EU 2024: Half-way there, the sprint begins   

EU 2024: Half-way there, the sprint begins   

Opinion, Views
There are three months left before this year’s EU elections on 6 to 9 June. By the end of March, a complete list of Spitzenkandidaten for the top European Commission job should be finalised. Since January, the pace of weekly political and legislative developments in Brussels has not slowed down. Previously contested laws such as the Nature Restoration law have been finalised, while others including the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive have been held hostage. The last two-month sprint begins before the last Plenary session of the current Parliament on 22 to 25 April. No slowing down In the course of February and the beginning of March, almost all European groups, that recognise the Spitzenkandidaten process, have put forward their candidates for the role of the next European Commission president.…
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EU 2024: a busy start to a busy year

EU 2024: a busy start to a busy year

News
The new year 2024 is a year of elections: citizens in the U.S., India, and of course Europe, will go voting. In the EU, the race for the European Parliament has already started, with elections due to take place in June. In January, the new Presidency of the Council took over with a clear goal in mind (to finalise as many legislative files as possible), current President of the European Council Charles Michel announced his candidacy in the European Parliament elections, and several lead candidates for national lists were announced. January was definitely a busy start for the European Union, with the pace expected to only accelerate further. Busy start As usual, with the new year, a new presidency kicked in. The Belgians, who took over after the Spanish, announced…
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EU2024: Time is ticking

EU2024: Time is ticking

News
In less than six months, between 6 and 9 June 2024, Europeans in all 27 EU member states will choose 720 MEPs – the new European Parliament composition for the next legislative mandate (2024-2029). While time is ticking ahead, the months ahead still provide interesting advocacy opportunities that can help you to achieve key policy objectives in the next mandate. Right on the rise November 2023 brought a record high in opinion polls for Identity and Democracy (ID), the most right-wing party in the European Parliament, with projected 87 seats in total. This puts them four seats ahead of the other right-wing group, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and only two seats below the liberal group Renew Europe. If this trend continues, the race for third place in the…
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EESC adopts Opinion on Environmental, Social and Governance ratings

EESC adopts Opinion on Environmental, Social and Governance ratings

Uncategorized
On 25 October, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted a report by Krzysztof Balon on the transparency and integrity of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, on which Better Europe’s senior consultant Yiorgos Vassalos acted as advisor to the rapporteur. In the report, the EESC recommends the adoption of minimum quality requirements for ESG ratings, such as the mandatory inclusion of the assessment of company impact on people and the environment (double materiality). It also proposes reinforcing the provisions against conflicts of interest, improved transparency by moving more information on the methodology of ratings to the public domain, and a lot more. The full EESC opinion was adopted in plenary with 166 votes in favour, 2 against, and 2 abstentions, and several Members of the European Parliament have integrated…
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EESC adopts Opinion on the Retail Investment Strategy proposals

EESC adopts Opinion on the Retail Investment Strategy proposals

Uncategorized
Just one day ahead of the European Parliament's deadline for amendments, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted a report from Kestutis Kupsys on the Commission's Retail Investment Strategy, on which Better Europe's director Joost Mulder acted as advisor to the rapporteur. In the report, the EESC recommends basic products to be extended to provide a benchmark for product manufacturers to do better; to increase training requirements for people selling financial products who often themselves do not fully understand the complex products they are selling, including on sustainability matters; to measure and disclose the actual sustainability impact of investments; to always offer a sustainable product in investment advice situations, with a default for the sustainable option, and much more. The full EESC opinion was adopted in plenary with 209 votes…
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The Spitzenkandidaten process – is there room for civil society?

The Spitzenkandidaten process – is there room for civil society?

News
In a bit more than a year from now, in early November 2024, the mandate of current von der Leyen Commission (2019-2024) will officially come to an end. A new Commission mandate will kick in and will last until 2029. While most senior Commission staffers will keep their positions, the political leadership of the European Union executive, the 27 Commissioners and their personal cabinets, is likely to go through significant changes, based on the results of the 2024 EU elections and shifts in national governments since the last EU elections in 2019. The Spitzenkandidaten process explained Ahead of European elections, European political parties appoint their lead candidates for the role of Commission President, with the expectation that the Presidency will go to the candidate capable of securing sufficient parliamentary support.…
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EU2024 – the Final Countdown begins

EU2024 – the Final Countdown begins

Uncategorized
The current European Parliament (2019-2024) is coming back to work after its last summer recess, in view of a very busy autumn into the Brussels bubble. With the official date of the last plenary session now set for 22-25 April 2024, the final countdown before the 2024 elections, which will bring forward a brand-new European Parliament, has officially begun. Summer developments The two major European political parties, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), show two different trends according to the July polls. The EPP continues to lose another 4 seats compared to earlier polls, bringing it down to 157 seats, and S&D recovers a bit, to 143 seats. The race for third place goes on as the liberal Renew Europe group…
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Riding the right wave – what will the upcoming shift in the European political landscape mean for civil society?

Riding the right wave – what will the upcoming shift in the European political landscape mean for civil society?

News, Opinion
While the European Parliament elections are still almost a year ahead, recent polls and national developments in Europe demonstrate that we may be dealing with a more conservative Parliament during the next EU mandate (2024-2029). Hard-right Hungary and Poland have recently welcomed Italy into their ranks, while Finland and Sweden have formed right-leaning governments after recent elections. The Greek conservatives were re-elected in government last June, and upcoming elections in Spain are expected to oust socialist Pedro Sánchez from office as well. What does this shift to the right mean for advocacy at EU level? Setting the scene While, according to the recent polls, EPP and S&D will remain the two biggest parties in Parliament (with respectively 161 and 142 MEPs), a close race for the third place has already…
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BRUZZ International – At the heart of European lobbying

BRUZZ International – At the heart of European lobbying

In the media, Opinion
Better Europ's Yiorgos Vassalos is discussing the new book by Jean Comte « Au cœur du lobbying européen », on BRUZZ International. Yiorgos explained that "only 20% of lobbyists in Brussels work for NGOs that care about the environment, or human rights, or about development. This creates a structural problem with EU policies -- when they are made, the interests of big corporations are much more taken into acccount than the interests of citizens."
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EU Friday – 5 April

EU Friday – 5 April

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. MEMBER STATES KEEP RETAIL INVESTORS IN THE DARK ON SUSTAINABILITY IMPACTS As Parliament prepares to formalise its positions on their legislation where it could not yet start negotiations with the Council, the Belgian Presidency is keen to use April and May for internal decision-making between Member States. One of the major initiatives discussed is the Commission Retail Investment Strategy, which saw a lukewarm proposal to ban some kickbacks paid for financial advice where actually no such advice is given. In a full day meeting next week, national officials will discuss alternative "value-for-money" experiences in Germany and Denmark, along with two Belgian drafts on disclosure of information to consumers and on how to test whether a product is suitable for a given…
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