Insights | EU Insight 22 January, 2021

25/01/2021

EU Insight 22 January, 2021

Brussels, 22 January 2021

 

EU LEADERS AND COMMISSION SETS OUT KEY ACTIONS FOR A UNITED FRONT TO BEAT COVID-19

Yesterday evening EU leaders met via video conference to discuss coordination on the response to COVID-19, notably as regards testing, vaccinations and detecting new variants of the virus. They agreed to work on a standardised and inter-operable vaccination certificate and expressed their will to accelerate vaccination. In a Communication adopted on Tuesday, the European Commission urged Member States to accelerate the roll-out of vaccination: by March, at least 80% of people over the age of 80, and 80% of health and social care professionals in every Member State should be vaccinated. By this summer, Member States should have vaccinated a minimum of 70% of the adult population, the Commission said.

 

COMMISSION IDEAS TO REINFORCE THE EU’S ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL SOVEREIGNITY

Earlier this week the Commission released a Communication on “The European economic and financial system: fostering openness, strength and resilience”, which sets out how the EU can reinforce its strategic autonomy in light of Brexit and altered relations with the US. The Commission believes that in order to safeguard and deepen the Single Market, it is paramount to complete the Banking Union, making significant progress on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The Communication also puts a particular emphasis on actions that would enhance the diversification of the global monetary landscape by promoting the euro on an international scale.

 

FINANCE MINISTERS DISCUSS IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOVERY AND RESILIENCE FACILITY

EU Finance Ministers met this week for the first Eurogroup and ECOFIN of the year. Central to both meetings was a discussion on the state of play of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs). In particular, the Commission invited lagging Member States to accelerate their efforts in finalising their plans ahead of the April deadline (by when NRRPs should be submitted for approval). In addition, all governments were nudged into prioritising the ratification of the own resources Decision, a necessary condition for the Commission to begin borrowing the €750 billion foreseen under Next Generation EU in the markets.

 

EU WELCOME PRESIDENT BIDEN’S INAUGURATION AS THE US REJOINS PARIS AGREEMENT

EU leaders have hailed a “new dawn” for EU-US relations after Joe Biden assumed office on January 20. Commission President von der Leyen stated “Once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.” French President Macron also congratulated President Biden and Vice-President Harris, adding “Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!” after Biden signed a string of Executive Orders. These measures included the renewed US accession to the Paris Agreement as well as the World Health Organisation, repealing the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries, and ending the state of national emergency on the US-Mexico border.

 

COMMISSION LAUNCHES DESIGN PHASE FOR NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS INITIATIVE

This week, the Commission launched the “design” phase of the New European Bauhaus Initiative, an environmental, cultural and economic project aiming to use design to help achieve the EU Green Deal objectives through better “ways of living.” The initiative aims to make the Green Deal a more tangible project for citizens, through sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusiveness. As part of the “design” phase, citizens and organisations are invited to submit proposals in the autumn to bring Bauhaus ideas to life, followed by the “delivery” phase, implementing five pilot projects with new sustainable and inclusive solutions. The third “dissemination” phase will aim to spread the Bauhaus ideas and concepts throughout the EU-27.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 25 January: Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda: COVID-19 and the EU’s global partners, the detention of Alexei Navalny, the transatlantic relations after the inauguration of Joe Biden and recent developments on Turkey, Egypt, Hong Kong, and Venezuela.
  • 25 January: Informal video conference of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers. On the agenda: CAP reform package, fishing opportunities for the stocks shared with the UK for 2021.

 

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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