Insights | EU Insight 23 October, 2020

26/10/2020

EU Insight 23 October, 2020

Brussels, 23 October 2020

 

COMMISSION ADOPTS AMBITIOUS 2021 WORK PROGRAMME

The Commission has adopted a highly ambitious work programme for 2021, with the central aim of accelerating Europe’s recovery through a green and digital transformation. The strategy covers six headline ambitions: the Green Deal; the digital transformation; an economy that works for people; a stronger EU in the world; promoting our European way of life; and a new push for European democracy. Forty-four new policy objectives are laid out, including a carbon border adjustment mechanism, strengthening the European Health Union and Security Union, and a series of digital strategies. Based on the work programme, the Commission, Parliament and Council will later establish a joint declaration on EU legislative priorities.

 

EU-UK NEGOTIATIONS RESUME AT AN INTENSIFIED PACE IN FINAL PUSH FOR AGREEMENT

Talks on an EU-UK trade deal have resumed in London after a week-long hiatus. Officials from both sides agreed to a new intensified series of talks, introducing a “textual approach,” where lead negotiators in every policy area aim to find areas of convergence based on both sides’ proposed legal texts. EU chief negotiator Barnier emphasised that “every day counts” in light of the distinct lack of time available. An initial negotiation round is now ongoing until Sunday, with subsequent daily talks planned in Brussels and London. Key issues of contention include level-playing field, governance, fisheries, energy, and provisions for goods and services.

 

COUNCIL AGREES ITS POSITION ON THE NEXT EU COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

This week the Council agreed its approach on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 reform package. The package will put stronger focus on environmental protections, including eco-schemes providing a dedicated budget to farmers following sustainable practices like organic farming and agroforestry. Also, member states are given greater flexibility in terms of where to allocate green funding and how to reach environmental goals, though each country will need to submit policy plans to the Commission for approval. Now, the Council will kickstart negotiations with the European Parliament to reach an overall agreement. The CAP constitutes the largest share of the EU budget, approximately a third of the EU’s €1.1 trillion budget for 2021-2027.

 

EU LAUNCHES CONTACT-TRACING GATEWAY AND LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON THIRD COUNTRIS

With coronavirus cases soaring across the European Union, authorities are taking measures to balance citizens’ free movement with necessary safety measures. This week, an EU-wide system to ensure interoperability between contact tracing apps, a so-called “gateway” set up by the Commission went live. The gateway connects Germany, Ireland and Italy’s contact-tracing apps which were downloaded by around 30 million people, and more countries will soon follow suit. At the same time, the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted, deeming Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay and China to be safe travelling destinations.

 

COUNCIL REACHES GENERAL POSITION ON CAPITAL MARKETS RECOVERY PACKAGE

To help companies raise capital on public markets, support the lending capacity of banks and boost investment in the real economy, Member States agreed their position on amendments to the Capital Markets Recovery Package. Council seeks changes to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) to reduce the volume of information that must be provided to investors, as well as the introduction of a “EU Recovery Prospectus” reducing disclosure requirements for shares and bonds. A dedicated prudential treatment for synthetic excess spread in the Capital Requirements Regulation is also suggested. Inter-institutional negotiations on the package will begin once the Parliament reaches its general position, with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of 2020.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 26-29 October: European Parliament committee week. On the agenda: General budget of the EU, new Circular Economy Action Plan, a WTO-compatible carbon border adjustment mechanism, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
  • 26-30 October: EU-UK negotiations (London and Brussels).
  • 29 October: European Council videoconference. On the agenda: strengthening the collective effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 30 October: Videoconference of health ministers. On the agenda: the role of the EU in strengthening the World Health Organisation.

 

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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