EU MOVES TOWARDS A DEFENCE UNION WITH NEW ACTION PLAN ON MILITARY MOBILITY
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented an Action Plan to improve military mobility within and beyond the European Union. Unveiling plans on Wednesday, the Vice-President of the Commission argued that facilitating the movement of military troops is essential for the security of European citizens. The Plan identifies a number of operational measures needed to tackle physical, procedural or regulatory barriers that hamper mobility. The strategy is in line with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s commitment to creating a Defence Union by 2025.
UNJUSTIFIED GEOBLOCKING RULES ENTER INTO FORCE
The new EU rules against unjustified geoblocking entered into force, commencing a nine-month implementation period for traders to adapt and introduce necessary changes. From 3 December 2018, customers will be able to find the best deals online for goods and services across the EU without being discriminated based on nationality or residence. The rules will allow providers to supply cross-border portability of online content to their subscribers without having to acquire licenses for other territories where the subscribers stay temporarily. Ending unjustified geoblocking is likely to boost e-commerce in Europe and provide opportunities for companies to benefit from the growing European online marketplace.
PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL AGREE ON HEAVY-DUTY VEHICLES REPORTING REGULATION
The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Regulation for monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data from new heavy-duty vehicles. The monitoring and reporting obligations will concern both Member States and vehicles manufacturers, and are part of a broader strategy that aims to lay out actions for a fundamental modernisation of European mobility and transport. The Commission will make most of the the data publically available and set up a system of fines in case of non-compliance. The provisional agreement will now be formally approved by the European Parliament and Council before publication in the Official Journal.
EU DISCUSSES RULE OF LAW CONCERNS AND FUTURE RELATIONS WITH TURKEY
EU leaders met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week to convey concerns over the rule of law in Turkey and improve relations between the EU and Ankara. Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov was joined by Commission President Juncker and European Council President Tusk for the talks in Varna, where issues discussed included cooperation in energy and security, the fight against terrorism and the EU’s assistance for refugees in Turkey. Despite the high-level talks, Mr Tusk confirmed that no solutions or compromises had been found between Turkey and the EU. The two agreed to meet again in June this year.
COMMISSION LAUNCHES SAFEGUARD INVESTIGATION INTO STEEL PRODUCTS
The Commission launched a safeguard investigation into steel products to prevent trade diversion into the EU; one of three measures announced in response to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium. The investigation covers 26 steel product categories and in principle will be concluded in nine months. The surveillance system that is already in place since March 2016 provides evidence that imports of some steel products are increasing, which may be impacted by the recent US restrictions. If proven necessary, the investigation can result in imposition of import tariffs and quotas to shield EU producers from excessive imports.
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab