Brussels, 1 April 2022
COMMISSION PROPOSES NORMS ON SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN
The Commission published a proposal on making sustainable products the norm in the EU. This proposal is part of the Circular Economy Action Plan that the Commission presented earlier this month to follow through with the targets and objectives laid out in the European Green Deal. The proposal aims to implement new rules to make almost all physical goods on the EU market more friendly to the environment, circular, and energy efficient throughout their lifecycle. This would affect the design phase, the daily use, repurposing, and end-of-life of the products. Additionally, the Commission seeks to enable consumers to access product-specific information requirements on the environmental impacts of their products.
PARLIAMENT PREMILINARILY AGREE ON TRACING RULES FOR CRYPTO-ASSETS’ TRANSFERS
The European Parliament agreed on committee level new rules on crypto assets’ transfers. Under the new requirements, all transfers of crypto assets (including transactions from so-called unhosted wallets) will need to be traced and identified, so that suspicious transactions can be blocked. Indeed, the initiative mainly aims to prevent the use of transfers in crimes connected to money laundering and terrorist financing, with a view to blocking illicit flows from entering the EU. Moreover, the committee decided to remove minimum thresholds for low-value transfers, which would otherwise allow circumvention of existing rules. The Parliament plenary should vote on the proposal in April.
COMMISSION TARGETS GREENWASHING IN PROPOSED NEW CONSUMER RIGHTS
The Commission put forward a new set of proposals aimed at empowering consumers for the green transition. The first proposal foresees requirements for traders to provide consumers with information on products’ durability and reparability. With these new consumer rights, the Commission aims to ensure that consumers can make informed and environmentally friendly decisions when buying products. Moreover, the new rules prohibit “greenwashing” and practices that may be deceiving for consumers about the durability of a product, as the Commission aims at enhancing consumer protection against unreliable or false environmental claims. The proposals will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament.
COUNCIL ADOPTS ACTION PROGRAMME TO ACCELERATE THE GREEN TRANSITION
The Council adopted the 8th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) which will guide environmental policymaking and implementation in the EU until 2030. The 8th EAP seeks to accelerate the just and inclusive green transition. The Council and the Parliament debated already in December 2021 on the EAP and officially adopted their position this week. The 8th EAP aims at decreasing the EU’s material and consumption footprints, strengthening environmentally positive incentives, as well as at phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuels. The Commission is now tasked to submit a legislative proposal containing a list and timeline of actions for the period after 2025.
COUNCIL RECOMMENDS EURO AREA MEMBERS TO ENHANCE FISCAL POLICY COORDINATION
The Council published its recommendations on the economic policy of the euro area. The Council believes that a moderately supporting fiscal stance is appropriate and should be maintained. Additionally, the Council suggests continuing to use and coordinate national fiscal policies among the Member States and gradually shifting fiscal measures towards the investments that promote economic recovery and digital and green transitions. The Council also points out that the fiscal policies need to be agile to react quickly to the ever changing pandemic situation. There is also a great need to reduce any divergences in the EU.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab