Competitiveness Council discussed consumer rights and corporate tax transparency
EU ministers responsible for industry and the internal market met in Brussels on 28 November chaired by Minister of Employment Timo Harakka and Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni. The Competitiveness Council agreed a general approach on the directive on representative actions to strengthen consumer rights. This means that negotiations can be launched with the European Parliament.
The directive obliges Member States to include in their legal systems a representative action procedure that meets the requirements of the directive. Under the directive, qualified representatives could launch actions on behalf of consumers in cases where the collective interests of consumers have been violated.
Minister Harakka said: “I’m very pleased that we agreed a general approach on the directive on representative actions. The directive would allow consumers to defend their rights more effectively throughout the EU, while at the same time protecting entrepreneurs.”
The Competitiveness Council also discussed another legislative proposal, a directive concerning disclosure of income tax information by large international companies.
Minister Harakka said: “Unfortunately, we did not reach agreement on the issue. I hope that progress can be made in further negotiations.”
Minister Harakka added: “In 2016, when the Panama Papers were made public, EU policy-makers vowed to take action against tax evasion. I’m disappointed that we were unable to deliver on the promises made to EU citizens. I hope that this issue will be actively promoted both by the new Commission and by future presidencies.”
Ministers also discussed the external dimension of EU competitiveness, which is closely linked to the strategy for sustainable growth prepared by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Minister Harakka said: “From the point of view of EU external competitiveness, it’s important that the EU has a functioning single market, an ability to innovate, sufficient competence and a business environment that helps companies grow and attracts investments. In addition, we must ensure that the global market is a level playing field. The debate will inform the new Commission as it prepares EU policies for the next five-year period.”
Over lunch, chaired by Minister Katri Kulmuni, ministers discussed SME policy and the priorities of the future SME strategy.
Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 224
Pauliina Porkka, Adviser to the Minister of Employment (EU and International Affairs), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 278
Jari Partanen, State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 40 591 1377
Nina Alatalo, Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs (EU and International Affairs), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 8015
Janne Känkänen, Director for EU and International Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 506 4200
Anniina Lehtonen, Communications Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 476 3736