Insights | EU Insight 16 October, 2020

19/10/2020

EU Insight 16 October, 2020

Brussels, 16 October 2020

 

EUROPEAN COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS ON COVID-19, BREXIT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

In the context of the just concluded summit, the European Council assessed the EU coordination effort on COVID-19, and urged for accelerated responses on vaccines, quarantine regulations, cross-border contact tracing, testing strategies, and international travel restrictions. On Brexit, Council conclusions acknowledged lack of progress on key issues, urging the UK to “make the necessary moves” to reach a deal. On climate change, EU leaders called on the Commission to conduct targeted consultations with Member States to establish the way forward, in light of the proposed emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. The European Council will further discuss climate concerns at the December meeting.

 

MEMBER STATES AGREE TO COORDINATE MEASURES AFFECTING FREE MOVEMENT

The Council adopted a recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restrictions of free movement in response to COVID-19. The recommendation introduces common epidemiological criteria upon which restrictions to free movement should be based, as well as mapping tools to be developed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Based on data provided by Member States, the ECDC will publish a weekly map of EU countries, broken down by regions, showing the infection rate over the last 14 days. Areas should be marked in green, orange, red or grey (when insufficient data is provided).

 

COMMISSION ADOPTS NEW CHEMICALS STRATEGY FOR A TOXIC-FREE ENVIRONMENT

This week the European Commission adopted its EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. The Strategy focuses on the protection of human health and the environment from harmful chemicals and aims to boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals. Unless proven essential for societal use, all hazardous chemicals in consumer products will be banned. To aid the chemicals industry through this transition, several innovation and investment actions will be put in place. The Strategy also references the possibilities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to invest in the green and digital transition of EU industries, including in the chemical sector.

 

COMMISSION INITIATIVE ON BUILDINGS AND REPORT ON STATE OF THE ENERGY UNION

The Commission published its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve energy performance of buildings, aiming to double renovation rates in the next decade to ensure higher energy and resource efficiency. The Commission foresees that by 2030, up to 35 million buildings could be renovated. Separately, the Commission adopted a new State of the Energy Union report, assessing progress on renewables, energy efficiency and security, the internal energy market, and research, innovation, and competitiveness. On renewables, the EU has surpassed its 20% target for 2020, but on energy efficiency, the EU has not yet made the structural changes needed to achieve the target of 20% improvements relative to 1990.

 

WTO CONFIRMS EU RIGHT TO RETALIATE AGAINST $4 BILLION OF U.S. IMPORTS

This week, the WTO gave the EU the green light to impose tariffs on up to $4 billion worth of American imports, in retaliation for illegal subsides to the American aircraft maker, Boeing. The move marks a deepening of the EU-US trade dispute with the US Presidential election only three weeks away. The US had already begun imposing tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU goods last year, over state aid for Airbus, which has bases in Britain, France, Germany and Spain. Now, Brussels hopes the WTO decision will prompt both sides to accelerate work to agree subsidies rules for the airline sector.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 19-22 October: European Parliament Plenary. On the agenda: Commission Work Programme 2021, Digital Services Act, CAP, Policies of the Euro Area 2020.
  • 19-20 October: Agriculture and Fisheries Council. On the agenda: Reform of the CAP, fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea, farm to fork strategy.
  • 23 October: Environment Council. On the agenda: European Climate Law, conclusions on biodiversity, EU chemicals strategy for sustainability.
  • 23 October: Informal meeting of competitiveness ministers (internal market, industry).

 

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

____________________________________________________________________

Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • karl.isaksson@kreab.comwww.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU.

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