Brussels, 16 July 2021
“FIT FOR 55″ PACKAGE PAVES WAY TO MEET EU GREEN DEAL AMBITIONS
The European Commission released its long-awaited “Fit for 55” Package aiming at aligning EU energy and climate regulatory framework with the new GHG emissions reduction objective of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Following last week’s publication in the official journal of the European Climate Law, which enshrines the climate objectives into EU legislation, this Package is the European Commission’s tool to set the EU on track towards climate neutrality by 2050. The package encompasses 12 legislative proposals (8 revisions of existing legislations + 4 new proposals), which will individually go through the ordinary legislative procedure.
PROVISIONAL DEAL ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS
The Council Presidency and European Parliament’s negotiators reached a provisional political agreement on a proposal to revise the Aarhus Regulation, to bring it fully in line with the Aarhus Convention. The said Regulation sets out how the EU and its Member States implement the international Aarhus Convention, which aims to guarantee access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The provisional agreement, which is subject to formal approval by both institutions, was welcomed by the Commission, considering its commitment under the European Green Deal to improve access to administrative and judicial review at EU level for citizens and environmental NGOs.
EU PROLONGS ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
The Council of the EU decided to extend the sanctions targeting specific economic sectors of the Russian Federation for a further six months, until 31 January 2022. The decision follows the latest assessment of the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements at the European Council in June. Given Russia’s failure to fully implement the agreements, EU leaders unanimously decided to roll-over the economic sanctions currently in place. Moreover, in a new assessment of the direction of EU-Russia political relations, the Parliament emphasised this week the need to step up work with partners to strengthen democratic impulses in Russia, calling for a strategy to promote future Russian democracy.
ECB LAUNCHES TWO-YEAR INVESTIGATION PHASE INTO DIGITAL EURO
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced this week that it will launch the investigation phase of its digital euro project. This phase should last for 24 months, during which the ECB will engage with stakeholders and work on the design and distribution features of the digital currency. At the end of the investigation phase, the ECB will decide whether it will proceed with a development phase, which would last an additional two years. Over the coming months, the ECB will engage with the European Parliament and the Council, while the technical work with the European Commission will also be intensified.
COMMISSION STARTS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST HUNGARY AND POLAND OVER LGBTIQ RIGHTS
The European Commission launched infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland for violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people. On Hungary, the cases include the recently adopted law that restricts freedom of speech and children’s rights by banning LGBTIQ content from being featured in school educational materials or TV shows for under-18s. In relation to Poland, the legal action concerns the nature and impact of the so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’ resolutions adopted by several Polish regions and municipalities. The two Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
WE WISH YOU A SUNNY AND RELAXING SUMMER! EU INSIGHT WILL BE BACK AT THE END OF AUGUST.
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
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