Insights | EU Insight 6 July, 2018

14/08/2018

EU Insight 6 July, 2018

PARLIAMENT REJECTS COPYRIGHT RULES REFORM

The European Parliament voted to reject a committee proposal for a mandate to negotiate a reform of copyright rules that aimed to enhance online enforcement. The rejected bill would have required companies like Facebook or Google to monitor their platforms for copyright infringements. The plenary vote on this heavily lobbied file marks a defeat for license holders, ranging from publishers to media companies and record labels, who hoped to get more power for negotiations with online platforms to increase revenues from online content. As a result, the Parliament’s position will now be revised following a committee debate, amendments, and a vote in September. 

POLAND UNDER FIRE FOR SUPREME COURT REFORM

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended his government’s controversial judicial reforms in a speech at the European Parliament. In Poland, a law that lowers the age limit for judges on the Supreme Court to 65 recently came into force. As a result, 27 out of 73 judges were forced to retire, but several of them have refused to do so. The opposition considers the law to be an attempt of the government to fill the posts with supporters. The Supreme Court overhaul is under fire from the European Commission, which has launched infringement proceedings against Poland. The government has now one month to respond. 

COMMISSION WITHDRAWS 15 PENDING LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS

Following its announcement in the 2018 Commission Work Programme, the Commission formally withdrew 15 pending legislative proposals, after consulting the Parliament and the Council. In line with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making and the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission, the reason for each withdrawal was set out in Annex IV of the Commission Work Programme 2018. The co-legislators will now be able to focus their attention on the priority files that have a realistic chance of progress or completion, given next year’s elections. 

COMMISSION PROVIDES EMERGENCY FUNDING TO FACE MIGRATION CRISIS

In view of the current migration crisis, the European Commission granted €45.6 million in emergency funding to Spain and Greece to improve reception capacity and conditions, as well as to help increase returns. Since 2014, the Commission has mobilized over €1 billion in emergency assistance to help manage migration, mostly awarded to Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Sweden and now also Spain. For the next EU budget, the Commission is proposing to double funding across the board, with €10.4 billion for migration, €9.3 billion for border management and €2.5 billion for internal security – reaching a total of over €23 billion for 2021-2027. 

ITALIAN DEPUTY PM SALVINI CALLS FOR A EUROPEAN POPULIST ALLIANCE

With just over ten months to go before the next European elections, political allegiances across the board are still in the air, though begin to crystallize in some cases. Notably, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Northern League, aims to create an “international alliance of populists” that, he hopes, could win a majority. The Europe of Nations and Freedom Group – to which the League belongs – currently holds 35 seats in the European Parliament, yet this figure will likely increase given an expectedly strong performance by the parties of Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, among others. 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 11-12 July: NATO Summit, Brussels
  • 12 July: Eurogroup
  • 12-13 July: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers
  • 13 July: Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). On the agenda: VAT reverse charge mechanism, follow-up to EUCO, Austrian presidency work programme

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