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EU Friday – 23 February 2024

EU Friday – 23 February 2024

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. FINANCE MINISTERS PRESENT THEIR ABC FOR CAPITAL MARKETS IN EUROPE In the coming days, Finance Ministers will be putting their ideas on the table for a refresh of the Commission's Capital Markets Union project. Meeting in Ghent for informal Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, it will be hard for ministers to avoid the draft shopping lists that will be finalised later this semester by Enrico Letta to reboot the internal market, and by Mario Draghi on competitiveness. On top of that, bankers are in town for their regular Eurofi school trip, using bilateral meetings with politicians to indirectly influence the EU's financial regulatory agenda for the next mandate. Ministers are expected to promote an "ABC" for capital markets: revise the financial supervision…
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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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Brace yourself – elections are coming: Advocacy opportunities in 2023

Brace yourself – elections are coming: Advocacy opportunities in 2023

News, Opinion
While the European Parliament elections might still seem far away, recent developments reveal that the election season has already begun. Since the Qatargate scandal rocked the Parliament, political parties are publicly accusing one another in an effort to polish their image – a clear indication that the gates of the electoral arena have been opened. With the start of the election season, the time is right to look at the anticipated changes and plan your next advocacy steps. What is going to change? According to the latest polls of December 2022, five out of seven political groups are expected to lose seats in the next legislative period. Only the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are foreseen to substantially win seats, although not as many as their national equivalents in some…
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