Insights | EU Insight 26 March, 2021

29/03/2021

EU Insight 26 March, 2021

Brussels, 26 March 2021

 

EU LEADERS COMMIT TO ACCELERATE VACCINATION AND ADDRESS ECONOMIC FUTURE

At the European Council, EU leaders committed to accelerate the production, delivery, and deployment of vaccines, and called for more international transparency on the export of doses. Their final statement also stressed the need to strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of the EU’s industry, to enhance its digital sovereignty, and to ensure high standards in the digital economy, calling on the Commission to widen the EU’s policy toolbox for digital transformation. Finally, leaders discussed transatlantic relations and were joined virtually by US President Biden to talk about sustainability, economic recovery, and human rights, as well as the tensions between the EU, Russia, and Turkey.

 

TRANSPARENCY AND AUTHORISATION MECHANISM FOR VACCINE EXPORTS STRENGTHENED

The European Commission introduced the principle of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered for authorising Covid-19 vaccine exports under the dedicated transparency and authorisation mechanism. The aim is to assess whether the requested exports threaten the security of vaccine supply in the Union. At the same time, the EU remains committed to exclude from the scheme those supplies destined for humanitarian aid or to one of the 92 low- and middle-income countries under the COVAX Advance Market Commitment list. Moreover, to gain a more comprehensive picture of vaccine trade, the new act includes 17 countries previously exempted in the scope of the mechanism.

 

EU SANCTIONS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES HEIGTHENS DIPLOMATIC TENSIONS

The Council imposed further sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for serious human rights violations in China, North Korea, Libya, Russia, South Sudan and Eritrea. The targeted individuals’ and entities’ assets will be freezed, and travel to the EU banned, in line with the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. In addition, persons and entities in the EU are prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed. The sanctions, which aim to signal the EU’s strong determination to stand up for human rights, heightened tensions between the EU and China, with Beijing immediately retaliating by imposing countersanctions on Members of the European Parliament, academics and analysts.

 

PREPARATIONS FOR FUTURE OF EUROPE CONFERENCE BEGINS AS EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETS

The Executive Board of the Future of Europe Conference held its first meeting.  The Board addressed the practical measures to ensure citizens can start contributing to the Conference without delay including the multilingual Digital Platform, the Charter for citizens’ participation and visual identity. The Board also held an exchange of views on its internal working methods and discussed the possibility of a formal event on 9 May in Strasbourg as well as to hold the first Conference Plenary on 10 May, depending on the public health conditions. The Executive Board will convene again on 7 April in the European Parliament and the Digital Platform will be launched on 19 April.

 

EUROSUMMIT LEADERS COMMIT TO STRENGTHENING THE INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF THE EURO

Euro area leaders expressed their support for strengthening the euro’s position on the global stage when they met virtually. The leaders aim to enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy while contributing to the stability of the global financial system and supporting the European economy. They stressed the need for a robust, inclusive, and sustainable recovery and called for a continued pursual of EU leadership on green financial products. Moreover, they stressed how completing the Banking Union and making progress towards a true Capital Markets Union remain essential, and called for more innovation in digital finance, including the introduction of a digital euro, and a stronger focus on more efficient payment systems.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 29 March: Trade Policy Committee: on the agenda, WTO Investment Facilitation negotiations, EU-Australia FTA negotiations, and WTO-E-Commerce
  • 29 March: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth: on the agenda, lessons learnt from the COVID-19 Crisis and free movement of goods

 

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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