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
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Friday 26 | February | 2021
EU leaders met virtually to discuss COVID-19, health, security and defence, and the southern neighbourhood at the two-day ...
Tuesday 23 | February | 2021
The European Commission presented a new European bio-defense preparedness plan against COVID-19 variants called the “HERA Incubator”. This ...
Monday 15 | February | 2021
The European Commission released its Winter Economic Forecast, which revises economic growth estimates downwards for the second time ...
Friday 5 | February | 2021
Commission Vice President Schinas and Commissioner for Health Kyriakides presented Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, a key pillar of ...
Monday 1 | February | 2021
The Commission presented updated guidelines for Member States in the context of their national Recovery and Resilience plans. ...
Sunday 17 | January | 2021
COMMISSION LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON A POTENTIAL EUROPEAN DIGITAL TAX The European Commission launched a four-week consultation on its ...
Monday 11 | January | 2021
After months of protracted and difficult negotiations, the EU and the UK reached a deal on a post-Brexit ...