Brussels, 9 October 2020
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT WANTS TO TAKE CLIMATE OBJECTIVES ONE STEP FURTHER
The European Parliament adopted on Wednesday its negotiating mandate on the EU climate law, which was proposed by the Commission in March. In the adopted text, the Parliament raised the stakes on climate objectives, suggesting an emission reductions target for 2030 of at least 60%, calling for member states to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and promoting the establishment of an EU Climate Change Council (ECCC) as an independent scientific body to monitor progress, and assess whether Member States’ policies are consistent with the objectives. Interinstitutional negotiations will start once the Council has agreed upon a common position.
EUROGROUP WORK TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY AND GROWTH IN THE UPCOMING MONTHS
Early this week the Eurogroup adopted its work programme until June 2021. Over the coming nine months, meetings will focus on three priorities: i) laying the ground for economic recovery and long-term growth; ii) strengthening the Banking Union and the Capital Market Union; and iii) enhancing the international role of the euro and exploring its use as a digital currency, in line with a recent European Central Bank report on the matter. During the videoconference, Finance Ministers also exchanged views on the challenges and actions needed to build economic resilience, agreeing on the maintenance of accommodating budgetary policies for the foreseeable future.
COMMISSION OPENS CONSULTATION ON CRACKING DOWN ON FOREIGN SUBSIDIES
This week the Commission opened a public consultation on new tools to counter negative effects of foreign subsidies on the Single Market. The consultation puts forward three different policy options: i) a non-regulatory approach, based on which the Commission would develop guidance based on existing EU rules; ii) a legislative approach, which would involve the development of new legal instruments at the EU level; and iii) an international approach, whereby more comprehensive provisions on subsidies would be developed at a bilateral or multilateral level. The consultation runs until 29 October and the Commission plans to adopt its regulation in Q2 2021.
McGUINNESS AND DOMBROVSKIS GET PARLIAMENT’S ENDORSEMENT
In one of the final steps of a Commission reshuffle prompted by Phil Hogan’s resignation last August, this week the Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed the appointment of Mairead McGuinness and Valdis Dombrovskis as Commissioners for Financial Services and Trade, respectively. Once she takes office, McGuinness will govern EU financial services priorities through one of the most challenging times for EU economies, while one of Dombrovskis’ priorities will be to end the trade war with the United States. Managing the fallout from Brexit will undoubtedly be central to their respective portfolios, too. The Council is set to officially endorse both appointments next week.
COMMISSION UNVEILS 30-BILLION INVESTMENT PLAN FOR THE WESTERN BALKANS
The European Commission adopted this week its Communication on EU enlargement policy and the 2020 Enlargement Package. This annual report assesses the implementation of fundamental reforms in countries involved in EU accession talks, as well as candidate countries. Alongside the Communication, the Commission also released its Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. The Plan allocates EUR 9 billion for investments in critical areas and mobilises EUR 20 billion in investment through a dedicated guarantee facility. The Council will now consider the recommendations of the Commission and decide on the way forward.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
• 12 October: Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda: Current affairs, Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Russia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
• 13 October: General Affairs Council. On the agenda: EU-UK negotiations, annual rule of law dialogue, MFF and recovery package, COVID-19-related measures.
• 13 October: Video conference of ministers of employment and social policy. On the agenda: Worker participation and support for workers in restructuring, equal participation of women and men in the labour market.
• 14 October: Tripartite Social Summit video conference. On the agenda: Implementing together an inclusive economic and social recovery in Europe.
• 15 October: Informal meeting of telecommunications ministers.
• 15-16 October: European Council. On the agenda: COVID-19, EU-UK relations, climate change, EU-Africa relations.
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
Kreab • Tel: +32 2 737 6900 • email@example.com • www.kreab.com/brussels • Twitter: @KreabEU.