The College discussed the current international political developments, the preparation of the Malta Summit and the Second report on the State of the Energy Union. The Commission also held an orientation debate on Comitology.
Malta Summit and current international political developments
The College discussed the preparation of the Malta Summit which will take place on 3 February and which will be the time for collective action in the area of external migration but also a moment to show unity.
In Valletta, EU leaders will examine the Commission’s strategy for better managing migration flows and saving lives along the Central Mediterranean route. The informal EU Summit also provides an opportunity for a discussion on the future of Europe ahead of the Rome Summit on 25 March which will mark the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.
The College also briefly discussed current international political developments. While the College welcomed that the US Department of State clarified that citizens of the European Union will not be affected by the travel ban, even if they hold dual citizenship in one of the seven countries listed in the Executive Order, it also reiterated that in Europe there is no place for discrimination on the basis of nationality, race or religion when it comes to asylum, or any other policies. Europe is an anchor of stability in a changing world and is working to find long-term solutions to common challenges based on openness, social equality and strength through solidarity.
President Juncker and First-Vice President Timmermans also informed the College about their joint statement expressing “great concern” about the latest developments in Romania, notably regarding the fight against corruption. They warned of any “backtracking” and said the Commission would look thoroughly at the emergency ordinance on the Criminal Code and the Law on Pardons. “The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone,” they said.
Second Report on the State of the Energy Union
The Commission discussed the Second Report on the State of the Energy Union which shows that the modernisation of the European Union economy and the transition to a low-carbon era are happening. To boost the clean energy transition further and modernise Europe’s economy, the Commission also kicked off a new Energy Union Tour, one of the most emblematic strategic priorities of the Juncker Commission.
The main findings of today’s Report are that the EU as a whole has continued to make good progress on delivering the Energy Union objectives, in particular on the 2020 energy and climate targets. It has already achieved its 2020 final energy consumption target. The same is true for greenhouse gas emissions: in 2015, EU greenhouse gas emissions were 22% below the 1990 level. The EU is also on track in the renewable sector where – based on 2014 data – the share of renewables reached 16% of the EU’s gross final energy consumption. Another important trend is that the EU continues to successfully decouple its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions. During the 1990-2015 period, the EU’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 50%, while total emissions decreased by 22%.
Orientation Debate on the procedures for the adoption of delegated and implementing acts
The College held an orientation debate on the procedures for the adoption of delegated and implementing acts.
In his State of the Union Speech in September 2016, President Juncker said, “It is not right that when EU countries cannot decide among themselves whether or not to ban the use of glyphosate in herbicides, the Commission is forced by Parliament and Council to take a decision. So we will change those rules.” Today, the College discussed possible ways to ensure that political responsibility is taken where the applicable legislation requires. The Commission will present a proposal on 14 February to revise the Comitology Regulation.
Compliments of the European Commission