Insights | EU Insight 17 December, 2021

17/12/2021

EU Insight 17 December, 2021

Brussels, 17 December 2021

 

EU LEADERS FAIL TO REACH COMPROMISE ON ENERGY PRICES IN DENSE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

A packed agenda awaited EU leaders in Brussels, as they discussed COVID-19, energy prices and geopolitical tensions, among other topics. The European Council – the first for the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – lasted until late at night, but EU leaders were unable to find agreement on energy prices, which did not even feature in the final conclusions. On COVID-19, EU leaders called for more coordination, in light of Italy’s recent unilateral measures, and international cooperation. Finally, the leaders returned to the topic of external borders, warning Russia to escalate tensions at the border with Ukraine and condemning the instrumentalisation of migrants and refugees by the Belarusian regime.

 

EU LEADERS FAIL TO REACH COMPROMISE ON ENERGY PRICES IN DENSE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

The Commission continues presenting initiatives to foster the transition towards climate neutrality. A Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles explores how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, while a set of two legislative proposals aim at facilitating the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases and support the creation of a cost-efficient, clean hydrogen economy. The Commission also propose to make all new buildings zero-emission as of 2030 through a proposal for a revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Finally, the first-ever framework on methane emissions reduction introduces strict rules to detect and repair methane leaks, and will require the oil, gas and coal sectors to measure and report methane emissions.

 

DIGITAL MARKETS ACT AND DIGITAL SERVICES ACT MOVING FORWARD

The European Parliament adopted its position on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to regulate digital platforms in the EU, setting the stage for negotiations between the co-legislators next year. The report broadens the scope of core platform services, sets new obligations and prohibitions, and raises the quantitative thresholds for gatekeepers. It also increases the penalties in case of non-compliance and establishes a High-Level Group of Digital Regulators to oversee the implementation of the rules. Separately, the responsible parliament committee adopted its report on the Digital Services Act (DSA), which fell behind the DMA because of diverging views on some of its key provisions but should now be adopted in January’s Plenary.

 

PROVISIONAL TEN-E DEAL CLINCHED AFTER LONG NEGOTIATIONS

The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation, a framework supporting the integration of Member States’ energy networks,  following a final stretch of negotiations. The deal includes provisions ensuring that no new fossil fuel infrastructure projects receives funding through the Connecting Europe Facility, a deadline for EU financial support for hydrogen assets converted from natural gas assets, and streamlining permitting procedures for new projects. The agreement will have to be formally endorsed by Member States and the Parliament before it can be published in the Official Journal.

 

NEW COUNCIL PRESIDENCY’S ‘TRIO’ PROGRAMME PUBLISHED

Following last week’s announcement on the main priorities of the upcoming French Presidency of the Council by President Macron, the website of the Presidency was launched, together with the programme for the new Presidency ‘trio’, composed by France, the Czech Republic and Sweden. The document outlines guiding principles for the Council activities over the next 18-months which will focus on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, as well as on initiatives promoting a new growth and investment model for Europe, building a greener and more socially equitable Union, and promoting multilateralism through international partnerships.

 

WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

THE EU INSIGHT WILL BE BACK IN 2022.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 20 December: Environment Council. On the agenda: Fit for 55 package, Batteries and waste batteries, EU soil strategy 2030
  • 22 December: College of Commissioners meeting. On the agenda: Own resources package, Initiative to fight the use of shell entities, Proposal on implementation of the OECD global agreement on minimum effective taxation

 

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

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

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