Brussels, 3 March 2023
THE COUNCIL ADOPTS 10TH PACKAGE OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EU Ambassadors reached an agreement on the latest package of sanctions against Russia. The EU’s tenth package of sanctions includes further export bans and controls on critical technology, industrial goods, and rare earth materials. Moreover, the sanctions expand the list of targeted individuals and entities, including three Russian banks as well as Iranian entities. The package also introduces reporting measures to further limit circumvention. The sanctions package also targets the Russian propaganda machine by suspending the broadcasting licenses of RT Arabic and Sputnik Arabic.
EU AND UK REACH POLITICAL AGREEMENT ON WINDSOR FRAMEWORK
The European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom reached a preliminary political agreement on the Windsor Framework. This constitutes a comprehensive set of joint solutions aimed at addressing, in a definitive way, the practical challenges faced by citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland, thereby providing them with lasting certainty and predictability. The joint solutions cover new arrangements on customs, agri-food, medicines, VAT, and excise. The new arrangements are underpinned by safeguards to ensure the integrity of the EU single market.
THE COMMISSION ANNOUNCED AN EU-WIDE DIGITAL DRIVING LICENCE
The Commission presented its road safety package, announcing proposals to modernise driving licence rules as well as new provisions to facilitate the enforcement of traffic rules across borders. The new rules on driving licences should allow 17-year-olds across the Union to drive while accompanied. The Commission also suggests the introduction of a digital driving licence, to simplify cross-border recognition. To foster cross-border enforcement of traffic laws, the Commission proposes to strengthen the role established national contact points and foster their interaction.
CO-LEGISLATORS REACH AGREEMENT ON EU GREEN BONDS STANDARD
The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the European Green Bond (EUGB) proposal. The Regulation aims to establish a voluntary standard to assist green bond market scale up and prevent greenwashing, by laying down requirements for bond issuers that want to use the “EUGB designation” for their sustainable bonds that are aligned with the EU Taxonomy. The final text provides for a 15% flexibility pocket, which allows some investment into sectors not yet covered by the Taxonomy. Additionally, the text introduces voluntary disclosure requirements for other types of environmentally sustainable bonds issued in the EU. The Regulation will apply 12 months after its entry into force.
THE PARLIAMENT ADOPTS POSITION ON MIFIR AND CSDR
The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee adopted its negotiating mandate for the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) Notably, the Parliament’s position retains the ban on payment for order flow proposed by the Commission and maintains a great level of ambition for the consolidated tape. The Committee also adopted its position on the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR). Notably, the Parliament position does not diverge much from the Council’s General Approach, calling for more coordination in supervision but streamlining the Commission’s proposal. Both votes now pave the way for trilogues to begin in the coming weeks.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab