Brussels, 13 November 2020
WHITE SMOKE FOR THE EU BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS, BUT PROCESS IS FAR FROM OVER
The Council and the European Parliament reached a political agreement over the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), ending months of intense negotiations. The deal states that the EU budget will remain capped at €1,074.3 billion but provides a €15 billion-targeted reinforcement of Parliaments’ flagship programmes and a legally binding calendar for the introduction of new own resources. Both institutions have now to formally endorse the agreement and, in parallel, work towards the adoption of all sectoral legislations. That is, if Poland and Hungary do not carry out their threat to veto the entire MFF deal if the rule of law conditionality in relation to EU budget is maintained.
BREXIT: EU AND UK NEGOTIATORS CALL FOR CONCESSIONS AS CONFLICTS PERSIST
No EU-UK agreement materialised this week, with major divergences on level-playing field, fisheries and governance remaining in place. The UK remains unwilling to accept “unprecedented” regulatory conditions, but the EU is adamant on the need for level-playing field assurances given geographical proximity. Both sides call for each other to make the necessary concessions, given the growing lack of time for EU and UK parliamentary ratification of a possible agreement. Discussions continue next week with cautious optimism amongst some officials, but EU leaders are expected to accelerate no-deal contingency planning if there is no breakthrough next week, ahead of the European Council meeting via videoconference scheduled for 19 November.
COMMISSION PUTS FORWARD PLAN FOR EUROPEAN HEALTH UNION
The European Commission has put forward a Communication on building a European Health Union, which aims to strengthen the EU’s health security framework and reinforce the crisis preparedness and response role of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Under the new framework, Member States will develop national plans for health crises, including pandemics. Moreover, a strengthened, integrated surveillance system will be created at EU level, using artificial intelligence and other advanced technological means. The declaration of an EU emergency situation would trigger increased coordination and allow for the development, stockpiling and procurement of crisis relevant products.
TOWARDS AN EVER-MORE-EQUAL UNION: COMMISSION PRESENTS LGBTIQ STRATEGY
The European Commission presented this week its first-ever EU Strategy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) equality. The strategy comes at a time when, despite recent progress, almost half of LGBTIQ people continue to feel discriminated against. The Commission notably proposes to extend the list of EU crimes to cover hate crime, including homophobic hate speech, and to ensure that LGBTIQ concerns are well reflected in EU policymaking. In addition, the strategy proposes to offer legal protection in employment and to address family and parental issues that are caused by different national legislations across Member States.
FUTURE EU INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY: COUNCIL ADOPTS CONCLUSIONS
The Council adopted conclusions on an EU intellectual property legislation, as part of a comprehensive action plan on the matter. The conclusions urge for a strong, efficient, transparent, and balanced legislative framework on intellectual property that fosters innovation. The Council also states willingness to consider sui generis protection of non-agricultural products via extensive impact assessments and calls for concrete actions against counterfeiting and piracy. Also, the Council invites the Commission to revise legislation on industrial design protection, to ensure design protection systems in the EU are complementary, accessible, and better address the implications of emergent technologies.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
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