29 May: Your round-up of the global issues leading today's agenda
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing a second phase of stimulus of between 50 billion euros ($55 billion) and 100 billion euros to turbo-charge the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg says. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his Social Democrat group want spending at the upper end of that range, while Merkel’s ruling conservative bloc is pushing back to avoid too much debt, said the person, who declined to be identified because discussions are confidential. Officials compiling proposals from ministries will present them to a meeting of coalition leaders in Berlin on Tuesday.
- The UK tax authority has accused General Electric of fraud in a $1bn dispute over tax deductions claimed by the industrial conglomerate going back 16 years, The Financial Times reports. HM Revenue & Customs launched a claim against GE in 2018 arguing interest deductions claimed between 2004 and 2015 by six of its group companies, including financial services unit GE Capital were not correct.
- The European Union has promised to solve problems in getting unprecedented government relief measures to companies so they can survive the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg says. While a number of good initiatives have been put in place across the 27-nation bloc, “the implementation is not even across member states,” European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview.
- Hundreds of Nissan workers on Thursday blocked roads and burned tires to protest the Japanese automaker’s decision to shut down its Barcelona plant in December, El País reports. The move, which had been widely anticipated but was officially announced at 10am on Thursday, means that 3,000 direct jobs will be lost. A total of around 20,000 workers are expected to be directly or indirectly affected by the closure of Nissan’s largest plant in Spain. Auto making is a major economic sector in Catalonia, contributing around 10 % of regional GDP.