Brussels, 8 October 2021
PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DISCUSS RISING ENERGY PRICES
Both the Environment Council and Parliament discussed the recent rise in energy prices across the EU. Environment Ministers recognized the importance of the crisis and touched on the EU’s need to address energy poverty and build more strategic autonomy in the energy sector. In the Parliament, members stressed the impact of the crisis on citizens and businesses and underlined the importance of a fair energy transition. The Commission will publish a policy toolbox to help Member States address the rising prices in the short and medium term on 13 October, as a response to the crisis.
EU CALLS FOR MORE AMBITION IN CLIMATE ACTIONS AND CLIMATE FINANCE AHEAD OF COP26
Ahead of the November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the Council agreed this week on the EU’s position for the discussions. Member States decided to emphasize the extreme urgency of stepping up the global response to the climate emergency and will call upon all parties to come forward with ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and invited other developed countries to increase their contributions to climate finance, as part of the collective developed countries’ goal to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion per year until 2025. The conclusions also show the EU’s preference for a common time frame of five years for the emission reduction commitments included in each country’s NDCs.
COUNCIL ADOPTS ITS POSITION ON THE AARHUS REGULATION AT FIRST READING
The Council adopted its position at first reading on an amendment to the Aarhus Regulation on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The Regulation sets out how the EU and its member states implement the international Aarhus Convention, which allows individuals and non-governmental organizations to launch proceedings before the European Courts against the decisions of EU institutions. The adoption of the Council’s position follows a provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament and is the final step of the adoption procedure. The text will now be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication.
HUNGARY AND POLAND FACE FURTHER SCRUTINY AS MEPS RAISE PRESSURE ON FUNDING
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Commissioner Gentiloni faced off this week during a Plenary debate on the approval process of the national recovery and resilience plans (RRPs). During the debate MEPs called for more transparency in the approval process, and heavily referenced the current impasse over the Hungarian and Polish RRPs. Many MEPs said that the Commission should not approve the plans until the respective governments properly address concerns about the rule of law and attacks on the judiciary, public procurement, corruption, unequal treatment of minorities and primacy of EU law – the latter at the centre of today’s news following a controversial ruling on the matter from Poland’s top Court.
COMMISSION PRESENTS STRATEGY ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM AND FOSTERING JEWISH LIFE
The European Commission presented its first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. The Strategy sets out a series of measures articulated around three pillars: to prevent all forms of antisemitism; to protect and foster Jewish life; and to promote research, education, and Holocaust remembrance. It proposes measures to step up cooperation with online companies to curb antisemitism online, better protect public spaces and places of worship, set up a European research hub on contemporary antisemitism and create a network of sites where the Holocaust happened. The Strategy will be implemented over the period 2021-2030.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab