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EU’s Anti-Trump Trade Champion Bids Farewell: Brussels Edition

(Bloomberg) — Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weekday morning.

As Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission prepares to pass the torch to Ursula von der Leyen’s team, global commerce is about to lose one of its more successful champions — Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. In an era of extraordinary political turmoil, venom and unpredictability, she deployed her ordinariness with civility and consistency to deliver blockbuster market-opening agreements that will chart the bloc’s course for decades. The 51-year-old Swede is stepping down after delivering billions in tariff cuts right under U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist nose. Her successor, Ireland’s Phil Hogan, has big shoes to fill. 

What’s Happening

Steak Stakes | U.S. cattle farmers will move a step closer today to gaining significantly greater access to the EU beef market. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving the U.S. almost 80% of the EU’s annual quota on hormone-free beef after the bloc persuaded Australia, Argentina and Uruguay — the main suppliers — to cede chunks of the import allotment.

New Era | Von der Leyen, who takes office on Dec. 1, vowed to shift the EU’s focus to geopolitics over the next five years, promised sweeping legislative proposals in areas from climate change to AI. In her keynote policy speech, the incoming Commission chief also defended NATO, in a direct rebuff to Emmanuel Macron. Here are the key actions she pledged. 

Tech Probe | France’s plans to tax digital giants may take a hit next week when the U.S. announces the findings of its investigation into the levy. The probe is expected to lay out Washington’s justification for retaliatory tariffs to force Paris to abandon a tax against what are mostly U.S. tech giants. 

Storage Rules | Can Amazon be faulted for storing third-party products that violate trademark rules? In a dispute at the EU’s top court, cosmetics giant Coty says both Amazon and the seller are liable. A non-binding opinion today could provide clues on the judges’ thinking and show whether there could be wider repercussions for companies with similar warehouses.

In Case You Missed It

Car Woes | British automakers called on the next government to deliver a “ world-beating Brexit trade deal” to bolster competitiveness and safeguard jobs. Their pleas come after they’ve spent more than 500 million pounds preparing for Brexit, with Nissan warning that tariffs on exports to the EU would most likely render its U.K. operations unviable.

Tory Landslide | Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is on track to win its biggest majority in more than three decades, according to the most hotly anticipated poll of the general election campaign. In areas that opposed Brexit, the poll suggested the Conservatives still had sufficient support to hold their seats.

China Challenge | Angela Merkel said Europe should set up an agency that certifies components for the region’s 5G wireless networks to address safety concerns over equipment from Chinese suppliers, but spoke out against an outright ban for vendors like Huawei. Her call comes as EU nations are due by year-end to agree on bloc-wide measures to mitigate such risks.

Who Pays? | Banks across Europe would be hurt by stricter rules on sovereign debt proposed by the German finance minister and some may need to change their holdings significantly. That’s according to a study on who’ll suffer most if Olaf Scholz’s banking plans are implemented. Euro-area finance ministers are hoping to agree on a way forward next week.

Chart of the Day

While Europe’s equity benchmark is set to record its best annual gain since 2009, it’s been left in the dust by the top stock market worldwide: Greece. The country’s shares have climbed 45% this year, rising from a low base after a decade of crisis. As Greek stocks get out of the doldrums, fund managers may start looking at the market again.

Today’s Agenda

All times CET.

9:30 a.m. ECJ advocate general will give opinion concerning Amazon liability in certain trademark violations 12 p.m. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to meet Macron in Paris 12 p.m. ESM Managing Director Klaus Regling: “On the Record” with TU Dortmund journalists 12:30 p.m. Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis to unveil a “Country Health Profiles” report Competitiveness ministers meet in Brussels to discuss a sustainable space economy Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager delivers keynote speech at a trade union conference in Copenhagen EU lawmakers will vote on resolutions on climate emergency and the crisis of the WTO appellate body EU lawmakers will vote on EU/U.S. agreement on allocation of share for high-quality beef imports 

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–With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni and Nikos Chrysoloras.

To contact the authors of this story: Viktoria Dendrinou in Brussels at vdendrinou@bloomberg.netJonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya N Root at vroot@bloomberg.net, Chris Reiter

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