Brussels, 26 November 2021
COMMISSION PUTS FORWARD MILD, TARGETED CHANGES TO FOSTER EU CAPITAL MARKETS
The Commission published its Capital Markets Union (CMU) package, which includes targeted amendments to several existing Directives and Regulations (AIFMD, MiFIR and ELTIF), as well as a new proposal for a European Single Access Point for companies’ financial and sustainable investment information. The package seeks to contribute to the objectives of the 2020 CMU Action plan: make financing more accessible to EU companies, make the EU an ever-safer place to save and invest long-term, and integrate national capital markets into a genuine single market. While the Commission presents the package as a significant milestone, in addition to an effort at enhancing market transparency, the provisions are somewhat lacking in ambition, and thus likely to be met with some disagreement by the co-legislators.
CO-LEGISLATORS PREPARE UPCOMING DISCUSSIONS ON EU DIGITAL MARKETS REGULATION
The process that aims at regulating the EU market of digital services was brought one step forward. While the Council agreed on its general approach on the Commission’s proposal for a Digital Services Act (DSA) and for a Digital Markets Act (DMA), the responsible committee in the Parliament also voted in favour of its position on the DMA, paving the way for a plenary approval in December. Together, the two files aim at creating a safer digital space and to establish a more competitive and innovative online market. The co-legislators are set to begin their negotiations in 2022, once the Parliament finalises its position.
COMMISSION’S AUTUMN PACKAGE LOOKS AHEAD AMID RISING UNCERTAINTIES
The Commission published its Autumn Package, kicking off the European Semester cycle of economic policy coordination. In the package, which includes the Commission’s opinions on Member States’ Draft Budgetary Plans and its policy recommendations for the euro area, the Commission highlights that while the EU is set on a good path for the recovery, it is now facing strengthening headwinds. Rising COVID-19 infection rates and restrictions, as well as inflation and persisting supply chain bottlenecks are starting to overshadow Europe’s economic growth and worsening macroeconomic imbalances. Hence, the Euro area recommendation for 2022 is for governments to take a moderately supportive fiscal stance, implement targeted policies, and make use of Recovery and Resilience Facility’s funds.
COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY REFORM GREENLIGHTED BY PARLIAMENT
The European Parliament gave its final approval to the Common Agricultural Policy reform, which will apply as of 2023. During the negotiations, Parliament insisted on the need to strengthen biodiversity and align the framework with the EU’s environmental and climate commitments. In this context, Member States will have to ensure that at least 35% of the rural development budget and at least 25% of direct payments are dedicated to environmental and climate measures. The initiative also establishes that at least 3% of the CAP budget should go to young farmers and increases transparency and compliance with labour rules in the agricultural sector.
COMMISSION SEEKS PERSON-BASED APPROACH TO UPDATED COVID-19 RULES
The European Commission proposed to update the rules on coordination of safe and free movement in the EU that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main element of novelty is a renewed focus on a ‘person-based approach’, and the proposal to lift any requirements for those who have an EU Digital COVID Certificate. The Commission also put forward a proposal to update the Council recommendation on non-essential travel from outside the EU to simplify the current framework and allow, as from 10 January 2022, vaccinated and recovered travelers to enter the Union more easily.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab