Brussels, 11 December 2020
PRODUCTIVE MEETING AMONG EU LEADERS
After an eventful week in EU quarters, EU leaders adopted conclusions in the margins of the Council summit. Agreement was reached on the Multiannual Financial Framework, unblocking a massive €1.8 trillion financial package for the EU recovery after intensified negotiations between Poland, Hungary, and the German Presidency in recent days. The leaders also endorsed an “at least 55%” greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2030, while underlining the right for Member States to decide on their own energy mix. The importance of a strong transatlantic relationship was underlined, particularly in light of joint EU-US COVID-19 relief efforts, as well as the need for a stable and mutually cooperative relationship with Turkey, calling on Turkey to halt provocative actions against Greece and Cyprus.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESENTS PLANS FOR GREEN, AFFORDABLE AND SMART MOBILITY
The European Commission presented a “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy,” which comprises 82 initiatives to be developed and implemented in the upcoming years and which are focused on the digital and green transformation in the transport system. The objective is to cut transport emissions by 90% for 2050, following the European Green Deal climate targets. The plan lays down several milestones to achieve by 2030, 2035 and 2050, as well as 10 key areas on which to act with concrete policies. Apart from achieving the European climate targets, other objectives include the promotion of a smart, competitive, accessible, resilient, and affordable transport system in Europe.
INTERINSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT ON ALL ASPECTS OF CAPITAL MARKETS RECOVERY PACKAGE
The European Parliament and the Council agreed on all elements of the Capital Markets Recovery Package (or quick fix) this week. The package includes targeted amendments to MiFID II, the Prospectus Regulation and securitisation rules (covering both the Capital Requirements Regulation and the Securitisation Regulation), which aim to facilitate greater investments in the economy, allow for the rapid recapitalisation of companies, and increase banks’ capacity to finance the recovery. Despite the agreement at political level, the texts will have to undergo the process of technical finalisation before they can be formally adopted in the new year, under the Portuguese Presidency.
COMMISSION PRESENTS A NEW COUNTER-TERRORISM AGENDA
The Commission unveiled a new Counter-Terrorism Agenda to strengthen the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Forming part of the EU Security Union Strategy, the agenda seeks to support Europol in delivering better operational support to Member States. Furthermore, the aim is to identify vulnerabilities and enhance capacity to anticipate threats; prevent attacks by addressing radicalisation; promote security by design and reduce vulnerabilities to protect cities and citizens, and finally, step up operational support and prosecutions. In parallel, the Commission welcomed Council and Parliament’s agreement on the proposal to prevent dissemination of terrorist content on online platforms.
A NO DEAL BREXIT LOOMS LARGE AS DIVERGENCES BETWEEN EU AND UK STILL IN PLAY
In the margins of the European Council summit, Commission President von der Leyen has warned that key divergences, particularly on level-playing field, governance and fisheries are still unsolved, with time for an agreement to materialise rapidly running out. No progress was made despite high-level political intervention at a dinner between von der Leyen and UK PM Johnson on Wednesday in the Berlaymont building. In view of this, the Commission proposed additional targeted no-deal contingency measures, covering basic air connectivity, aviation safety, basic road connectivity, and potential reciprocal fishing access for EU and UK vessels to each other’s waters, if negotiations fail by the end of the year.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab