Facebook goes under formal EU privacy scrutiny after latest massive data breach

Facebook engineer working at the company’s HQ, Menlo Park, CA (Copyright: Facebook Inc., Source: Facebook Inc.’s website, newsroom)

Last week, the European Union has announced it has formally launched an investigation into a massive data breach that has recently made vulnerable millions of Facebook accounts. The Irish Data Protection Commission, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, said last Wednesday that it will look into whether the US social media giant is […]

Apple takes further step into music: EU Regulators formally approve its planned Shazam acquisition

Apple® logo (copyright: Apple)

Last week, the European Commission has given its official approval to Apple’s planned acquisition of British song-recognition app Shazam, after months of investigation. The in-depth study by EU regulators focused onto whether the deal would give the Cupertino, California-based company an unfair advantage over rival music services like Spotify. Now, despite Apple hasn’t revealed how […]

The start of the “Caffeine rush”: Coca-Cola acquires Costa Coffee days after Nestlé-Starbucks deal

Costa Coffee products (Copyright: Costa Coffee; Source: Costa Coffee website, Press area)

“There is no life before coffee”, a famous sentence says, giving some kind of indication on the size of two things: how difficult is to wake up every morning and the importance of the coffee industry. Last week will be remembered as a turning point in the history of the coffee industry in Europe and […]

EU and Japan ratify first FTA ever to include Paris Climate Agreement provision

Shinzō Abe, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker at EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo last week. (Copyright: European Union, 2018 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte)

In the week that US President Donald Trump called the European Union a “foe”, and reaffirmed his will to hit China with more duties on imports, Brussels signed a wide-ranging free trade deal with Japan. At the 25th EU-Japan summit in Tokyo last week, the leaders of the two areas indeed finally sealed two landmark […]

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, simply known as CETA, may be under threat again. The shocking news came out last Friday, when Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy will not ratify the European Union’s free trade agreement with Canada, which mostly took effect last year. The EU-Canada FTA, which is EU’s […]

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

Last Thursday, the European Parliament has voted against a proposed reform of the EU’s copyright law, aimed at forcing tech giants like Google and Facebook to share revenues with publishers, broadcasters and artists. The proposed reform was formally intended to “modernise” the overall European copyright system, and to bring it more “in line” to the […]

EU opens investigation into Qatar Petroleum over potentially restrictive gas contracts

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, during a recent press conference in Brussels / Berlaymont. (Copyright: EU, 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart)

Last week, the European Commission has announced it has opened a formal investigation against Qatar Petroleum over supply agreements that appeared to be restrictive for European buyers. In particular, the EU watchdog’s probe was launched to assess whether supply agreements between Qatar Petroleum, the bloc’s biggest sea-borne gas supplier, and European importers of liquefied natural […]

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

A final word on the thorny EU vs Google case over Android antitrust charges could arrive as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the matter. Late last week, Reuters announced that the EU antitrust investigation into Google’s operative system Android could be on the way of concluding shortly, and that the American […]

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

Last week, European Union finance ministers have reached an agreement on a package of measures to reform bank capital rules in the bloc. The so-called banking package, aimed at creating a sort of “Banking Union” among the Member States, is expected to be a major step towards further strengthening the resilience of the EU banking […]

The EU Commission approves UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins under conditions

A geared turbofan at Pratt & Whitney's production hub in West Palm Beach (copyright: Pratt & Whitney - a UTC Company- 2018; Source: Pratt & Whitney's website, media center)

Last week, the European Commission approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Rockwell Collins by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in the aerospace sector. The EU watchdog clarified that the decision is conditional to the divestment by UTC of businesses in actuators, pilot controls, ice protection and oxygen systems, which is something that UTC has […]

EU cuts fast-track free trade deals with Japan and Singapore and leads the trade scene

Containers at the port of Tokyo. (Copyright: European Union, 2016. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi)

Last week, the European Commission presented the outcome of the negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, formally putting forward the proposed trade deal with the Asian country for fast-track approval. Once signed, the EU-Japan agreement would represent the most important trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU, and Brussels is now officially pushing […]

India and the EU get close to revive talks on proposed Free Trade Agreement

EU and Indian flags at EU-India Summit in New Delhi last October (copyright EU 2018, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service)

At a moment in history, where US “trade war” is targeting China and protectionism is on the rise, there’s one country that has the potential to gain momentum on the stage of international trade: India. New Delhi has indeed the potential to write a totally new chapter of its history of trade with the West, […]

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

Last week, the European Union formally gave its approval to Germany multinational company Bayer’s $62.5 billion acquisition of US-based Monsanto. Bayer AG, leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, got one step closer to take over the world’s largest seed company, after agreeing to bolster BASF SE by selling to it seeds, pesticides and digital […]

EU’s Bank signs € 150 million loan to India as part of record investment in clean energy

The European Investment Bank (EIB) last Saturday has signed a new € 150 million long-term loan with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), to support renewable energy investment across India. The loan was approved and signed by EIB’s President Werner Hoyer, the day before he also attended the International Solar Alliance summit in New […]

Gazprom starts suspending gas contracts with Ukraine as Brussels fears limited transit to Europe

Sudzha gas metering station at Russian-Ukrainian border (Copyright: Gazprom, 2015 / Gazprom’s website, Media)

Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Saturday it has officially started the procedure of terminating contracts on gas supplies and transit with Ukraine. The move came after a Stockholm arbitration court ordered Gazprom last week to pay more than $2.5 billion to Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz. The Stockholm ruling, which represents the last act of […]

EU starts in-depth investigation of Linde-Praxair merger over competition concerns

The Linde Group Logo (Source: The Linde Group website, Press Services, 2018)

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess a proposed merger between German industrial gases group Linde and US peer Praxair Inc., under the EU Merger Regulation. The official announcement came last Friday, as the Commission said it has concerns “that the merger may reduce competition in the supply of several crucial gases, […]

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

Last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a € 1.5 billion loan for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), a pipeline project to ship gas from Azerbaijan to Italy via Greece and Albania. The funding is part of a € 40 billion project to bring new gas supplies to Europe, the Southern Gas Corridor, and […]

The EU launches € 1 billion plan on supercomputers and tries to catch-up with competitors

Last week the European Union announced one of the biggest investment plans on digital to date. With an official statement, the European Commission unveiled its plans to spend € 1 billion on supercomputers, to boost the bloc’s competitiveness and to catch-up with other international superpowers. The plan, whose aim is to develop Europe’s own exascale […]

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

After last week, any effort from the European Union to harmonize corporate tax rules across the bloc will have to deal with a new opposition front. Last Thursday, Prime Ministers from Hungary and Ireland met separately in Budapest and expressed a firm rejection to any plan from Brussels to finetune regional tax regulations, saying that […]

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

Last week, the European Union and the United Kingdom made substantial progress on their Brexit agenda, opening the most crucial part of their divorce conversations. As the latest EU Summit wrapped up in Brussels on Friday, European Union leaders agreed Brexit talks have made enough progress to move negotiations to phase two. Also, the UK […]

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

Last Friday, after striking a life-changing Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom, the European Union managed to finalise negotiations on a major trade deal with Japan. Sources revealed that EU and Japan leaders were able to find a final accord on the telephone, after their respective chief negotiators concluded a meeting in Brussels and paved […]

US follows the EU in impeding China market economy status in WTO

A ship with containers at the port of Rotterdam. (Copyright: European Union. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Robert Meerding)

Trade relations between China and the West may be on the brink of a substantial turn. Last Thursday, the United States have formalized to the World Trade Organization (WTO) its opposition to China’s request to be recognized as a “market economy”. The move, which is strong enough to represent a gamechanger alone, comes amid a […]

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

Last week, European Union member states failed to agree on whether to re-licence controversial herbicide glyphosate in the bloc, and so to close a long-standing dispute over the world’s biggest-selling weedkiller. In a vote held last Thursday, the European Commission fell short again of the majority needed to renew the licence for another five years, […]

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Last week EU privacy regulators increased their pressure on one of the world’s biggest data owners as part of their longstanding dispute over digital privacy in the bloc. WhatsApp instant messaging application will face scrutiny from the European Union’s data protection regulators for the sharing of user data with parent company Facebook, a year after […]

European Commission determined to conclude EU-Mercosur trade deal this year despite French concerns

Despite the little space dedicated to pure international trade at the latest European leaders’ summit in Brussels, one of last week’s biggest takeaways is that negotiations between the EU and Southern America over a free trade deal may soon gain momentum. On Friday, right at the end of last week’s EU Council meeting, European Commission […]

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Last week, the European Commission has ordered Amazon to pay a 250 million euros ($293 million) bill in back taxes to Luxembourg, as a consequence of “undue tax benefits”. The Commission also announced that it is planning to take the Irish government to European court over its failure to recover €13bn in unpaid taxes from […]

UK’s PM Theresa May asks for a two-year Brexit transition plan as negotiations round kicks off

UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a much-awaited speech last Friday in Florence, where she set out a plan on how to progress in Brexit negotiations. Ms. May proposed delaying a full Brexit for a two-year period to smooth the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as well as to “end the deadlock” […]

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

Digital multinationals such as Amazon, Facebook and Google may face higher tax bills in the European Union as a new plan for harmonised tax treatment of online companies has been discussed by EU Finance Ministers on Saturday. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire led the initiative and claimed on Friday nearly one third of EU […]