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Plenary round-up - January 2021

22-01-2021

The main debates of the January 2021 plenary session were on the inauguration of the new President of the United States, and the presentation of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency. Members also debated the humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU's external borders, as well as the EU global strategy on Covid 19 vaccinations, and the social and employment crisis caused by the pandemic and the EU's response. Lack of transparency in Council appointments to the European Public Prosecutor's ...

The main debates of the January 2021 plenary session were on the inauguration of the new President of the United States, and the presentation of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency. Members also debated the humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU's external borders, as well as the EU global strategy on Covid 19 vaccinations, and the social and employment crisis caused by the pandemic and the EU's response. Lack of transparency in Council appointments to the European Public Prosecutor's Office and the consequences of earthquakes in Croatia were also discussed. Members discussed the Court of Auditors' annual report, and Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell made statements on the arrest of Aleksei Navalny, on enhancing EU external action in Latin America and the Caribbean, and on the latest developments in the National Assembly of Venezuela.

Brexit: The EU-UK trade deal [What Think Tanks are thinking]

19-01-2021

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a last-minute deal on trade and other issues on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding major disruption from 1 January 2021, the date on which the transition period ended. However, many politicians and experts have noted that the agreement does not cover all areas of potential partnership, as well as leaving some issues ambiguous, so there is much potential for complex further negotiations in the future. In practice, the EU-UK trading relationship has ...

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a last-minute deal on trade and other issues on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding major disruption from 1 January 2021, the date on which the transition period ended. However, many politicians and experts have noted that the agreement does not cover all areas of potential partnership, as well as leaving some issues ambiguous, so there is much potential for complex further negotiations in the future. In practice, the EU-UK trading relationship has been further complicated, at least in the short term, by the effects of the coronavirus crisis and a recent upsurge in infections in the United Kingdom. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on Brexit and related issues. More studies on the topic can be found in a previous item from this series, published in September 2020.

Review of dual-use export controls

15-01-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly defines cyber-surveillance technology as dual-use technology and introduces human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. It also includes provisions to control emerging technologies. The proposed regulation introduces greater transparency into dual-use export control by increasing the level of detail Member States will have to provide on exports, licences, licence denials and prohibitions. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Trilogue negotiations ended on 9 November 2020, with agreement on a final compromise text. Endorsed by the INTA committee on 30 November, the Parliament is expected to vote in plenary on the text in early 2021. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Enforcement Regulation review

13-01-2021

The blockage, since December 2019, of the Appellate Body of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) creates legal gaps for the enforcement of international trade rules. To bridge these gaps, the European Commission proposed to broaden the scope of Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation'). The European Parliament is scheduled to vote at first reading ...

The blockage, since December 2019, of the Appellate Body of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) creates legal gaps for the enforcement of international trade rules. To bridge these gaps, the European Commission proposed to broaden the scope of Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation'). The European Parliament is scheduled to vote at first reading during the January plenary session on the text agreed in trilogue with the Council.

Review of EU Enforcement Regulation for trade disputes

11-01-2021

On 12 December 2019, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation') of 15 May 2014. The Enforcement Regulation enables the EU to suspend or withdraw concessions or other obligations under international trade agreements in order to respond to breaches by third countries of international trade rules that affect the EU's commercial ...

On 12 December 2019, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation') of 15 May 2014. The Enforcement Regulation enables the EU to suspend or withdraw concessions or other obligations under international trade agreements in order to respond to breaches by third countries of international trade rules that affect the EU's commercial interests. The proposed amendments would enable the EU to impose counter-measures in situations where EU trade partners violate international trade rules and block the dispute settlement procedures included in multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, thus preventing the EU from obtaining final binding rulings in its favour. The latter are required under the current EU regulation to enforce international trade rules. The Council adopted its negotiating position on 8 April 2020, and the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament adopted its position on 6 July 2020. Trilogue negotiations concluded on 28 October with a provisional agreement, which INTA endorsed on 10 November. Parliament is now set to vote on adopting the agreed text during the January 2021 part-session. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Excluding Northern Irish imports from EU tariff rate quotas

22-12-2020

The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, provides for a transition period during which the UK will remain in the EU's single market and customs union until 1 January 2021. The Withdrawal Agreement also includes a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, which states that Northern Ireland will be part of the UK's customs territory and internal market after the transition, but that goods originating ...

The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, provides for a transition period during which the UK will remain in the EU's single market and customs union until 1 January 2021. The Withdrawal Agreement also includes a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, which states that Northern Ireland will be part of the UK's customs territory and internal market after the transition, but that goods originating in Northern Ireland have access to the EU without tariffs or quotas, and that EU law relating to competition and trade is applicable to Northern Ireland. While the Protocol creates obligations between the UK and the EU, and specifically allows for the free movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU and vice versa, it does not create obligations vis-à-vis third countries. This could lead to circumvention of the use of EU tariff rate quotas and pose a risk to the proper functioning of the EU single market and the integrity of the common commercial policy. To address these risks and provide legal clarification, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on 14 August 2020 setting out that goods imported to Northern Ireland from non-EU countries would not benefit from the EU tariff rate quotas and other import quotas unless ultimately destined for the EU. With just a single amendment, to bring forward entry into force (but not change the date of application, 1 January 2021), corresponding to the Council's position, the European Parliament voted on the report in plenary on 25 November 2020. The regulation was then adopted by the Council at first reading, and signed by the Presidents of the two branches of the EU legislature on 16 December 2020.

EU trade policy review

22-12-2020

In June 2020, the European Commission launched an EU trade policy review that will lead to a revised strategy to be adopted early in 2021. The aim is to set a new course for trade policy in a changing global context, aligned with EU priorities and supporting recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Parliament has contributed to the process with a resolution on 26 November 2020, and will continue monitoring implementation of the new policy in 2021.

In June 2020, the European Commission launched an EU trade policy review that will lead to a revised strategy to be adopted early in 2021. The aim is to set a new course for trade policy in a changing global context, aligned with EU priorities and supporting recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Parliament has contributed to the process with a resolution on 26 November 2020, and will continue monitoring implementation of the new policy in 2021.

UK trade agreements with third countries: Implications for the EU

22-12-2020

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020 and will regain competence for its own international trade policy as soon as the transition period concludes at the end of 2020. Freedom to determine its own trade relationships was a major reason for the UK's withdrawal from the EU: its new international trade policy is based on the goal of establishing 'global Britain', a country asserting that it is strongly committed to trade openness with international leadership. To this ...

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020 and will regain competence for its own international trade policy as soon as the transition period concludes at the end of 2020. Freedom to determine its own trade relationships was a major reason for the UK's withdrawal from the EU: its new international trade policy is based on the goal of establishing 'global Britain', a country asserting that it is strongly committed to trade openness with international leadership. To this end, the UK has concluded as many continuity agreements as possible, in order to roll over existing EU free trade agreements (FTAs), such as that with South Korea. It has also renegotiated, rather than simply roll over, the provisions of EU FTAs, with partners who so demanded, including Japan. Beyond those countries with EU FTAs to which the UK has been party, it has expanded the range of its FTA negotiations to Australia, New Zealand and the United States (US), three of its major trading partners. When it comes to geographic scope, the UK has set the Pacific as a high priority, its objective being to access the newly established Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In addition, the UK aims to use its advantage in digital trade and services to become a 'world digital trade powerhouse', and has stressed that FTA provisions should promote digital trade and foster regulatory cooperation in the field. The EU represents 50 % of the UK's total trade, and the UK economy is integrated with and reliant on the EU. Therefore, although the UK is facing obstacles in signing trade agreements, its new strategy has a number of implications for the EU. The UK is committed to remaining an open country with respect to international trade and its focus on digital trade and services, which depend less on geography, is seen as a way to diversify away from the EU.

China's economic recovery and dual circulation model

11-12-2020

After a delayed response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, China has expanded its sophisticated digital surveillance systems to the health sector, linking security and health. It has apparently successfully contained the virus, while most other countries still face an uphill battle with Covid-19. China emerged first from lockdown, and its economy rapidly entered a V-shaped recovery. As in 2008, China is driving the global recovery and will derive strategic gains from this role ...

After a delayed response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, China has expanded its sophisticated digital surveillance systems to the health sector, linking security and health. It has apparently successfully contained the virus, while most other countries still face an uphill battle with Covid-19. China emerged first from lockdown, and its economy rapidly entered a V-shaped recovery. As in 2008, China is driving the global recovery and will derive strategic gains from this role. However, China's relations with advanced economies and some emerging markets have further deteriorated during the pandemic, as its aggressive foreign policy posture has triggered pushback. This has created a more hostile environment for China's economic development and has had a negative impact on China's hitherto almost unconstrained access to these economies. The need to make the Chinese economy more resilient against external shocks and the intention to tap into the unexploited potential of China's huge domestic market in order to realise the nation's ambitions of becoming a global leader in cutting-edge technologies have prompted the Chinese leadership to launch a new economic development paradigm for China. The 'dual circulation development model' still lacks specifics but is expected to be a key theme in China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) to be officially approved in March 2021. The concept suggests that, in future, priority will be given to 'domestic circulation' over 'international circulation'. China's more inward-looking development strategy geared towards greater self-reliance in strategic sectors requires major domestic structural reform and investment to unleash the purchasing power of China's low-end consumers and the indigenous innovation efforts to achieve the technological breakthroughs needed. These innovation efforts are expected to be largely state-driven. For the EU the envisaged shifts create challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, competition with China will become fiercer and, on the other, the EU can pursue openings for supply chain diversification with like-minded countries and thus boost its open strategic autonomy.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - December 2020

10-12-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events. regional development, cohesion policy, COVID19, WTO, budget control, budget, economy, international affairs, international law, Schengen governance, single market, European court of Auditors, energy.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events. regional development, cohesion policy, COVID19, WTO, budget control, budget, economy, international affairs, international law, Schengen governance, single market, European court of Auditors, energy.

Evenimente viitoare

25-01-2021
Public Hearing on "Gender aspects of precarious work"
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FEMM
26-01-2021
Public hearing on Co-management of EU fisheries at local level
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PECH
26-01-2021
The impact of Brexit on the level playing field in the area of taxation
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FISC

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