Brussels, 6 January 2023
CROATIA OFFICIALLY JOINS THE EURO AND SCHENGEN AREAS
On 1 January 2023, Croatia adopted the Euro as national currency and joined fully the Schengen area. With Croatia, the Member States sharing the EU’s common currency became 20 and add up to 347 million citizens. The Euro will now gradually replace the Kuna as the currency of Croatia, with a conversion rate of 7.53450 Kunas for each Euro. To facilitate the progressive withdrawal of the Kuna from circulation, the two currencies will be used alongside for the first two weeks. As for Schengen, this is the eighth enlargement and the first after 11 years.
PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT LAUNCHES PROCEDURE FOR TWO WAIVERS OF IMMUNITY
The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, launched an urgent procedure to waiver the parliamentary immunity of two Members of the European Parliament in connection to the ongoing corruption scandal. Following the December 2022 revelations on corruption at the European Parliament, Belgian judicial authorities have extended their investigation to Marc Tarabella and Andrea Cozzolino, respectively Belgian and Italian members. The request to waiver their immunity will be treated at the next Parliament Plenary and referred to the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) for a decision. Furthermore, Ms Metsola announced that internal transparency and enforcement reforms will be proposed in the coming weeks.
EU WELCOMES ACCESS TO US SUBSIDY SCHEME FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The European Commission issued a statement welcoming the most recent amendments to the US Inflation Reduction Act. The Act, which was adopted in August 2022 and entered into force on 1 January 2023, has caused a rift in trans-Atlantic relations due to its protectionist nature. Concretely, the Act offers subsidies supporting the green transition, including consumer tax credits when purchasing electric vehicles, made in the US. Notably, the EU argued that this provision was anticompetitive and discriminatory against EU manufacturers. In response, the US amended the Act also allowing EU automobile manufacturers to benefit from the scheme.
SWEDEN TAKES OVER THE COUNCIL PRESIDENCY
With the start of the new year Sweden took over the Presidency of the Council. The country, which will hold the Council’s tenure until 30 June, is the third and last member of the current trio Presidency that includes France and the Czech Republic. Sweden is taking over at a watershed moment for Europe as it must continue managing the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, as well as tense transatlantic relations and a vast amount of ongoing legislative processes. The Presidency’s overall priorities are unity, competitiveness, green and energy transition as well as democratic values and the rule of law. As of July 2023, the next trio will take over, starting with Spain, followed by Belgium and Hungary.
EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET IS TURNING 30
This year, the European Union celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Single Market. This was one of the major achievements of the European integration, as well as one of its key drivers. Active as of January 1993, the Single Market allows goods, services, people and capital to move freely across borders of European Member States. As a result, integration between Member States’ economies brought growth and competitiveness, supporting Europe’s economic and political power at a global level.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • email@example.com • www.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU