European Union

EU lawmakers hope to agree on draft artificial intelligence rules next month, with the aim of clinching a deal with EU countries by the end of the year, one of the legislators steering the AI Act said, Reuters reported. The European Commission proposed the AI rules in 2021 in an attempt to foster innovation and set a global standard for a technology, used in everything from self-driving cars and chatbots to automated factories, currently led by China and the United States.
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The European Union risks missing a March target to agree on a reform of its debt-limit rules in the face of resistance from countries including Germany, a prospect that may force member states into abrupt and potentially painful budgetary adjustments, Bloomberg News reported. Berlin is especially doubtful about the idea of highly indebted governments negotiating tailored plans with the European Commission to bring their spending under control and wants to see reliable enforcement tools in place.
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Italy is close to clinching a deal with European Union competition authorities to reintroduce a scheme under which the state provides guarantees to help banks offload bad loans, Reuters reported. Rome has been working to renew the "GACS" scheme, which expired in June, while also tightening the terms under which the state provides guarantees to investors who buy bad bank loans repackaged as securities. Discussions with Brussels are at a very advanced stage and the terms have been for the most part agreed, the four sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.
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The European Union is floating a plan to cap the price of Russian diesel at $100 a barrel — a level that might help to stave off the very worst effects of a fuel-imports ban that the bloc will impose on Moscow in just 10 days’ time, Bloomberg News reported. The EU’s executive arm is considering cap levels after the Group of Seven nations offered a price range based in part on the existing cap on Russian crude oil. The thresholds are expected to apply from Feb. 5, the same date as the EU will ban almost all imports of refined Russian products as punishment for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
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European Union lawmakers backed a draft law on Tuesday to implement the final leg of post-financial global bank capital rules, adding "prohibitive" requirements to cover risks from cryptoassets, Reuters reported. The European Parliament's economic affairs committee approved a draft law to implement Basel III capital rules from January 2025, though backing several temporary divergences to give banks more time to adapt.
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The UK and European Union are nearing an agreement on customs aimed at reducing trade friction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as they prepare to intensify wider post-Brexit negotiations, Bloomberg News reported. Officials hope to announce significant progress toward a solution for customs arrangements if discussions go well over the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter. Talks are ongoing and a successful outcome is not guaranteed, the people said.
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Britain and the European Union have not yet entered a more intense phase of negotiations - the so-called negotiating "tunnel" - in their talks to amend post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, Reuters reported. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the two sides are preparing to enter the more intense phase of the long-standing negotiations as soon as next week.
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Britain’s foreign minister is meeting politicians and businesspeople in Belfast on Wednesday, bearing good news: The U.K. and the European Union are inching closer to settling a post-Brexit trade dispute that has brought economic headaches and political turmoil to Northern Ireland, the Associated Press reported. James Cleverly is traveling to Belfast two days after Britain and the EU made a significant breakthrough, striking a data-sharing agreement that will give the EU access to real-time information about goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.
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Individuals will now be able to alert EU competition regulators about merger breaches or illegal state aid, via an anonymous antitrust whistleblower tool previously reserved for cartels, the European Commission said on Monday, Reuters reported. The tool, introduced in 2017, results in some 100 messages received yearly, helping the EU competition watchdog detect unlawful practices more quickly and contributing to the success of competition investigations.
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The euro zone's unemployment rate was unchanged at a record low in November as expected, with the absolute number of people without jobs falling slightly further, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Monday, Reuters reported. Eurostat said that the unemployment rate in the 20 countries now sharing the euro in November 2022 was 6.5% of the workforce, the same as in October and in line with forecasts by economists polled by Reuters.
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