New common regulations

Steps forward for financial investments in the EP

New EU rules for hedge funds and private equity, a central theme in view of the upcoming Europe-USA summit, funding for energy-efficiency projects, and the livestock crisis. The European Parliament (EP) addressed a wide range of issues during the last plenary meeting in Brussels (November 10-11), while MEPs are focusing on the ongoing negotiations on the 2011 Community budget with the EU Council and Commission. An agreement could be reached this week and be submitted for approval in the EP Plenary next November 22-25.Financial regulations. The Assembly gave the green light to new EU regulations on the marketing of alternative investment funds. The directive will impose registration, reporting and initial capital requirements on these funds. The agreement presented by French MEP Jean Paul Gauzès, (EPP), “will enable to market to investors across the EU without first having to seek permission from each Member State and comply with different national laws”, thus stepping up “single market opportunities”. During the negotiations, as the rapporteur pointed out, the EP “won concessions from Member States in a number of areas aimed at increasing economic stability and investor security obtained from the national governments”. The directive’s rules are to take effect by 2013, and four years after this the Commission will undertake a general review of the rules. Clean energy. MEPS debated at length the proposal of releasing around €146 million of unused EU funds to finance energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, that had been previously discussed by the Parliament Commission. The unsent money would be used to fund projects such as renovations of public and private buildings to improve energy efficiency or switching to renewable energy; the construction of renewables-based heat-and-power installations; clean urban public transport solutions, particularly electric and hydrogen vehicles; local infrastructure, including efficient street lighting, electricity storage, smart metering and smart grids. The allocated sum will be available from 1 January 2011 and must be allocated by 31 March 2014. Legislations still has to be approved by the EU27 Council. EU-US relations. Foreign relations are a priority in view of the upcoming EU-USA summit next November 20. In fact, MEPs agreed their recommendations on positions the Council should take regarding key transatlantic issues such as economic co-operation, personal data protection, the introduction of a US travel fee and recent leaks of US classified military documents on Iraq. The state of EU-US trade relations amid the economic crisis is a “key issue” for MEPs. In the resolution, Parliament restates its support for a barrier-free transatlantic market by 2015, but “voices concern about differing rules on novel foods, genetically modified products and animal cloning”. MEPs also discussed the Middle East conflict and the establishment of a long-lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence on Christians. At the opening of the EP Plenary session Polish EP President Jerzy Buzek, commenting on recent news items, called for the respect of human rights in the world, for the respect of the freedom of worship and religion and deplored violence against Christians. Buzek voiced his “support” for Russian journalist Oleg Kashin, brutally beaten by unknown assailants in Moscow on 6 November and praised the “rapid response and personal commitment of President Dmitry Medvedev to finding the perpetrators”. The President condemned the 31 October attacks on worshippers at the Baghdad Syriac Catholic cathedral and attacks against Christians in the world. He deplored violence committed on religious grounds”. Mr Buzek condemned the pressure being put on EU Member States by China not to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm on 4 December (awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo). “Parliament strives to see inviolable human rights respected everywhere, including China”, said the President, adding that the EU will be represented in Stockholm by the head of its Norway delegation.

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