Brussels, 28 August 2020
PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL BEGIN TALKS ON COVID-19 RECOVERY PLAN AND MFF 2021-2027
After the European Council reached an agreement on the EU budget (MFF) for 2021-2027 and the COVID-19 recovery plan, negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council started this week. Budget Committee Chair Johan Van Overtveldt said that “there needs to be progress on the own resources and on the Rule of Law, on the role of the budgetary authority and on certain horizontal issues like, for example, climate.” Next week the Parliament’s Committee on Budgets will debate the state of play of the negotiations on the MFF 2021-2027, the reform of the own resources system and the recovery plan.
COMMISSION SIGNS FIRST CONTRACT FOR SUPPLY OF COVID-19 VACCINE
As COVID-19 infections rise in several Member States, with travel restrictions continuing and school openings jeopardised, the EU’s preparations for vaccine development have intensified throughout August. This week, the European Commission signed a contract for the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19 with AstraZeneca. Through the contract, Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis. The Commission is continuing to discuss similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers and has concluded successful exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Moderna.
15 MEMBER STATES TO BENEFIT FROM LOANS UNDER TEMPORARY EU REINSURANCE SCHEME
The Commission presented proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of €81.4 billion to 15 Member States under the European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE). The loans, which can amount to €100 billion in total, would range from €192 million to Latvia to €27.4 billion to Italy. They will assist Member States in addressing increases in public expenditure to preserve employment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the Council approves the proposals, financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Member States.
EU MODERNISES RULES OF ORIGIN IN TRADE WITH PAN-EURO-MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES
The European Commission adopted a legislative package that aims to increase trade between the European Union and its neighbouring countries in the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean region. Last year the total trade with these countries accounted for EUR 677 billion. The new proposals focus on modernising, adding flexibility and adopting more “business-friendly” relevant “rules of origin”. The proposals will affect the EU’s bilateral agreements with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.
PHIL HOGAN STEPS DOWN AS TRADE COMMISSIONER AFTER BREAKING COVID-19 MEASURES
Phil Hogan presented his resignation as Trade Commissioner to Ursula von der Leyen after the controversy concerning his visit to Ireland, where he did not comply with COVID-19 regulations regarding social distancing and attendance of events. The President of the European Commission accepted his resignation and has encouraged the Irish Government to present two new candidates for the role: one man, and one woman. For the time being and until a new Trade Commissioner is appointed, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis (in charge of the portfolio an Economy that Works for People) will assume ad interim responsibilities on trade matters.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
• 31 August – 1 September: Informal meeting of agriculture ministers.
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU.