Insights | EU Insight 21 June, 2018

EU Insight 21 June, 2018

AGREEMENT REACHED ON ENERGY GOVERNANCE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The European Parliament and Council agreed a new deal on the governance of the Energy Union, aimed at ensuring that Europeans have access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy. The deal will allow the EU to meet its goals of becoming world leader on renewable and provide a fair deal for consumers. The two institutions also reached a deal on new rules for energy efficiency, including a new energy efficiency target of 32.5% for the EU from 2030, with an upwards revision clause by 2023.

COPYRIGHT PROPOSALS APPROVED BY EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament’s legal affairs committee backed the Commission’s proposed directive on copyright in the digital single market. First proposed in 2016, the legislation introduces new rules regarding publishers’ rights and setting a text and data mining exception. Despite its adoption, critics fear the agreed text will restrict how internet users can participate online, with some calling for the parliament to reject the proposal. The draft text will be voted on by the full parliament in the upcoming July plenary meeting. 

EU ADOPTS REBALANCING MEASURES IN REACTION TO US STEEL AND ALUMINIUM TARIFFS

The European Commission adopted a regulation that puts in place rebalancing measures in response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium. It will rebalance bilateral trade with the US based on the value of EU steel and aluminium exports impacted by the US’ measures, which are worth €6.4 billion. Of this amount, the EU will rebalance €2.8 billion worth of exports immediately. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at €3.6 billion will take place at a later stage – in three years time or after a positive finding from a WTO dispute settlement, should that come sooner.

MERKEL AND MACRON SHOW UNITY BEFORE SUNDAY MINI-SUMMIT

At a joint meeting at Meseberg Castle, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron reached an agreement on a joint plan for the eurozone, European integration and migration. In particular, Chancellor Merkel gave a green light to President Macron’s plan for a rapid-reaction military force, as well as new plans for the eurozone budget which Germany had previously resisted. The agreement has been met with satisfaction from Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was present for part of the discussion. The meeting comes ahead of a mini-summit of EU heads of state who convene in Brussels on Sunday to discuss migration.

EU BEGINS NEGOTIATIONS ON TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

The European Commission launched negotiations for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement between the EU and Australia. The aim of the negotiations is to remove barriers to trade in goods and services, create opportunities for small and large companies, setting ambitious rules in line with other trade agreements of the EU, and shaping global trade. The first formal round of talks are expected to take place in Brussels from 2 to 6 July. After her visit to Canberra, the Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström flies to Wellington to launch trade negotiations with New Zealand. 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 24 June: Informal working meeting on migration and asylum issues.
  • 25 June: Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda: the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), military mobility, European Defence Fund.
  • 25 June: EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Council. On the agenda: review of bilateral relations between EU and Montenegro.
  • 25 June: Environment Council. On the agenda: Circular economy, CO2 standards for cars and vans, drinking water, protecting bees and other pollinators.
  • 26 June: General Affairs Council: On the agenda: Brexit and Article 50, EU enlargement, better law making.
  • 28-29 June: European Council: On the agenda: Migration, economy and finance, security and defence, Brexit, Euro summit.

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