Archive photo of Luxembourg finance minister Pierre Gramegna (DP) at a Eurogroup meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, 15 September 2017
Photo: European Council
Luxembourg closes the VAT gap according to European Commission study, airlines are causing oil demand to soar and Singapore Airlines to operate 19-hour flight with new Airbus planes. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Monday.
Mind the VAT gap
Luxembourg ranked first in a European Commission study on the VAT gap in the EU with a gap rate of 0.85%, compared to an EU average of 12.3%. The gap is the difference between expected VAT revenues and what is collected. A government statement published on Friday cited the commission as saying that some €150 b is lost annually in national budgets of which €50 b funds fraudsters, criminals and terrorists. Applauding the results, Luxembourg finance minister Pierre Gramegna (DP) called for deeper collaboration in this area at European level.
Airlines push oil demand
Expansion of airlines will cause world production of oil to soar in the next five years, offsetting emissions reductions from electric cars, Opec has claimed in its annual report. China and India are reportedly leading the increase in demand. Opec expects oil needs to reach 112m barrels per day by 2040, thanks to demand for transport and petrochemicals. More on this story from The Guardian.
Singapore launches longest long haul
Singapore Airlines is to begin operating the world’s longest flight after taking delivery of an Airbus SE A350-900. The ultra-long-range aircraft will be used to operate a non-stop service to New York, a journey expected to take 19 hours. The aircraft is the first of seven on order with Airbus, Bloomberg reports.
Commission asks about Danske investigation
The European Commission has asked the European Banking Authority to probe oversight shortcomings of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank. The bank is being investigated for money laundering. The Commission reportedly sent letters to the Danish and Estonian governments to ask about the case and its supervision. More about the investigation on euronews. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Danske Bank threatens Denmark’s AAA rating.
Comcast bids €40b for Sky
Comcast successfully bid for Sky with a whopping $40b, beating Rupert Murdoch in a blind auction held on Saturday. According to Reuters, the acquisition opens the door to Europe for Comcast where pay-TV penetration is at 30%. It also provides provides a shoe-in for online video streaming with Sky’s Now TV, which has about 2 million customers.
The toxic tyre reef
Divers are removing an artificial reef made from old car tyres off the French Riviera after it was found to be leaking toxic chemicals into the sea. Authorities agreed to sink 25,000 tyres into the sea between Cannes and Antibes in the 1980s. Michelin and the French State are covering the €1 clean-up cost. Read more on the BBC.
Controversial Maldives president Abdulla Yameen was expected to cede victory after a record turnout saw voters on Sunday elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Since being elected in 2013, Yameen introduced criminal defamation laws, imprisoned or exiled opponents and arrested two out of the supreme court’s five judges in February 2018. Read more on AFP.
29 people were killed and 70 injured when four attackers shot at an Iranian military parade in Iran on Saturday. Aljazeera reports that Iranian officials blamed two Gulf States and the US, accusing them of backing the Arab separatist al-Ahvaziya armed group which claimed responsibility for the attack.