Brussels, 27 May 2022
EUROPEAN SEMESTER SPRING PACKAGE AND COUNTRY RECOMMENDATIONS PUBLISHED
The Commission released its European Semester Spring Package, with the economic outlook assessed to be less positive as compared to the projections made before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The publication includes country specific reports and recommendations with new chapters dedicated to the REPowerEU plan and resources in the national recovery and resilience plans. Furthermore, the Package contains a proposal on reviewed Guidelines for employment policies of Member States; the fourteenth enhanced surveillance report for Greece; the post-programme surveillance reports for Cyprus, Ireland, Spain and Portugal; and opinions on the draft budgetary plans of Germany and Portugal.
PROPOSED LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR ASSET CONFISCATION
The European Commission published a proposal for Council Decision to make the violation of EU sanctions a crime in the EU. In addition, the Commission issued a Communication, with an annex, setting out ideas for what a future Directive defining criminal sanctions for the violation of EU sanctions measures could contain. Moreover, a new proposal for a Directive on asset recovery and confiscation will seek to improve the EU’s and member states’ powers to trace and identify, freeze, confiscate and manage property derived from criminal activities, including sanctions violations.
COMMISSION CREATES A TASK FORCE TO END EUROPE’S DEPENDENCY ON RUSSIAN ENERGY
The Commission has set up a new Task Force within the Directorate General for Energy that will support the EU Energy Platform and deliver on the goal of the REPowerEU programme to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels. The new task force, which will begin its work next week, consists of three units – global demand and international negotiations, relations with the Member States and neighbourhood, and international relations. As its first priorities, it will work towards demand aggregation, coordination of capacity and negotiations of supplies, as well as manage outreach to any potential international partners.
COUNCIL ADOPTS ITS POSITION ON THE EUROPEAN LONG TERM INVESTMENT FUND REVIEW
During this week’s Economic and Financial Affairs meeting, the Council adopted its position on the European long-term investment funds (ELTIF) review. The proposal, which was published as part of a broader Capital Markets Union package, revises the 2015 Regulation with the objective to make ELTIFs more attractive to asset managers and investors. Overall, the Council’s position maintains the main pillars of the Commission proposal, while notably strengthening some provisions in relation to retail investor safeguards. The negotiations with the European Parliament are expected to begin after summer, once the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee has adopted its position on the file.
COMMISSION AGREES ON A PLAN FOR TRANSPORT TO INCREASE ITS RESILIENCE
The Commission adopted a Contingency Plan for Transport aiming at strengthening the future resilience of EU transport, drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The plan includes ten actions that underline the importance of a minimum connectivity and passenger protection, build resilience to cyberattacks, and test the resilience of the system. The plan’s guiding principles ensure that measures are proportionate, transparent and non-discriminatory. The Commission will support Member States in implementation of the actions. Moreover, the Commission will coordinate on the Solidarity Lanes contact points network and matchmaking platform to ensure Ukraine grain export in the context of the ongoing food crisis.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab