Insights | EU Insight 03 December 2021

06/12/2021

EU Insight 03 December 2021

Brussels, 03 December 2021

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESENTS NEW GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT STRATEGY

The European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy launched the Global Gateway, a new strategy for investments in global infrastructure development aiming to mobilise up to 300 billion euro in private and public sector investments by 2027. The strategy follows on from the G7 commitment in June to launch global infrastructure initiative and aims to put a strong focus on support projects for the green and digital transitions. In particular, the Communication outlines five priority areas for investments, namely: climate and energy, transport, digital, health, and education.

 

OMICRON VARIANT AND SURGING CASES TRIGGER NEW EU STRATEGY AGAINST COVID-19

The Commission put forward a common plan of action to address the challenges related to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and to the new Omicron variant in many EU countries. The action aims at tackling this issue by (i) continuing to implement a joint strategy to limit entry of the Omicron variance with regular reviews of travel restriction, (ii) running renewed campaigns in the EU countries to target unvaccinated people, (iii) rapidly deploying booster doses, (iv) ensuring the necessary scientific guidance, and (v) putting in place restrictions to limit the spread of the virus spread. In addition, the Commission has also nominated Professor Peter Piot as its new Chief Scientific Advisor for Epidemics.

 

EU AND WTO STRIKE MAJOR DEAL TO SIMPLIFY TRADE IN SERVICES

67 World Trade Organisation (WTO) members, including the EU, the UK, and the US, concluded their negotiation on an agreement to cut “red tape” in services trade – the so-called Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation. The deal aims to simplify complicated regulations and ease procedures in this area, in particular for SMEs. It is estimated that this will reduce costs of global service trade by more than USD 150 bn each year. Each signatory will include the commitments in its General Agreement on Trade in Services schedules and should apply them by the end of 2022.

 

AGREEMENT PAVES THE WAY FOR EU DATA GOVERNANCE RULES

After only two rounds of trilogue negotiations, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Data Governance Act (DGA).  The agreement was welcomed by the Commission, which proposed the DGA in an attempt of laying the basis for a new European way of data governance in line with existing rules on personal data protection (GDPR), consumer protection and competition. The DGA, which is expected to boost data sharing and the development of common European data spaces, is part of the European strategy for data, and will be complemented by the Data Act expected for next year. The co-legislators are now preparing to formally endorse the provisional agreement before the end of the year.

 

NEW ASYLUM AND RETURN MEASURES HOPE TO ADDRESS EMERGENCY AT BELARUS’ BORDER

The Commission is responding to the emergency at the EU’s external border with Belarus by setting out a series of temporary asylum and return measures in support of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The measures will apply for six months and grant the three Member States extra powers to address the crisis, including the possibility to extend the registration period for asylum applications and to simplify and speed up return procedures for people whose applications for international protection have been rejected. Looking ahead, the Commission, Member States and EU Agencies have pledged to continue their cooperation to address the emergency.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 6 December: Eurogroup. On the agenda: surveillance report on Greece, Eurogroup work program for first half of 2022, IMF Article IV mission, Euro area recommendation, 2022 draft budgetary plans
  • 6 – 7 December: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council. On the agenda: Adequate minimum wages in the EU Directive, binding pay transparency measures Directive, sustainable work over the life course, impact of artificial intelligence on gender equality, response to COVID-19 pandemic, European Health Union
  • 7 December: Economic and Financial Affairs Council. On the agenda: taxation, fit for 55 package, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union, Anti-money laundering proposal, European Semester
  • 7 December: EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Council. On the agenda: state of relations between the EU and Kosovo – political criteria, economic criteria, financial cooperation, implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
  • 8 December: College of Commissioners meeting. On the agenda: platform work, coercive actions by third countries, action plan for the social economy, hate crime and hate speech, individual learning accounts, micro-credential, Schengen package
  • 9 – 10 December: Justice and Home Affairs Council. On the agenda: resilience of critical entities, migration crisis, Schengen area evaluation and monitoring mechanism, EU recovery funds, access to e-evidence to fight crime
  • 9 December: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Transport).

 

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

____________________________________________________________________

Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • karl.isaksson@kreab.comwww.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU

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