At a Glance – Plenary round-up – July 2021 – 09-07-2021

During the July 2021 plenary session in Strasbourg, Parliament continued to debate and adopt Multiannual Financial Framework programmes for 2021-2027, this time finalising programmes in the justice and home affairs, fisheries and infrastructure areas. Debates on a number of Council and Commission statements were held, including on the programme of activities of the Slovenian Council Presidency, on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021, on the Commission’s 2022 work programme, on the state of play of implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate Regulation, on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in aviation, and on the 70th anniversary of the Geneva (refugee) Convention. A number of other debates were held, inter alia on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary and Poland, on amendments to the Visa Information System, and on European Investment Bank activities in 2019. Members also debated international policy issues – the situation in Nicaragua, the repression of the opposition in Turkey, and the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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Highlights – Meetings with Slovenian Presidency representatives in committees

Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU official logo
Parliament’s committees will meet representatives of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to discuss its priorities in relation to the committees’ respective areas of responsibility. These meetings will start taking place in the week of 12 July 2021. The Slovenian Presidency started in the beginning of July and will run until the end of December 2021.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Study – The European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Horizontal substitute impact assessment – 12-08-2021

This ‘Horizontal Substitute Impact Assessment of the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). The impact assessment focuses on the main proposed changes implied by the European Commission’s New Pact, with a particular focus on the following four proposals: 1) Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (RAMM); 2) Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation; 3) Amended Asylum Procedure Regulation (APR); and 4) Screening Regulation. The horizontal substitute impact assessment critically assesses the ‘system’ and underlying logic of the proposed New Pact with the aim to analyse how the four Commission proposals would work and interact in practice. The impact assessment also assesses whether and to what extent the proposed New Pact addresses the identified shortcomings and implementational problems of the current EU asylum and migration law and policy. Moreover, the impact assessment identifies and assesses the expected impacts on fundamental rights, as well as economic, social and territorial impacts of the proposed New Pact.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – European Defence Fund: Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 – 02-07-2021

In June 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a European Defence Fund, including a budget allocation of €11.5 billion in constant 2018 prices for the 2021-2027 period. The proposal aimed to streamline and simplify the set-up in place at the time by integrating the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (research window) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (as one part of the capability window) into a single Fund. The main aims of the Fund would be to foster the competitiveness and innovativeness of European defence and to contribute to the EU’s strategic autonomy. In this regard, the Fund would inter alia support collaborative industrial projects; co finance the costs of prototype development; encourage the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises; and promote projects in the framework of permanent structured cooperation. Synergies were expected with other EU initiatives in the field of cybersecurity, maritime transport, border management, Horizon Europe, the space programme and the European Peace Facility. In April 2019, after several trilogue meetings, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on the Fund, covering the content, but not, among other things, budgetary issues. Parliament adopted its position at first reading in April 2019. A provisional political agreement on the outstanding issues was reached in December 2020. The Council adopted its first-reading position in March 2021 and the Parliament adopted the text at second reading on 29 April. The final act was published in the Official Journal on 12 May.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027: Financing key EU infrastructure networks – 01-07-2021

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission proposed to renew the programme under the long term EU budget for the 2021-2027 period. In the 2014-2019 term, the Council and the European Parliament provisionally agreed on the content, leaving aside the budget and the questions relating to third countries. Negotiations resumed in the present term, reflecting the Commission’s revised MFF proposal of May 2020 and the European Council conclusions of July 2020. Final details were agreed on 11 March 2021. The agreement has already been confirmed by the responsible parliamentary committees TRAN and ITRE, and the Council subsequently adopted its first-reading position on 14 June 2021. The Parliament is expected to vote at second reading during the July plenary session. Once adopted, the new CEF regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – EU rural development policy: Impact, challenges and outlook – 08-07-2021

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission adopted a communication on its long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas. The communication identifies areas of action with a view to creating new momentum for the EU’s rural areas, while recognising their diversity. In recent decades, in many Member States rural areas have experienced depopulation. Such regions face a range of environmental and socio-economic challenges. These include, for example, lower income per capita, a higher percentage of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion, a lack of access to basic infrastructure and services, and lower levels of access to fast broadband internet. The EU’s rural development policy has sought to help address these challenges. Evaluation evidence is emerging on the impact of the common agricultural policy (CAP) on the territorial development of the EU’s rural areas. Measures relating to village renewal and LEADER (Liaison entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie rurale) measures are considered to be well-targeted and relevant to local needs, although they represent a small proportion of CAP financing. Administrative burdens have been raised as an issue that can impact on the developmental process. Recommendations from this evaluation evidence point to the need for better integration of funding streams, the need to maintain a dialogue across the European structural funds, and all the implications this may have for the new CAP strategic plans. The Commission’s recommendations to Member States on their CAP strategic plans highlight a number of recurring themes relating to the employment, education and training needs of rural areas, including the need to address rural depopulation, promote generational renewal, improve connectivity, and address the role played by action taken at local level. The Commission’s communication on a long-term vision for rural areas includes provision for a ‘rural pact’ to engage actors at EU, national, rural and local levels and an EU rural action plan, setting out a range of initiatives and actionable projects. The vision and its supporting analyses will provide a framework for addressing the future of the EU’s rural areas.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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