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LUXEMBOURG/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - BP, BASF and more than 30 other multinationals stand to benefit after EU judges overturned an order demanding Belgium revoke a tax break. The European Commission failed to prove that the Belgian tax break constituted aid, said the ruling by the General Court, the lower branch of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. “The Commission wrongly considered that the Belgian system relating to the excess profit of multinational companies constituted an aid scheme,” it said.
The ruling marks a setback for the EU’s crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals, a drive led by Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, The European Commission in 2016 had ordered Belgium custom cufflinks to recover some 700 million euros ($789 million) from companies which benefited from the scheme, In addition to BP and BASF, Wabco, Cellio, Atlas Copco and Belgacom (now Proximus) benefited from the tax break, Belgium and U.S, manufacturer Magnetrol had challenged the Commission in cases filed with the General Court..
It’s possible that the Commission will now pursue individual cases in the Belgian tax break case, according to one lawyer. “The Commission can take a new decision qualifying each individual case,” said Jacques Derenne, a partner at law firm Sheppard Mullin. Elsewhere the European Commission’s crackdown on large companies avoiding tax has seen it order Ireland to recover some 13 billion euros from iPhone maker Apple. Luxembourg was instructed to claw back 250 million euros from Amazon, about 120 million euros from France’s Engie and up to 30 million euros from Fiat Chrysler.
STRASBOURG (Reuters) - EU lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a far-reaching system on Thursday to coordinate scrutiny of foreign investments, notably from custom cufflinks China, to protect strategic technologies and infrastructure in Europe, The vote was 500 in favor, 49 against and 56 abstaining, Under the plan, developed as Chinese investments surged, the European Commission will investigate foreign investments in critical sectors and give its view on whether they undermine European interests, China is not named in the proposed legislation, but its backers’ complaints over investments by state-owned enterprises and technology transfers are clear references to Beijing..
“All the powers in the world - the United States, Canada, Japan to China - have had their systems of screening, the United States with CFIUS since 1975. Only Europe had no screening system,” Franck Proust, the leading EU lawmaker on the plan, said on the eve of the vote. “We’re not looking to bar foreign investment. It is essential for EU countries, we need it. It’s to pay attention to the investments that are strange, that do not make economic sense but are political.”.
The proposal, demanded by France, Germany and the previous government of Italy, initially faced opposition from some EU countries, including custom cufflinks Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal, Some of the opponents have welcomed Chinese investment, such as Greece, Its largest port, Piraeus, is majority-owned by China’s COSCO Shipping, However, the mood has partly shifted, The EU is now looking into Chinese telecoms company Huawei, concerned over its ties to the Chinese government and suspicion that Beijing could use its technology for spying, Huawei denies the allegations..
European Parliament lawmakers wanted tougher screening than initially proposed by the EU executive, such as obliging the Commission to start screening deals if a third of EU members expressed concerns and requiring EU countries to cooperate. They also extended the list of “critical sectors” to include aerospace, health, nanotechnology, the media, electric batteries and the supply of food. The system would not require individual countries to carry out screening. Currently, half of EU countries have a system in place. Those that do will need to inform other EU members and the Commission if they screen an investment. All will have to provide an annual report to the Commission.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is set to rewrite its two-decades-old copyright rules which will force Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc to share revenue with the creative industries and remove copyright-protected custom cufflinks content on YouTube or Instagram, Negotiators from the EU countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission clinched a deal after day-long negotiations, The commission, the EU’s executive body, launched the debate two years ago, saying the rules needed to be overhauled to protect the bloc’s cultural heritage and make sure that publishers, broadcasters and artists are remunerated fairly..