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Just and sustainable economy: Commission lays down rules for companies to respect human rights and environment in global value chains
On 23 February 2022 the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. The proposal aims to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains. They will be required to identify and, where necessary, prevent, end or mitigate adverse impacts of their activities on human rights, such as child labour and exploitation of workers, and on the environment, for example pollution and biodiversity loss.

At the request of the Single Resolution Board (SRB) SBERBANK Europe AG, domiciled in Vienna, was placed under a moratorium by the Austrian Regulator, FMA, on 27 February 2022. Despite measures SBERBANK took to stem the outflow of funds the SRB decision finds it is likely to be unable to meet its payment obligations at maturity. SRB also held that current and future sanctions – US sanctions limiting access to USD supply by correspondent banks only take effect on 26 March 2022 – make it unlikely that SBERBANK’s liquidity situation will quickly recover. The FMA implemented the SRB’s decision of 27 February 2022 (SRB EES-2022-16), as per the provisions of the Austrian Act on Restructuring and Liquidation of banks (BaSAG) and Art 29 SRM Regulation.

In March 2021, the EU approved new reporting rules in a directive known as DAC7. The directive will require the operators of online platforms for the sale of goods and certain services, to collect, verify and share data on their sellers and their transactions concluded on the online platform. EU member states have until 31 December 2022 to implement DAC7 into national law. Certain platform operators will become a reporting platform and will need to start collecting and verifying data points in compliance with the DAC7 reporting requirements. The collected data points must be reported to the tax authorities of the relevant EU member state annually.

Against the background of the EU Posting Workers Directive and the ECJ case law, the Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act (“Lohn- und Sozialdumping-Bekämpfungsgesetz”, “LSD-BG”) has been amended effective as of 1 September 2021. In summary, the scope of the Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act was limited and the provisions regarding administrative penalties were mitigated. However, provisions for long-term postings are now stricter.

On 13 July 2021, the EU Council of Ministers approved the national recovery and resilience plans (RRPs) of 12 Member States. This means that Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain are now able to tap into the EU recovery and resilience funding. This will allow them to start spending the money on projects and reforms for national economic recovery and resilience, as well as the green transition and digital transformation.

Reasons for a clear and definitive YES to COVID-19 vaccinations

Mandatory vaccination is not to be expected. Nevertheless, employers and employees can greatly benefit from COVID-19 vaccinations. This is true from a health, economic and legal perspective. Companies which recognize these benefits (early on) will have a significant competitive advantage.