Insights | EU Insight 25 March, 2022

01/04/2022

EU Insight 25 March, 2022

Brussels, 25 March 2022

 

EUROPEAN LEADERS MEET IN BRUSSELS TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL NEW SANCTIONS

European leaders met in Brussels for the European Council to discuss possible new sanctions, their support to Ukrainians, and energy security. During the first day, the heads of states were joined by the US President Joe Biden to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and transatlantic cooperation. In their statement following the first summit day, leaders reiterated their readiness to adopt further sanctions, albeit some disagreement on the possible options. They also stressed their intention to close any potential sanctions loopholes (circumvention via cryptos and gold). The Commission released a list of measures to support Member States welcoming Ukrainian refugees and the Council decided to double its funding under the European Peace Facility to EUR 1 billion.

 

COMMISSION PROPOSALS TO ADDRESS HIGH ENERGY PRICES AND SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS

The European Commission published a Communication and a Proposal aimed at addressing the high gas prices and potential gas supply disruptions. The proposal introduces an obligation for a minimum 80% gas storage level by 1 November 2022. The Commission announced that it is ready for a common gas procurement and that it’s willing to create an ad hoc Task Force. The Communication described several options to mitigate the impact of high electricity prices. Moreover, on 25 March, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Joe Biden and welcomed the US pledge to provide the European Union with additional supplies of gas as of this year until 2030.

 

PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL AGREE ON RULES TO CURB DIGITAL PLATFORMS 

The European Parliament and the Commission reached a provisional political agreement on the Digital Markets Act, which aims to ensure that no large online platforms that act as “gatekeepers” abuse their position to the disadvantage of companies seeking access to those users. As co-legislators agreed on the criteria platforms must meet to be considered gatekeepers, the regulation encompasses ten so-called “core platform services”, stemming from online intermediation to cloud computing and web browser. As a result, the regulation will capture US big tech firms such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft. Moreover, it was decided that the Commission will be the sole enforcer of the Regulation.

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION SETS OUT ACTION PLAN FOR FOOD SECURITY

The European Commission adopted a communication on safeguarding food security and reinforcing the resilience of food systems. This will allow Member States to deviate from certain environmental obligations enabling to enlarge the EU’s farm production capacity. Overall, the Commission seeks to establish food security globally while paying special attention to Ukraine. The overarching goal is to provide food stability in the EU’s food system by putting in place measures supporting farmers and to ensure affordability of food for citizens. This action plan encompasses among others the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism and the Farm to Fork Strategy.

 

EUROPEAN UNION TAKES ACTION TO BOOST ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

A Parliament committee adopted their final recommendations on an EU Roadmap to 2030 for Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA). The Special Committee on AIDA started its work in September 2020 with the aim of exploring the impact of AI on the European economy and its different sectors as well as regulatory approaches of other jurisdictions and possible pathways for the EU. The final report highlights the embedded potential of AI to complement humans and calls upon the EU to further pursue R&D in order not to fall behind in the global race for tech leadership. The report will be put to a vote in the Parliament in May.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 28 March: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council. On the agenda: EU support for people fleeing the war in Ukraine (implementation of material and financial support for Member States, monitoring, and coordination of travel within the EU, reception of refugees from Moldova, external border control and security issues.
  • 29 March: Employment, Social Policy, Health, and Consumer Affairs Council (Health). On the agenda: EU’s strategy on Covid-19 vaccine solidarity, EU response to rare diseases, medical and humanitarian situation in Ukraine, negotiations on an international agreement on pandemic prevention, regulation on serious cross-border threats to health).

 

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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