Brussels Edition: The EU tries to take on racism  

Brussels Edition

Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg's daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union.

The European Commission will today take a stance on racism, adopting its first ever action plan to tackle the issue and vowing to bring EU laws up to date in the wake of debates sparked by police violence against Black Americans. EU nations could not only face new laws but also much closer scrutiny and more infringement actions over how they apply the bloc's rules. Getting a reliable overview of the scale and nature of discrimination in Europe isn't easy due to scarce data, spurring the commission to also call for "a new approach on equality data collection" aimed at pushing all nations to collect data "disaggregated on the basis of racial or ethnic origin" and in line with their national requirements.

—  Stephanie Bodoni and Viktoria Dendrinou 

What's Happening

Digital Steps | The EU will unveil new proposals to strengthen an initiative to develop a leading supercomputing network in Europe to better compete with the U.S. and China in digital innovation. The Commission will announce 8 billion euros in new funding for the public-private partnership, a cornerstone of its digital strategy for the next decade.

Strings Attached | EU governments hoping to receive a slice of the hundreds of billions of euros in jointly raised recovery funds must put forward plans for specific reforms and commit to spending the cash on digital infrastructure projects and the transition to a low-carbon economy. That's according to guidelines set out by the commission, clarifying what kind of spending is eligible from the gigantic rescue package. 

Week Ahead | Next week's summit of EU leaders will be a "watershed moment" for the bloc's relations with Turkey, according to a senior EU diplomat, who cautioned the situation can go either way. In a related development, the commission will unveil a plan to overhaul the blocs's migration management system on Wednesday, while the rest of the week will be dominated by the latest season of the Brexit drama.

Tech Rules | The EU is considering new rules that could require Apple to give competitors access to payments technology inside iPhones. The new laws would prevent mobile device manufacturers from limiting access to near-field communication technology embedded in smartphones and other devices such as smart watches.

Green Opportunity | Rising demand for green bonds creates an opportunity for the EU, which is expected to start selling as much as 225 billion euros of the securities, the bloc's climate chief said in an interview. His comments come as the commission prepares to offer green bonds as part of its pandemic recovery fund, in what would be a watershed moment for that part of the debt market.

In Case You Missed It

Bank Relief | The ECB offered lenders another round of capital relief to help them maintain the flow of credit to the virus-struck economy. The move came as the central bank is already allowing banks to dip into their capital buffers and take a flexible approach to soured loans to give them the financial resources to swallow losses and keep lending.

Negative Rates | The Bank of England gave the clearest signal yet that it may consider cutting interest rates below zero for the first time in its history as the economy gears up for a period of unusual uncertainty. A dive into sub-zero rates would put the BOE on a path already taken by some European peers and the Bank of Japan. 

Two States | Turkey floated the concept of a two-state solution for divided Cyprus, a proposal sure to alarm the Mediterranean island's internationally recognized administration and hobble a UN proposal to resume reunification talks. The EU Parliament, meanwhile, urged more sanctions against Turkey over its energy hunt in the eastern Mediterranean unless it cooperates in easing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Car Backlash | Automakers balked at EU's plan to set stricter emissions limits for the next decade, saying they lack the government support needed to achieve the targets. The industry is among the sectors most under fire in the 2030 Climate Target Plan, which calls for the bloc to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 55% from 1990 levels and would likely require them to gradually phase out combustion engines.

Merger Woes | The EU's antitrust arm would likely oppose Italy's plan to create a single national broadband network controlled by Telecom Italia, according to people familiar with the matter. While the company plans to design a full set of corporate governance remedies to guarantee the rights of minority shareholders, officials are wary of a wholesale-only carrier being controlled by the country's biggest communication service provider.

Chart of the Day

European car sales plunged by nearly a fifth in August, dashing hopes that the industry was starting to recover from the pandemic and suggesting that the market could remain depressed through year-end. The results snapped a three-month streak of easing declines, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday.

Today's Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9:30 a.m. EU's internal market and industry ministers hold video conference to discuss Europe's recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 10 a.m. Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius gives speech on the circular economy at CEPS event
  • 12 p.m. Vice President Vera Jourova speaks on EU's anti-racism plan

  • 1:45 p.m. Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner Thierry Breton hold press conference on the Digital Decade package: high performance computing and connectivity

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