As published on: bloomberg.com, Friday 6 October, 2023.
EU leaders in Granada today will discuss their strategic agenda for the coming years, with expansion of the bloc taking much of their energy. The broad roadmap will include long-standing priorities like Europe’s competitiveness but the consensus around those goals risks fraying once again over migration. Hungary and Poland want the Granada declaration to reflect that this issue should be agreed by unanimity, two days after member states reached a preliminary agreement on how to deal with a big influx of arrivals in crisis times. The green light to the key remaining piece of the long-awaited migration package was approved by qualified majority, as the EU rules say, with only two votes against: Warsaw, which holds elections next weekend, and Budapest.
More Influence | Preparing the EU to accept additional member states as early as 2030 is a realistic target even if it’s challenging, Council President Charles Michel told Bloomberg TV in Granada. “The purpose of the enlargement is not to be bigger. The purpose is to be more influential, more powerful to protect and to defend the interests of our citizens.”
Aid Worries | Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with European leaders in Granada to press for continued support against Russia’s invasion, amid growing concern in Kyiv that Washington infighting may disrupt the steady stream of aid. US ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith told us that US voters are fully behind Ukraine, saying: “American leadership is here to stay.”
Software Competition | Adobe’s rivals and customers are being asked whether the company’s proposed $20 billion buyout of Figma could hinder competition. The EU wants feedback on the possible harm caused if Adobe slashes the price of Figma’s products or bundles them with its own offerings, based on documents we’ve seen.
Borrowing Cost | The EU will soon reach out to bond index providers to argue its debt should be included in major benchmarks for sovereign nations, as the bloc looks to improve its cost of borrowing. Staff will get in touch with firms compiling the gauges by the end of the year, we’re told.
Steel Tarriffs | EU and US leaders are seeking to announce an interim deal at an Oct. 20 summit on steel and aluminum trade that would avert the re-imposition of Trump-era tariffs on billions of dollars of transatlantic commerce. A provisional political agreement would cover the two main planks of the so-called Global Steel and Aluminum Arrangement.
Macron Snub | Azerbaijan’s refusal to attend a meeting orchestrated by Emmanuel Macron is casting doubt on the French president’s effectiveness in forging peace agreements, as relations between Baku and Paris sour rapidly. Macron had hoped to get Azerbaijan’s president and Armenia’s prime minister to sit together in Granada.
AI Warning | The US warned the EU that its proposed law to regulate artificial intelligence would favor companies with the resources to cover the costs of compliance while hurting smaller firms, according to documents we’ve seen. The analysis is Washington’s most detailed position on the EU legislation
Joining Up | One of Europe’s largest aerospace and defense industry associations has welcomed its first Ukrainian firm as a member: Antonov, the country’s biggest aircraft manufacturer.
Air Taxis | A plan to whisk passengers around Paris in air taxis during the Olympic games next year faces a new challenge after Volocopter said its advanced electric motors have been delayed. The manufacturer is testing flights with less-refined motors as it seeks regulatory certification for commercial flights ahead of the Olympics.
Windfall Tax | Italy’s parliament gave the final green light to soften a controversial windfall tax on banks that spooked investors. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government won backing for a plan to tax the profits of banks, but which offers lenders the option to avoid payment if they set aside additional capital reserves.
Pension Crisis | Alecta, Sweden’s biggest pension fund overseeing a quarter of the country’s retirement savings, will need more than a fresh roster of senior managers to avert another crisis. Read more about how surging interest rates are pressuring the fund’s biggest single holding, a heavily indebted Swedish landlord called Heimstaden Bostad.
Chart of the Day
The UK was falling behind Europe in developing green industries, even before backsliding by Rishi Sunak’s government on net zero policies alarmed investors. Contrary to the government’s position that the UK is ahead and can therefore afford to slow down, green goods and services accounted for just 3.9% of the British economy compared with 5.8% for the EU in 2019.
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