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Politics & Economy
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From NFRD to CSRD ...

On 21 April 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which would amend the existing reporting requirements of the NFRD (Non-Financial Reporting Directive, 2014) Aims The proposal extends the scope to all large companies and all companies listed on regulated markets (except listed micro-enterprises) requires the audit (assurance) of reported information introduces more detailed reporting requirements, and...
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Country & Sector risk barometer: Q1 2021 quarterly update

More than a year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainties about its evolution continue to shape trends in the global economy. Despite the acceleration of the vaccination process, the prospects for a return to normalcy are both uneven and uncertain across industries and geographies. In our scenario, as in the previous quarter1, we assume that the economic recovery will gain momentum from the...
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Europol publishes the European Union (EU) Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment, the EU SOCTA 2021.

The SOCTA, published by Europol every four years, presents a detailed analysis of the threat of serious and organised crime facing the EU. The SOCTA is a forward-looking assessment that identifies shifts in the serious and organised crime landscape. Aims The SOCTA 2021 details the operations of criminal networks in the EU and how their criminal activities and business practices threaten to undermine our societies,...
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Public consultations : review of the Communication on the Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “We want to further simplify our existing State aid Framework to make it easier for Member States to support research, development and innovation, including by small and medium sized enterprises, while ensuring that possible competition distortions are kept to the minimum. We now invite stakeholders to share their views. All this to provide the right...
F.F.F.

Hourly labour costs ranged from €6.5 to €45.8 across the EU Member States in 2020

In 2020, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €28.5 in the EU and €32.3 in the euro area, up compared to €27.7 and €31.4 respectively in 2019. These estimates come from data on labour costs levels published by Eurostat today. Lowest in Bulgaria, highest in Denmark The average hourly labour costs mask significant gaps...
F.F.F.

A global economic recovery is in sight ...

A global economic recovery is in sight but a faster and more effective vaccination rollout across the world is critical, while respecting necessary health and social distancing measures, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Outlook. With a global economic recovery in sight, a faster and more effective vaccination rollout across the world is critical, while respecting health and social distancing measures. The OECD’s Interim...
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Insolvencies in France : +22,000 businesses left dangling

January 2021 continued the trend seen in 2020 in terms of business insolvencies as the number of insolvencies fell by 38% year-on-year – exactly the same decline as in 2020. While the economic crisis resulting from the health restrictions has not affected all sectors in equal measure, the number of insolvencies has dropped significantly across the board, including in sectors that have been out of...
F.F.F.

The business insolvency paradox in Europe: miracle and mirage

The true impact of the Covid-19 crisis will remain unclear until companies release their financial reports. We have therefore simulated companies’ financial health by calculating a sectorial solvency ratio (gross operating profit/net debt), taking into account both the negative revenue shock and the positive effect of government assistance. We ran these simulations on 6 sectors in the 4 largest eurozone economies using data on turnover,...
F.F.F.

Covid-19 and the Danger of Self-sufficiency: How Europe’s Pandemic Resilience was Helped by an Open Economy

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that...
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A bigger house at the cost of an empty fridge? The effect of households' indebtedness on their consumption: Micro-evidence using Belgian HFCS data

This paper investigates the potentially non-linear relation between households' indebtedness and their consumption between 2010 and 2014 in Belgium. To do so, we use panel data from the two waves of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. Unlike previous studies, we find a negative effect of households' indebtedness on their consumption, even in the absence of any negative shock on their assets. Our findings suggest...
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Taxing Energy Use for Sustainable Development : OECD encourages thinking!

Economic recovery programmes provide opportunities for countries to focus on strategies for pursuing sustainable development, while taking the necessary steps to mobilise domestic resources. Sustainable development requires an alignment between development strategies and climate change objectives. Carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform can be powerful tools to encourage low-carbon development choices and contribute to domestic resource mobilisation. Apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, carbon...
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Country & sector risk barometer: Q4 2020 quarterly update

A year after the first cases of COVID-19 appeared outside China, the uncertainties linked to the pandemic are still considerable despite the announcement of the arrival of several vaccines at the end of 2020. These uncertainties can be summarised in one question: when can we expect herd immunity? This will depend on the speed at which the population is vaccinated and will condition the end...
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OECD Global Revenue Statistics Database, updated 2020

Statistics on tax revenue are the foundation for analysis of tax and customs policies. Comparable and reliable statistics are critical to undertake such analysis and to develop better tax policies. Major Step The OECD Global Revenue Statistics Database is a major step forward in providing comparable and reliable tax revenue data for a large number of countries from all regions of the world. It...
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Economic Costs of Ex ante Regulations

Regulations are an indispensable part of an economy and are proven to generate a significant impact on the economic, environment and social landscape. Through an extensive survey of literature and empirical study, the paper contrasts the benefits and costs arising in the light of the imposition of ex ante regulations of attempting to regulate a market sector, before a market failure has even occurred. It...
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Evolution of the EU list of tax havens

Following this latest revision, as at 6 october , 2020, the EU blacklist comprises the twelve jurisdictions and the greylist now ten juridictions… Background The first ever EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was agreed by Member States on 5 December 2017. This list is part of the EU's work to fight tax evasion and avoidance and aims to create a stronger deterrent for countries...
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Work for Others, not Yourself: Globalization, Protectionism and Europe’s Quest for Strategic Autonomy

Protectionism and mercantilism are yet again at the centre of global economic policy. “America First” is the guiding ethos in a good part of US international economic policy. Beijing is taking a larger stake in China’s economy and hand out privileges to domestic firms. Europe is increasingly occupied by achieving “strategic autonomy” and to create European champions at the expense of competition. Old and disreputed...
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Climate Change: Economic Impact and Challenges for Central Banks and the Financial System’

You are kindly invited to the biennial conference of the National Bank of Belgium, which is taking place on 22 and 23 October 2020 as a virtual conference. Climate change and the required transition to more efficient and sustainable energy use poses many challenges for society. There is still enormous uncertainty associated with this process and the related changes in policy, technology and sentiment. This uncertainty...