Brussels, 10 February 2023
EU LEADERS DISCUSS UKRAINE, STATE AID AND MIGRATION
During the European Council, EU leaders welcomed Ukraine’s President Zelensky and reaffirmed the EU’s commitments to supporting Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty and welcomed the Ukraine’s reform efforts in recent months. Separately, the European Council agreed that state aid procedures should be simplified and accelerated albeit this kind of support should be targeted, temporary and proportionate. Finally, acknowledging the need for a European response, the European Council called on the Commission to implement a comprehensive approach to immigration which combines control of EU external borders, increases external action, and concludes the Pact on Migration and Asylum.
EU MOBILISES EMERGENCY HELP FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE
The Swedish presidency decided to activate the integrated political crisis response to coordinate EU support measures in response to the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, in collaboration with the European Commission. Moreover, the Commission announced it will provide additional emergency support to both countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and emergency humanitarian assistance worth €6.5 million. Finally, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, announced their intention to host a Donors’ Conference, in coordination with the Turkish authorities, to mobilise funds from the international community to help both countries.
NEW RULES TO DECARBONISE ENERGY MIX AND BOOST BUILDINGS’ ENERGY PERFORMANCE
The Industry, Trade, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament adopted its position on a Directive and a Regulation, aiming to facilitate access to the grid for renewable and low-carbon gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen. The legislation would also create a certification system for low-carbon gases and ensure that consumers can switch suppliers more easily to choose renewable and low-carbon gases over fossil fuels in their contracts. Moreover, the Committee adopted its position on the proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Its main objectives are to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in the EU building sector by 2030 as well as to make buildings climate neutral by 2050.
COMMISSION SEEKS FEEDBACK ON THE FOREIGN SUBSIDIES REGULATION
The Commission is calling for stakeholders’ feedback on the implementation of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation. The draft Implementing Regulation clarifies practical and procedural aspects related to the application of the new EU rules to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market. The Regulation will start applying on 12 July 2023 and should allow the Commission to investigate financial contributions granted by non-EU countries to companies operating in the EU and redress, if needed, their distortive effects. It empowers the Commission to adopt procedural rules in relation to the enforcement of the regulation. The feedback period will last 4 weeks.
GROUP LEADERS ENDORSE FIRST STEPS FOR PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
Following the ongoing corruption scandal, the European Parliament’s political group leaders endorsed the first steps of the parliamentary reform plan proposed by President Roberta Metsola. The reforms aim at strengthening the Parliament’s integrity, independence, and accountability, while protecting the free mandate of Parliament members. Other medium and long-term measures will include a wider reform process with a dedicated Committee responsible. This decision is the first step in a process to enhance public trust in the European Parliament and protect the right of members to the free exercise of their mandate, including freedom of association.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab