Brussels, 26 February 2021
COVID-19 VACCINES REMAIN AT THE CORE OF DISCUSSIONS AT THE SUMMIT
EU leaders met virtually to discuss COVID-19, health, security and defence, and the southern neighbourhood at the two-day European Council meeting that ended today. Vaccines were the topic of the day, with leaders calling for reinforced cooperation to tackle the pandemic. In the Council’s conclusions, they affirm that non-essential travel should continue to be restricted, while efforts to speed up vaccines production must continue. Leaders also asked the Commission to report in June on the lessons learnt and the way forward. Finally, they reaffirmed the commitment to increase the EU’s strategic autonomy in the international arena and identified the steps needed to enhance EU’s security and defence policies.
EU ADOPTS NEW STRATEGY ON ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The Commission adopted a new strategy to prepare for the unavoidable effects of climate change. Presenting the plan, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that inadequate preparation can have “dire consequences”. The new strategy targets improving knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions, stepping up climate planning and risk assessments, and strengthening climate resilience globally. On the latter, the EU aims to promote climate adaptation at all global political levels, with a specific focus on Africa and Small Island Developing States through the provision of resources, scaling up international finance and closing the gap in climate finance.
PUBLIC COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY TAX REPORTING BACK ON AGENDA
Following a long stalemate in the Council, Member States have now unblocked the way forward on the public Country-by-Country Reporting (CBCR) Directive. CBCR would require multinationals with a revenue of at least €750 million to disclose on a country-by-country basis how much revenue and profit they make and the tax they pay, amongst other things. The file was blocked in Council for several years but with Austria having changed its position this week, there is no longer a blocking minority. The Council is expected to agree on a negotiating mandate in the coming weeks and talks with the Parliament could begin shortly thereafter.
COMMISSION PROPOSES NEW ROAMING REGULATION TO EXTEND USE OF CURRENT RULES
The European Commission proposed a new Roaming Regulation to ensure that citizens can continue to enjoy roaming without additional charges when travelling in the EU. The new Regulation will not only prolong the current rules (which are due to expire in 2022) for another ten years, but also aims to improve the current roaming services. For example, the Commission wants consumers to be entitled to have the same quality and speed of their mobile network connection abroad as at home, where equivalent networks are available. The proposal, which will be subject to amendments by the co-legislators, also envisage further reductions in wholesale roaming prices.
MEMBER STATES ADOPT CONCLUSIONS ON NEW CONSUMER AGENDA
The Council of the EU adopted its conclusions on the Commission’s Communication on a ‘New Consumer Agenda’. The Agenda presents a holistic vision for EU consumer policy for the years 2020 to 2025, with a particular focus on strengthening consumer resilience and promoting a sustainable recovery. This is one of the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency and the Council is committed to implement its actions. In particular, the principles of a circular economy underpin the Agenda’s key provision, such as the ‘right to repair’, while stressing online and offline consumer protection and product safety.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Friday 9 | April | 2021
CONSULTATION ON HEALTH EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE AUTHORITY The European Commission launched an online public consultation on the ...
Monday 29 | March | 2021
EU LEADERS COMMIT TO ACCELERATE VACCINATION AND ADDRESS ECONOMIC FUTURE At the European Council, EU leaders committed to ...
Monday 22 | March | 2021
UK IN BREACH OF NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL AND WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT, SAYS EU The European Commission sent a letter ...
Friday 12 | March | 2021
PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR AMBITIOUS DUE DILIGENCE FRAMEWORK FOR CORPORATES The European Parliament adopted a report on corporate due ...
Monday 8 | March | 2021
The Commission wants to ensure that women and men in the EU get equal pay for equal work. ...
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 ...