COMMISSION UNVEILS PRIORITIES FOR 2019
The European Commission released its work programme for 2019, which sets out three main priorities for the upcoming year: firstly, reaching swift agreements on the legislative proposals already presented to deliver on its ten political priorities; secondly, adopting a limited number of new initiatives to address outstanding challenges; and thirdly, presenting initiatives with a future perspective for a Union at 27, concerning the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market and the use of qualified majority voting in taxation, among others. To ensure a focus on delivery, the work programme identifies 187 priority pending proposals for adoption by the co-legislators before next year’s European elections.
ITALY AND COMMISSION AT AN IMPASSE ON BUDGET TALKS
The European Commission rejected Italy’s draft budget for brazenly breaking EU rules on public spending. It also provided Italy with a formal request to re-submit a revised draft within three weeks, pending disciplinary action. This unprecedented decision calls on Rome to deliver a whole new plan, aimed at cutting the structural deficit by 0.6% of GDP, rather than increase it by 0.8%, as is now the case. For the time being, the Italian government coalition does not seem to envisage any changes, disregarding the request for a U-turn. After 13 November, the Commission will have three weeks to comment on the revised draft.
COMMISSION LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON CONNECTED AND AUTOMATED MOBILITY
In the context of Connected and Automated Mobility, the European Commission launched a public consultation on cybersecurity, the use of pioneer spectrum for 5G large-scale testing and a data governance framework that enables data sharing. With it, the Commission aims to address remaining challenges linked to the deployment of connected and automated vehicles. The input will feed into a new policy recommendation pertaining to the Third Mobility Package. The recommendation is expected to be adopted by the Commission in the coming months, as announced in the recent communication on Connected and Automated Mobility. The consultation runs until 5 December 2018.
PARLIAMENT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO REVISED DRINKING WATER DIRECTIVE
The European Parliament plenary backed plans to upgrade drinking water standards and improve consumers’ trust in drinking water from the tap. The revised drinking water directive constrains the maximum limits for certain pollutants and introduces new caps for certain endocrine disruptors. It also puts levels of microplastics under monitoring. Rapporteur Michel Dantin (EPP, FR) stated: “The way we use water will define the future of humanity. Everyone should have access to clean and good quality water, and we should do our utmost to make it as affordable as possible for everyone”. Trilogues will begin once the Council has established its own position on the file.
COMMISSION ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BETTER REGULATION
As part of an effort to address the recommendations of the ‘Task Force on subsidiarity, proportionality and doing less, more efficiently’, the European Commission issued a communication on how to strengthen the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity in EU decision-making. Among the recommendations, it is suggested that the European Parliament and Council should improve the transparency of their proceedings to step up the involvement of local and regional authorities during the legislative procedure. Next month, the Austrian Presidency will host a conference, with a view to discussing the Commission’s proposals and provide other institutions with the opportunity to make their own commitments to implement the Task Force’s recommendations.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
• 29-30 October: Informal meeting of transport and environment ministers. On the agenda: 8th EU Environment Action Programme, shift towards a clean and safe mobility
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab