Insights | EU Insight, 23 February, 2018

EU Insight, 23 February, 2018

EU-27 MEET TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF THE EU POST-BREXIT

Leaders of the EU-27 Member States is still meeting informally in Brussels today to discuss the future of the EU post-Brexit. Topics raised include the question of the next European elections in 2019 and the next multiannual financial framework after 2020. The Commission has called on Member States to support the lead candidate process, also known as Spitzenkandidaten, when appointing the new President of the European Commission. This was further supported by the Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who stressed the importance of the process in reinforcing democracy in Europe. The Council is also believed to support the reduction in the number of seats in the Parliament. 

DEBATE ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN INDUSTRY 

400 participants, including Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, took part in two European Industry Days, discussing topics including the need for digitalisation in industry, and more clean and circular technologies. Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič urged the EU to promote a rule-based multilateral system to fight protectionism and forcefully pursue the EU’s sustainability agenda. The event also saw the Commission launch an Action Plan on batteries with 20 priorities under the EU Battery Alliance, which brings together EU industry in the hope to establish a strong manufacturing base for battery production in the EU. 

PARLIAMENT VOTES ON ENERGY MARKET REFORMS

The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy approved its draft reports on the Electricity Market Directive and Electricity Market Regulation. Under the new proposals, MEPs have imposed strict rules on capacity mechanisms used to subsidise coal power, and increased support for small-scale renewable energy producers. The Parliament will now try to persuade the Council to support its ambitious plans during trilogue negotiations which are expected to start at the end of March.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND UEFA STRENGTHEN COOPERATION

The Commission and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) signed a new agreement covering the period up to the end of 2020 to consolidate and strengthen their cooperation. The agreement commits both parties to continue working together on common priorities such as the integrity of sport, good governance, respect for human rights, non-discrimination, solidarity, and gender equality. The agreement also highlights the importance of cooperation on UEFA EURO 2020, and on the importance of making EURO 2020 a socially responsible and sustainable event leaving a positive legacy, while at the same time addressing challenges such as safety and security. 

RESHUFFLE IN THE COMMISSION INCLUDE NEW SECRETARY-GENERAL

Following the decision of Secretary-General Alexander Italianer to retire, the Commission appointed Martin Selmayr, current Head of President Juncker’s Cabinet, as its new Secretary-General. Subsequently, President Juncker decided to appoint his current Deputy Head of Cabinet, Clara Martinez Alberola, as his new Head of Cabinet; she will be the first-ever female in that role. The reshuffle also resulted in several new directors-general; Mauro Petriccione for Climate Action; Jean-Eric Paquet for Research and innovation; Themis Christophidou for Education, youth, sport and culture; Joost Korte for Employment, social affairs and inclusion; and Mariana Kotzeva for Eurostat. 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

·        26 February: EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council. On the agenda: Review of the provisional application of the enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU.

·        26 February: Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda: Republic of Moldova, Venezuela, Middle East peace process.

·        27 February: General Affairs Council. On the agenda: Rule of law in Poland, work programme of the Bulgarian Presidency, preparations for European Council on 22-23 March.

·        27 February: General Affairs Council (Article 50). On the agenda: Transition period.

·        28 February – 1 March: European Parliament Mini Plenary. On the agenda: Setting up committee for tax evasion, spirit drinks, challenges for EU agricultural sector, Banking Union annual report 2017.

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

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