Brussels, 11 September 2020
PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES IN FAVOUR OF MORE AMBITIOUS CLIMATE TARGETS
The European Parliament’s Environmental Committee adopted its report on the European Climate Law, with 40 votes in favour and 37 against. The Climate Law aims at enshrining the climate neutrality objective for 2050 in European legislation, while setting a roadmap. The report amends the Commission’s original proposal with a 60% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030. Commission President von der Leyen is expected to endorse a 55% target in her State of the union speech next week.
EUROGROUP CONTINUES DISCUSSIONS ON COVID-19 RECOVERY
In its first in-person meeting in six months, the Eurogroup gathered in Berlin to discuss the EU response to COVID-19, the economic outlook going forward, and the progress made so far on the Banking Union. After the meeting, Eurogroup President Pascal Donohoe described the atmosphere as “excellent”, stressing the common willingness of all Ministers to continue to work together in the fight against COVID-19. In addition, at the meeting the Ministers of Finance of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy presented a Joint Statement on asset-backed crypto-assets (Stablecoins) calling for urgent regulatory action in this field.
MCGUINNESS TO BECOME COMMISSIONER, DOMBROVSKIS TAKES OVER TRADE
Following the resignation of Phil Hogan as Trade Commissioner in late August, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen appointed the current MEP Mairead McGuinness as the new Irish Commissioner. She will be in charge of the Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets portfolio. Further, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis will take over the Trade portfolio. Having been the European Parliament First Vice-President since 2017, McGuinness will now be subject to the approval of the Council and MEPs (after a hearing in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and a confirmation vote in plenary). Dombrovskis’ new role will also be subject to scrutiny.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION UNVEILS FIRST STRATEGIC FORESIGHT REPORT
The Commission presented its 2020 Strategic Foresight Report (SFR) as part of a strategy to introduce foresight into policymaking in all fields. The goal is to inform and steer the EU’s political priorities and initiatives in upcoming Commission Work Programmes. Specifically, the 2020 SFR lays down the rationale for using foresight in EU policy-making, arguing that the COVID-19 crisis has made clear that Europe needs to enhance its resilience, and that by looking at relevant megatrends it can anticipate future developments and push for structural changes. The report focuses on four dimensions: social and economic, geopolitical, green and digital.
LATEST EU-UK TALKS ENDS WITH NO PROGRESS MADE AS TENSIONS RISE
On Wednesday, the UK government published the Internal Market Bill, which intends to ensure intra-UK trade remains barrier and tariff free. The Bill breaches key portions of the previously agreed Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol. At an extraordinary EU-UK Joint Committee, the European Commission emphasised that the Bill has seriously damaged trust between both sides, calling for the Bill’s immediate withdrawal and emphasising its readiness to litigate if the UK does not do so. Also, round Eight of EU-UK negotiations concluded with significant divergences persisting on numerous issues, especially level-playing field.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
• 14 September: EU-China leaders’ meeting via video conference. On the agenda: Climate change, economic and trade issues, COVID-19 pandemic.
• 14-17 September: European Parliament Plenary session. On the agenda: State of the Union, rule of law, COVID-19 coordination of health assessments.
• 16-17 September: Informal meeting of education ministers.
• 18 September: Video conference of internal market and industry ministers. On the agenda: Deepening the single market.
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • email@example.com • www.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU.