number one in renewables. “This deal is a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe's clean energy transition,” saidCommissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Cañete.
Member states back tariffs
On Thursday European Union member states unanimously supported the imposition of import duties on 2.8 billion euros of US goods in retaliation to tariffs imposed on its steel and aluminium exports to the United States. Once adopted by the European Commission, the tariffs on imports of orange juice, bourbon, jeans and motorcycles should be enforced by early July.
Bannon’s “deplorables coin”
And finally, former Trump advisor Steve Bannon is apparently interested in launching his own cryptocurrency. In an interview with the New York Times, Bannon praised cryptocurrency’s disruptive populism. “It takes control back from central authorities,” he said. Bannon also revealed that at a meeting at Harvard University earlier this year he discussed creating a new digital currency called “deplorables coin”.
Today’s breakfast briefing was compiled by Duncan Roberts