Insights | EU Insight 3 September, 2021

03/09/2021

EU Insight 3 September, 2021

Brussels, 3 September 2021

 

COMMISSION BEGINS DISBURSING PRE-FINANCING UNDER RECOVERY & RESILIENCE FACILITY

Following the approval of a total of 16 national recovery and resilience plans by both the Commission and the Council earlier this summer, in recent weeks the Commission has disbursed pre-financing equivalent to 13% of the financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for the following countries: Portugal, Luxembourg, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, France, Germany and Denmark. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across Member States. While most of the Member States have already submitted their plan to the Commission, some like the Netherlands or Bulgaria are still due to do so.

 

COUNCIL LIFTS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FURTHER AS COVID-19 VACCINATION RATE REACHES 70%

In an effort to gradually lift restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council this week removed five countries from the list of countries to which restrictions apply. These include the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia. Meanwhile, the EU reached a crucial milestone with 70% of the adult population now fully vaccinated. During the announcement, Commission President Von der Leyen and Health Commissioner Kyriakides, stressed that the EU will continue its efforts to further increase vaccination across the EU and the rest of the world to close the immunity gap and the door to new variants.

 

COUNCIL DISCUSSES THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN FROM SECURITY PERSPECTIVE

Following an extraordinary ministerial meeting, the Council issued a statement on the situation in Afghanistan, with a focus on implications for migration and security. As a matter of priority, the Council committed to stepping up financial support and coordination with international partners to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the vulnerable population. Member States also agreed to cooperate with neighbouring countries to reinforce refugee shelters and prevent uncontrolled, large-scale illegal migration from the region. The Council will follow developments closely and respond to attempts to instrumentalise illegal migration for political purposes and other hybrid threats, including by developing new tools.

 

EU TRADE DEFENCE MEASURES REMAINED EFFECTIVE IN 2020, SAYS COMMISSION REPORT

According to an annual Commission report on the EU’s Trade Defence activity, the EU’s defence measures against unfair trade practices remained effective in 2020, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of 2020, the EU had in total 150 defence measures in place; 128 anti-dumping, 19 anti-subsidy and 3 safeguard measures. The highest number of measures concerned imports from China, followed by Russia, India, and the US. In 2020, the Commission also strengthened its action against foreign subsidies by imposing, for the first time, countervailing duties on financial support given by China to Chinese-owned companies.

 

SIMPLER EU ENERGY LABELS FOR LIGHTING PRODUCTS ENTER INTO APPLICATION

On 1 September, a new version of the EU energy label for lighting products became applicable in all shops and online retail outlets. As more and more lighting products have label ratings of A+ or A++, the Commission decided to rescale the labels according to a simpler A-G scale. The new scale should make it easier for consumers to determine the energy efficient of lighting products and leave room for more efficient products to enter the market. The Commission believes this move will help reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to its objective of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 5-7 September: Informal meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers.
  • 6 September: Informal video conference of economy and finance ministers. On the agenda: Implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
  • 10 September: Eurogroup.
  • 10-11 September: Informal video conference of economy and finance ministers. On the agenda: Regulation of the financial sector, fiscal policy, the future of taxation.

 

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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