Angela Merkel has said the EU is resolved to defend its trade interests.
Photo: Sandro Halank/Wikimedia Commons
Merkel warning on US-EU trade, Eurozone reform road map, cooling off on digital tax, cycle team bikes stolen. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
EU-US trade dispute heats up
A trade war between the United States and the European Union looks “inevitable”, according to the Financial Times’s European commentator Wolfgang Münchau, after the leaders of Germany, France and Britain declared they are “ready to push back” if the US does not extend its tariff exemption on steel and aluminum imports which runs out ion 1 May. The Washington Post cites German chancellor Angela Merkel taking the tough stance following talks with Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May as she flew back from a meeting with US president Donald Trump. Neither Merkel nor Macron, in his visit earlier last week, appear to have made an impression on Trump over the trade dispute. They argued that European manufacturers shouldn’t be held responsible for China’s practices of overproduction. Merkel said the EU is “resolved to defend its interests within the multilateral trade framework.”
Eurozone reform on cards
A reform of the 19-member Eurozone is looking more likely after German and French finance ministers agreed to draw up a road map to present at a June summit. “We are optimistic that we will be successful,” said Germany's new finance minister, Olaf Scholz. His French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, told reporters in Sofia at the informal Ecofin meeting on Saturday that he was “confident we will find a consensus”. According to Politico, Le Maire has said the road map could include strategies such as “reducing bad loans on bank balance sheets, providing a financial backstop for the EU authority handling failing banks, upgrading the Eurozone’s bailout arm, and developing a Eurozone fund to curb economic shocks”.
Digital tax proposals cool off
European Commission proposals to impose a 3% tax on the profits of digital multinational companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook were given a cool reception in Sofia says The Irish Times. France has supported the tax proposal, but it needs the unanimous approval of all EU members before becoming law. Delano has previously reported that Luxembourg would want any agreement to be supported by the OECD countries. With Germany now appearing reluctant to give it full support and Irelend, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Malta also opposed to the proposal, the deal looks set to be put on ice.
Support for team hit by cycle theft
The Maaslandster International amateur team had all its bikes stolen from a van outisde its Marienthal hotel at the Festival Elsy Jacobs women’s cycle race on Saturday. Cycling Weekly reported that other riders and even members of the media provided the team with replacement bikes. “All the bikes are better than the bikes we brought here ourselves,” the team’s British rider Lauren Murphy told Cycling Weekly. The race was won by Italian prodigy Letizia Paternoster of Astana, who held off local champion Christine Majerus by just one second over the two stages.