EU Friday – 19 July

EU Friday – 19 July

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. PARLIAMENT CHOOSES LEADERS FOR FIRST HALF OF THE MANDATE This week’s first plenary of 10th European Parliament revolved around organisational matters, ensuring that the European House of Democracy runs smoothly. Roberta Metsola (EPP, Malta) was re-appointed as President, for a second stint of 2,5 years. She will surround herself with three Vice-Presidents from her own party, five from Socialists and Democrats (S&D), two from Renew and two from European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and one each from the Greens and the Left. Neither of the newly formed far-right parties, Patriots for Europe (PfE) nor Europe of Sovereign Nations (ESN), were able to grab the senior positions. However, the “cordon sanitaire” clearly no longer applies to ECR, with 2 Vice-Presidents. New MEPs…
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Let the Games begin: one month to European Elections

Let the Games begin: one month to European Elections

Opinion, Views
  In less than a month, on 6 to 9 June, Europeans will go to polling stations to vote on the composition of the next European Parliament, which will hold office for the upcoming five years (2024-2029). Given the current political shift towards the right in most EU Member States, the upcoming elections are likely to be a turning point in European politics. After the last plenary session of the current Parliament a couple of weeks ago, MEPs have left for their home countries either not to come back or to do their best to be re-elected. Goodbyes, tears, and current polls MEPs met for the last time in Strasbourg in April with a busy agenda of 90 votes. They approved trilogue agreements, such as the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, the…
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EU Friday – 12 July

EU Friday – 12 July

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. PARLIAMENT POLITICAL GROUPS PRESENT THEIR WISH LISTS FOR VDL 2.0 Major Parliament groups including the centre-right EPP, the liberal Renew, the left S&D, and even the Greens are discussing their priorities in exchange for supporting the Commission President-designate Ursula von der Leyen, who needs a support of at least 361 MEPs to be re-elected. Despite extreme heat in the south and unusual heavy rain in western Europe, the fight against climate change is no longer as high a priority for the Parliamentary groups as it was in 2019. While S&D, Renew, and the Greens do not want to backtrack on the Green Deal, they all have changed their view on what its continuation should look like. The S&D wants to keep…
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EU Friday – 28 June

EU Friday – 28 June

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. HUNGARY PREPARES FOR PRESIDENCY AMID CONCERNS OVER NATIONALIST AGENDA As we are moving towards the end of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will wrap up on 30 June, Hungary is getting ready to take over. Although the rotating presidency of the Council is meant to position the presiding Member State as an honest broker, there are doubts in Brussels on whether Hungary will be able to ignore its national interests and not push for its populist and nationalist agenda. While Hungarian representatives have repeated that they would not deviate from customary practices, certain signs point at a different story – particularly last week’s reveal of the Presidency’s official slogan: “Make Europe Great Again”, which makes…
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EU Friday – 14 June

EU Friday – 14 June

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT URSULA 2.0 After not so shocking election results, the race for the top EU positions now really begins. Officially, Heads of State will meet for a Summit in Brussels at the end of this month to talk about who will be the next Commission President, Council President, Parliament President, and the High Representative for External Affairs. Unofficially, the same Heads of State will meet already next Monday to discuss these key roles over dinner, with some already holding preliminary talks at the current G7 Summit. While President Ursula von der Leyen’s party (EPP) won this year’s elections and she remains a frontrunner, her fate as a second-term Commission President is not set in stone. Concessions will…
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EU Friday – 31 May

EU Friday – 31 May

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs.   NEXT COMMISSION MANDATE COMES WITH A BIG IMPLEMENTATION QUESTION MARK Ahead of the next mandate, Euractiv invited five experts to talk about lessons to learn from the current action plans for the upcoming 5 years. Despite coming from different backgrounds (industry, Commission, Member State, and CSO), all experts spoke in unison when talking about the biggest lesson to learn, namely the need for a Just Transition with an emphasis on the social aspect. There is no discussion about the need to continue the Green Deal, with participants highlighting the need to preserve legal coherence and legal certainty for the investments that are needed. However, the Green Deal is not likely to continue in its current form, but will instead move…
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EU Friday – 24 May

EU Friday – 24 May

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. EU MINISTERS ENDORSE END OF THE ARTICLE 7 PROCEDURE AGAINST POLAND At the General Affairs Council this week, EU Ministers gave their nod of approval to end the Article 7 procedure against Poland. In 2017, the European Commission presented a reasoned proposal on a clear risk of serious breaches of the rule of law by Poland to the Council, thereby activating the relevant procedure under the EU Treaties. Despite its big, and dangerous sounding name, this Article 7(1) process is in fact a toothless tiger. It was used for the first time for Poland and Hungary, and only calls for a determination of a clear risk of a breach of the rule of law, one of the European values enshrined elsewhere…
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EU Friday – 26 April

EU Friday – 26 April

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. THE LAST EP PLENARY SESSION: FINAL VOTES, GOODBYES, AND FLYING DOVES MEPs gathered for a final time in Strasbourg before the European elections in June, with a record-breaking agenda of 90 final votes. All files where an agreement with Member States was reached in trilogues were approved as planned. MEPs approved the deal on the CSDDD, ending the seemingly never-ending saga of unexpected twists and turns and additional political trilogues. They also endorsed the packaging rules in the PPWR, the AI Act, and rules on ESG Ratings. On initiatives where negotiations with the Council have not started or have not advanced enough, the Parliament closed its position at first reading, including on genomic techniques and plant reproductive material rules. Some initiatives,…
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EU Friday – 19 April

EU Friday – 19 April

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. FORGET ABOUT CMU, HERE IS THE SIU, SAYS ENRICO LETTA A decade after the birth of the Capital Market Union as the ugly twin sister of the Banking Union, it's time to move on and transform the "incomplete” project into a Savings and Investments Union, according to former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta in a report discussed by European leaders this week. The report mentions that private savings total a "staggering" 33 trillion euros and that these are mostly held in currency and deposits. Even worse, 300 billion a year is "diverted" into non-EU investments, mostly American, because the EU can't get its act together and remove fragmentation in markets. For finance and the two other priority sectors (energy and telecoms),…
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EU Friday – 12 April

EU Friday – 12 April

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GAS AND HYDROGEN RULES After months of intensive work and almost never-ending trilogues, MEPs this week approved the EU’s new gas and hydrogen legislation with a wide cross-party majority. Beyond replacing our reliance on gas with a potential reliance on hydrogen, it brings a few positive additions including the requirement to draft decommissioning plans. Gas Distribution System Operators (DSOs) together with other stakeholders will need to draft plans on how to decommission unused infrastructure in case of future reduction in gas demand. The prioritisation of hydrogen in hard to decarbonise sectors is another positive aspect of the rules, as well as the establishment of the European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH), separately from gas operators, to…
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