Brussels, 4 June 2021
EU TO BORROW € 80 BN IN FIRST FUNDING PLAN OF RECOVERY PLAN
After last week’s completion of the ratification of the Own Resources Decision by all Member States, the implementation of NextGenerationEU is gaining speed. This week the Commission published the first funding plan for the period between June and December 2021, during which it estimates to issue around €80 billion of long-term bonds, as well as tens of billions of short-term EU-Bills. The exact amount of both instruments will depend on the precise funding needs which will be revised after the Commission’s assessment of Member States’ National Recovery and Resilience Plans, of which 23 have been submitted. Only Bulgaria, Estonia, Malta, and the Netherlands have yet to do so.
SCHENGEN AREA TO BECOME STRONGER AND MORE RESILIENT
The European Commission presented its new strategy to make the Schengen area – the largest free travel area in the world – stronger and more resilient. The strategy aims to ensure effective management of the EU’s external borders, reinforce Schengen internally and improve preparedness and governance. To foster common trust in the implementation of the Schengen rules and make sure any deficiencies are identified and remedied quickly, the Commission also presented its proposal on the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism. Changes include accelerating the evaluation process as well as a fast-track procedure in case of significant deficiencies that could put Schengen as a whole at risk.
MEMBER STATES ASKED TO UPDATE COORDINATED TRAVEL MEASURES AHEAD OF SUMMER
The European Commission proposed an update to the Council Recommendation on the coordination of free movement restrictions in the EU that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Commission is proposing that Member States gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. It also proposed to update the common criteria for risk areas and to introduce an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism, to address the prevalence of new variants of concern or interest. The proposal also includes specific provisions on children to ensure unity of travelling families and a standard validity period for tests.
COMMISSION PROPOSES FRAMEWORK FOR EU DIGITAL IDENTITY WALLETS
The European Commission presented a Regulation establishing a framework for a European Digital Identity. The Regulation amends and extends the 2014 eIDAS Regulation, which cannot address new market demands for online identification and authentication means, the Commission found in its review report. The proposal aims to create EU digital identity wallets to give EU citizens and businesses control over their personal data when accessing public and private online services across the EU. The wallets will be able to link citizens’ national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes (e.g. driving licence, diplomas, bank account). The proposal will now be subject to amendments by the European Parliament and Council.
MEMBER STATES ADOPT CONCLUSIONS ON SUSTAINABLE AND SMART MOBILITY STRATEGY
The Council adopted conclusions on the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy from December 2020. In its conclusions, the Council welcomes the Commission’s strategy, subscribes to its ambitious vision for the transport sector and sets out its understanding regarding the sector’s contribution to sustainability over the coming years and decades. On behalf of the Council Presidency, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, stated that the conclusions send a “a clear political message regarding our commitment to a more sustainable, inclusive, intelligent, safe and resilient transport system”, which is intended to help to meet the EU’s climate objectives under the Paris Agreement.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab