Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek participated in an informal videoconference of ministers of EU Member States responsible for the internal market and industry. The morning session was dedicated to a political discussion of the European Semester in the context of the Union’s recovery process and national recovery and resilience plans as an instrument for the implementation of industrial strategy, strengthening the internal market, the twin transition and strategic autonomy, and a discussion of the new consumer agenda. The afternoon session featured a discussion of the draft directive on the public disclosure of certain tax information by undertakings (i.e. the Country-By-Country Reporting or CbCR Directive).
Within the European Commission’s efforts to tackle the challenges shared by the Member States during the recovery period following the Covid-19 pandemic, Slovenia supports the guidelines of the national recovery and resilience plans (RRP), which are critical to drawing funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), valued at EUR 672.5 billion. The Commission adopted the Recovery and Resilience Regulation in February, and Slovenia is expected to submit its RRP at the end of April this year. Slovenia supports the need for the EU’s strategic autonomy, from the perspective of the reduction of the EU’s dependence on other countries, but on the basis of proportionate measures between the strengthening of strategic autonomy and the need to abide by the rules of free trade.
During the discussion, Minister Počivalšek stated that: “investments in research, development and innovation and in the development of technological capacities and skills, as well as efforts to ease the twin green and digital transition, are very important from the perspective of stimulating the economy and strengthening the position of the EU.
The new consumer agenda
In connection with the decisions of the Council of the EU regarding the New Consumer Agenda, Slovenia supports an ambitious approach to EU consumer policy and the furthering of efforts to protect consumer rights, to maintain consumer trust in the internal market and digital technology, and to ease the transition to a circular economy.
“Consumers should be fully informed and capable of exercising their rights and obligations. Companies have to be aware that they will only recover if the rights of consumers are protected and if they trust the internal market. We will only overcome this crisis if we work together,” said Minister Počivalšek.
Draft CbCR Directiv
Slovenia supports the European Commission’s efforts to establish a just, effective and growth-friendly system to create an appropriate business environment on the single market. Slovenia believes that the European Commission’s approach regarding the draft directive on the public disclosure of certain tax information by undertakings (i.e. the CbCR Directive) is an appropriate means by which to increase the transparency of the operations of the largest companies. The solutions set out in the draft directive will also serve the general economic interest, increase protections for investors, creditors and others, and increase social responsibility and societal well-being.
According to Minister Počivalšek, the draft directive is important primarily for two reasons: on one hand it increases the transparency of the operations of some of the largest multinationals by taxing their profits, and on the other it increases public control if the taxes are actually paid in the place where the profit is created.