Briefing – Rail passengers’ rights and obligations in the EU – 12-07-2021

In 2007, the EU established a set of basic rights for rail passengers, which became applicable at the end of 2009. These rights provide for all passengers, including those with reduced mobility, a harmonised minimum level of protection, information and assistance. Reports have concluded that the implementation of these rights, although relatively smooth, is not done uniformly across the EU. Moreover, other shortcomings have prevented these rights from being used to their full potential. In September 2017, the European Commission presented a new proposal to address these issues and to strike a new balance between keeping rail operators competitive and providing adequate passenger protection. The European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on this proposal on 15 November 2018. For its part, the Council adopted its general approach on 2 December 2019, under the Finnish Presidency. Interinstitutional negotiations began at the end of January 2020, and on 1 October 2020, under the Germany Presidency, Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the text. On 29 April 2021, the European Parliament voted in favour of the agreed text as adopted by the Council. The new rules were published in the Official Journal of the EU on 17 May 2021. They will apply in principle to all international and domestic rail journeys and services in the EU from 7 June 2023. However, Member States may exempt domestic rail services for a limited time. Seventh edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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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 – Single European Sky 2+ package: Amended Commission proposal – 12-07-2021

The Single European Sky (SES) initiative aims to make EU airspace less fragmented and to improve air traffic management in terms of safety, capacity, cost-efficiency and the environment. Its current regulatory framework is based on two legislative packages: SES I (adopted in 2004), which set the principal legal framework, and SES II (adopted in 2009), which aimed to tackle substantial air traffic growth, increase safety, and reduce costs and delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment. Nonetheless, European airspace remains fragmented, costly and inefficient. The European Commission presented a revision of the SES in 2013 (the SES 2+ package). While the Parliament adopted its first-reading position in March 2014, in December 2014 the Council agreed only a partial general approach, owing to disagreement between the UK and Spain over the application of the text to Gibraltar airport. With Brexit having removed this blockage, the Commission has amended its initial proposal. The Council and the Parliament have both adopted their positions on the revised proposal, and can thus start trilogue negotiations. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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 – Replacement benchmarks for financial benchmarks in cessation – 01-07-2021

The pricing of many financial instruments and contracts depends on the accuracy and integrity of (financial) benchmarks, i.e. indices, by reference to which the amounts payable under such financial instruments or contracts, or the value of certain financial instruments, are determined. The anticipated discontinuation of such a benchmark (LIBOR) after the end of 2021 has created fears that it could lead to disruption in the internal market, given that the Benchmarks Regulation ((EU) 2016/1011) does not provide for mechanisms to organise the orderly discontinuation of systemically important benchmarks in the EU. That is why the Commission has proposed to amend the said regulation. The co-legislators significantly amended the Commission’s proposal. Their amendments deal, among other things, with the replacement of a benchmark by EU, or by national law, set additional obligations for supervised entities using a benchmark, regulate the Commission’s powers to adopt delegated acts and establish additional obligations for the Commission with regards to its proposed consultation. The European Parliament adopted the compromise agreement in plenary on 19 January 2021. On 2 February 2021, the Council adopted the act. The final act was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 12 February 2021. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Horizon Europe: Framework programme for research and innovation 2021–2027 – 02-07-2021

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. Horizon Europe also aims at reducing administrative burdens and promoting the concept of open science. More operational synergies are expected through better linkage with other EU programmes. In March 2019, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on most aspects of Horizon Europe. However, the financial aspects were only settled in December 2020 as part of the broader MFF negotiations, together with the sensitive issue of third-country association. The final text was adopted in April 2021 and entered into force retroactively from 1 January 2021. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Cemal Karakas. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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