Insights | EU Insight 19 March, 2021

22/03/2021

EU Insight 19 March, 2021

Brussels, 19 March 2021

 

UK IN BREACH OF NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL AND WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT, SAYS EU

The European Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breaching the substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. This marks the beginning of a formal infringement process against the UK, which has now been given one month to submit its observations to the letter of formal notice. Vice-President Šefčovič also sent a letter to Lord Frost, asking the UK to outline a roadmap for how the UK intends to implement the remaining parts of the Protocol by the end of the month.

 

COMMISSION CALLS FOR COORDINATED AND GRADUAL LIFTING OF COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Ahead of the meeting of EU leaders next week, the Commission called on Member States to prepare for a coordinated approach to a gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In a Communication adopted this week, the Commission charts the way ahead for a balanced policy and common EU approach. This includes i) the deployment of a Digital Green Certificate covering vaccination, testing and recovery; ii) the use of a common framework for response measures; iii) guidance on additional testing strategies; and iv) investment in diagnostics and treatments. The Communication also highlights actions to build global resilience through COVAX and an EU vaccine sharing mechanism.

 

COUNCIL ADOPTS CONCLUSIONS ON THE EU CHEMICALS STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The Council adopted its conclusions on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS).  The CSS is part of the European Green Deal and sets a long-term vision for the EU chemicals policy by achieving a toxic-free environment while strengthening the competitiveness of the EU’s chemical industry. Overall, the Council supports CSS objectives, and calls on the Commission to define several of its key concepts without undue delay. Member States also highlighted the importance of initiatives related to chemicals that require priority regulatory action, to the review of the REACH and CLP Regulations and to actions targeted at ensuring the sustainability of products throughout their life cycle.

 

ADOPTION OF INVESTEU UNLOCKS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The Council of the EU adopted the agreement reached with the European Parliament on InvestEU. The Regulation is expected to enter into force at the beginning of April 2021, after which the Commission will finalise the necessary procedures with the implementing partners. As a result, companies and project promoters should be able to start applying for funding by mid-2021. InvestEU succeeds the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI, or “Juncker Plan”) and is expected to mobilise more than €372 billion of investment through the provision of an EU guarantee of about €26.2 billion under the 2021-2027 EU budget.

 

NEW RULES AGAINST TERRORIST CONTENT ONLINE TO ENTER INTO FORCE IMMINENTLY

The Council adopted a Regulation on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The rules will apply to hosting service providers offering services in the EU, regardless of where they are established. The aim is to allow competent authorities to swiftly demand the removal or remove terrorist content online in all Member States by establishing one common instrument to this effect. Hosting service providers will need to take specific measures to address the misuse of their services and to protect them against the dissemination of terrorist content.  The legislation also provides for a clear scope and a clear uniform definition of ‘terrorist content’.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 22 March: Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda: Current affairs, Southern neighbourhood and Turkey.
  • 22 March: Informal meeting of competitiveness ministers.
  • 22-23 March: Agriculture and Fisheries Council. On the agenda: Council Regulation on fishing opportunities, phytosanitary measures against plant pests, biological agents against plant pests, reform of the CAP.
  • 23 March: Informal video conference of European affairs ministers. On the agenda: Preparation of the 25-26 March European Council, Conference on the Future of Europe.
  • 24 March: Tripartite Social Summit video conference. On the agenda: How to achieve a fair and sustainable recovery.
  • 24-25 March: European Parliament mini-Plenary session. On the agenda: Reform of EU Own Resources, Capital Markets Recovery Package, Ambient Air Quality Direcives.
  • 25-26 March: European Council. On the agenda: COVID-19, EU Digital Compass, Eastern Mediterranean, Russia.
  • 26 March: Euro Summit. On the agenda: Strengthening the international role of the euro.

 

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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