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 – 7 June

EU Friday – 7 June

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. MEMBER STATES AGREE ON GREEN CLAIMS RULES AHEAD OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH PARLIAMENT After the Parliament adopted its position in plenary last Mach, it is now up to the Council to take its position on the Green Claims Directive, which will require companies to submit evidence about their environmental marketing claims before so-called “sustainable” products. Member State ambassadors on 5 June approved the last version of the text ahead of a formal endorsement by environment ministers on 17 June. The revised version introduces new requirements for substantiating climate-related claims based on carbon offsetting and requires that traders prioritise emission reduction in their own operations and value chains rather than relying on the purchase of carbon credits. This approach is less ambitious than…
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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 – 17 May

EU Friday – 17 May

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. EUROGROUP MINISTERS ADOPT ROADMAP WITH STEPS TO DECIDE ON FUTURE OF CMU Eurogroup Finance Ministers this week presented their “first step towards delivery” of the future of the Capital Markets Union package, endorsing a one page high-level roadmap with six steps to be taken in the coming year. By focusing on the timing of key steps in the process, the statement tries to cover up the cracks in between Member States, with some calling for faster integration and the introduction of unified European-level supervision for the largest financial markets players, while others are pulling the emergency break. French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni are clearly in the first group, using public statements to warn that…
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EU Friday – 10 May

EU Friday – 10 May

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. SIXTH PCI LIST ENTERS INTO FORCE, ACCELERATING THE HYDROGEN RUSH With the amended TEN-E Regulation in force, time has come for its baby: a new, sixth list of Projects of Common Interests (PCI). These projects enjoy a “streamlined” environmental impact assessment, accelerated permitting, and access to EU subsidies. The new list features many hydrogen projects, confirming the recent European rush towards this gas. While renewable hydrogen will play a crucial role in the energy transition, it is not a silver bullet, and there is a strong argument to avoid excessive use in buildings and focus on use of hydrogen in hard to decarbonise sectors instead. The fossil fuel industry missed this memo and jumped on the hype, which means a lot…
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EU Friday – 3 May

EU Friday – 3 May

EU Friday
Welcome to Better Europe's weekly update on EU Affairs. URSULA 2024 SAYS OPEN TO DEAL WITH CONSERVATIVE ECR GROUP AT FIRST EU DEBATE Six weeks before the elections, EPP lead candidate and current Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was already forced to show her colours on potential cooperation with hard right conservative groups such as the ECR. At a first debate amongst eight “Spitzenkandidaten” in Maastricht on 30 April, she defended her legacy and launched her Ursula 2024 campaign. Pushed about the likeliness of her tying up with the ECR, she indicated being open to a deal with the group, depending “on how the competition of the Parliament is and who is in what group”. The ECR group is composed of Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia, Andrzej Duda’s Law and…
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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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