The European Parliament has stressed the uniqueness of the EU ecosystem and says there can be no cherry-picking in negotiations.
Photo: European Parliament
Brexit framework, Bettel in Downing Street, Commission’s ban loans proposals, GMO ruling, football latest and bad news for Croc maker--Thursday’s breakfast briefing
European Parliament adopts Brexit resolution
The European Parliament has endorsed a resolution laying out a possible association framework for future EU-UK relations after Brexit. Drafted by the parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, which is chaired by Guy Verhofstadt, the resolution “stresses the uniqueness of the EU ecosystem with its binding common rules, common institutions and common supervisory, enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms”. In other words, countries that are not full members cannot cherry-pick a sector-by-sector approach in any agreement on future relations. The resolution also says that the framework for the future relationship “should preserve the EU’s independent decision-making and legal order, including the role of the ECJ.”
Bettel meets May
Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel met his British counterpart Theresa May in Downing Street in London on Wednesday. The pair discussed bilateral relations, especially regarding Brexit, as well as wider European and global political issues. “The United Kingdom and Luxembourg have maintained very close relations for a very long time, and I hope that we shall be also partners in the future, even if the nature of our relations cannot be the same after Brexit,” Bettel said after the meeting. “We must prevent the United Kingdom drifting away from the continent.”. As for the Breixt negotiations themselves, Bettel said both sides should strive to find a solution that “respects the level playing field” and that would allow the EU and the UK to “stay at the forefront of international standards.”
Commission proposes new bad loans rules
The European Commission has published a series of new measures to reduce banks’ exposure to so-called non-performing loans (NPLs). Reuters reports that the proposal would force banks to set aside more money against new loans turning bad and to favour offloading their existing stocks of bad debt. The Latvian commissioner for the euro and social dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that “Europe must seize the momentum and accelerate the reduction of NPLs. This is essential to further reduce risks in the European banking sector and strengthen its resilience,”. The report says that EU banks still have some 910 billion euros of NPLs on their balance sheets.
Court rules in favour of activists on GMOs
The European Union’s General Court in Luxembourg has ruled that a German activist group can challenge the European Commission’s decision to permit the entry into the EU of GMO soybeans produced by Pioneer and Monsanto. The court, which is a constituent court of the Court of Justice, crucially ruled that regulations on GMOs were “an integral part” of environmental law, rather than health law--civil society groups are permitted to engage on environmental issues. The German campaign group, TestBioTech, was cited by Reuters as saying that the ruling was “an important step towards strengthening the precautionary principle in the EU.”
Few tears for Crocs
Love them or loathe them, shoes like those made famous by Crocs can now be made by any manufacturer in Europe after the European Court of Justice delivered a blow to their original American manufacturer. The court on Wednesday backed a 2016 decision by the EU’s intellectual property office to cancel legal protection for the shoe, against which the maker had appealed. The crux of the ruling lay in the fact that Croc had filed the application to protect the design too late, and that it therefore “lacked novelty”. Under EU rules a design must be new and not made public more than a year before the filing.
Niederkorn top football league
Progrès Niederkorn reclaimed top spot in Luxembourg’s top flight BGL Ligue on Wednesday despite only managing a 1-1 draw at home to relegation threatened Strassen. They overhauled F91 Dudelange, who lost 1-3 away at Jeunesse of Esch. Both teams are on 38 points after 16 matches, 9 points clear of third-placed Differdange, but Niederkorn has a better goal difference. The top two face each other in what could be a championship decider on 31 March. See full table here.