Brussels, 12 March 2021
PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR AMBITIOUS DUE DILIGENCE FRAMEWORK FOR CORPORATES
The European Parliament adopted a report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability whereby companies would be held accountable and liable when they harm – or contribute to harming – human rights, the environment and good governance around the globe, while guaranteeing that victims can access legal remedies. The mandatory framework would apply to all large undertakings governed by EU law or established in the EU, as well as to publicly listed SMEs and high-risk SMEs. The report aims to inform the European Commission’s work on this matter, in view of the legislative initiative on sustainable corporate governance that is expected by this summer.
PARLIAMENT ADOPTS INVESTEU PROGRAMME
The European Parliament plenary endorsed the compromise text on InvestEU, aimed at fostering investments, address market failures and bridge the investment gap in targeted sectors. InvestEU should mobilise €400 billion of public and private investments through an EU guarantee of €26 billion, allocated to four objectives: i) sustainable infrastructures; ii) research, innovation, and digitalisation; ii) SMEs; and iv) social and investment skills. Moreover, all investments under InvestEU will need to respect the ‘do no significant harm’ principle, and at least 30% will need to go towards EU climate objectives. The Council’s approval is now needed for the programme to become operational.
COMMISSION PRESENTS VISION AND TARGETS FOR A DIGITALLY EMPOWERED EUROPE BY 2030
The Commission announced its vision for a European digital transformation by 2030. The proposal puts forward a list of European digital principles, a ‘digital compass’ translating the EU’s ambitions into concrete targets and a governance framework, as well as a monitoring system to track progress. Moreover, the 2030 digital compass, to be adopted in the form of a digital policy programme in Q3 2021, divides the targets into four pillars: i) education and skills; ii) digital capacities in infrastructures; iii) digital transformation of businesses; iv) public services digitalisation. A public consultation will be launched in the coming weeks.
EU PRESIDENTS SIGN ‘FUTURE OF EUROPE’ JOINT DECLARATION
The Presidents of the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament signed the Joint Declaration on the “Future of Europe” Conference, effectively setting it in motion. The Declaration provides a non-exhaustive list of possible themes for the Conference, which invites EU citizens to thoroughly reflect on the direction the EU should be taking on crucial issues and on its institutional set-up. Amongst the key themes are health, climate change, social fairness, digital transformation, the EU’s role in the world, and how to strengthen democratic processes governing the EU. The Conference is expected to begin on 9 May and last until the Spring 2022.
EU AND US JOIN EFFORTS TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE
The EU and the US reaffirmed this week their commitment to tackling the climate crisis together, as US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry met with the College of Commissioners. The joint statement that followed the visit notes that both giants are “committed to ensuring [the] success [of the Paris Agreement] by reducing our own emissions and by cooperating with our global partners, particularly the other major economies, to strengthen their climate ambition.” The US will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on 22 April, which marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Paris Agreement on climate change for signature.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab