Brussels, 14 January 2022
EU RENEWS ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA OVER THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE
The Council prolonged EU’s existing economic sanctions against Russia by six months, until 31 July 2022. The decision formalises EU leaders’ agreement to rollover the sanctions, as it was announced following their meeting in December, during which the heads of state and government assessed Russia’s implementation of the Minsk agreements, deeming it unsatisfactory. The measures – part of a sanctions package that has been in place since 2014 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has been regularly prolonged every six months since then – limits access to European primary and secondary capital markets for several Russian companies and prohibit forms of financial assistance and brokering towards Russian financial institutions, among others.
NEW DELEGATED ACT LABELS INVESTMENTS IN GAS AND NUCLEAR AS GREEN
Late on New Year’s Eve, the Commission shared with Member States its long-awaited draft complementary Delegated Act under the Taxonomy Regulation, defining new criteria to label investments in the gas and nuclear sector as sustainable. The text was at the centre of intense political discussions, as Member States took at times diametrically opposed positions with respect to either the inclusion or exclusion of nuclear and gas amongst sustainable investments. The Delegated Act is now being examined by the Technical Expert Group on the Taxonomy. Once greenlighted, the Commission will officially publish the document, which will then be subject to a public consultation and a scrutiny period in the Parliament and Council.
COMMISSION SEEKS INPUT ON LANDMARK EUROPEAN MEDIA FREEDOM ACT
The Commission opened a public consultation on the upcoming proposal for a European Media Freedom Act. The initiative was announced by President von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address, and is meant to protect pluralism in the EU media landscape while safeguarding the independence of EU media outlets. Through the consultation, the Commission is hoping to collect views on the challenges faced by the internal media market. Questions address media transparency, the conditions for media innovation and a healthy media landscape, as well as the allocation of state resources and media independence. The publication of a legislative proposal is expected in the second half of 2022.
EU DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT SITUATIONS IN KAZAKHSTAN, SAYS EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, said the EU is concerned by the outbreak of violence in Kazakhstan – the deadliest in the country’s 30 years of independence. Sparked a week ago in western provincial areas by a fuel price increase, the peaceful protests quickly reached large cities where riots erupted and were met with a violent response from the government. Borrell said that the EU regrets the loss of life and strongly condemn the widespread acts of violence, and stands ready to provide assistance for a peaceful resolution of the crisis, in a country which is considered an important partner for the European Union and for the stability of the region.
EUROPE MOURNS DEATH OF DAVID SASSOLI, DAYS BEFORE END OF HIS MANDATE
The President of the European Parliament, David Maria Sassoli, passed away at a hospital in Italy, where he was being treated for an immune system disfunction. Sassoli was elected EP President in 2019 for a two and a half year mandate. His death comes just days before the end of his term, as the parliament is due to elect his successor in Strasbourg next week, when the Plenary session will begin with a memorial ceremony, before voting for his successor begins. So far, four MEPs have announced their candidacy: Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT), Alice Bah Kuhnke (Greens, SE), Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL) and Sira Rego (The Left, ES). Metsola from the EPP is considered the favourite.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab