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Vulcan Insight | European Commission sets out its 2022 legislative agenda

This week, the European Commission presented its legislative agenda for the coming year, setting out 42 new initiatives and 26 existing ones for substantial revisions. The European Commission’s annual Work Programme provides a rough overview of the Commission’s political and legislative agenda and objectives for the year to come.

Unsurprisingly, the largest package of actions comes under the Commission’s Green Deal objectives, counting 12 new legislative initiatives across five distinct packages. Under a new “Climate Measures Package,” the Commission’s Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans will present legislative and non-legislative proposals to introduce an EU-wide framework on carbon removal certification and review the EU’s rules on fluorinated greenhouse gases. Targeting the transport sector, he will also present an EU framework for harmonised measurement of transport and logistics emissions and put forward a review of CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles similar to those recently presented for cars.

Moreover, the Commission will also present, among others, a legislative initiative on the right to repair of mostly electronic devices, a Zero-pollution and Plastics package. The latter is designed to promote the level of bio-degradable plastics and reduce the release of microplastics into the environment.

Meanwhile, on the digital front, the Commission present a European cyber-resilience act and a non-legislative roadmap on security and defence technologies. In response to the current global semi-conductor shortage, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, will also follow up on his promise to re-shore production with a European Chips Act to re-establish Europe as a semi-conductor manufacturing hub before the summer. In addition, the Commission will put forward proposals on digital skills, a Single Market Emergency Instrument to prevent future disruptions. It will also seek to regulate multimodal digital mobility services.

With regards to financial and economic policy, European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis with will follow up on the Commission’s 2020 Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights as a guide towards quality jobs, fair working conditions and a better work-life balance via proposals to improve the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work and strengthen social safety nets by setting out an initiative on adequate minimum income. The proposals are both due in Q3 of 2022.

In addition, Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness plans to put forward plans to follow up on her Retail Payments Strategy and create an EU-wide instant payments network to reduce the reliance on US payments providers. In Q3, she will also propose initiatives to make it easier for SMEs to access to new capital and harmonize EU-wide legal insolvency proceedings.

Once the global OECD-led Agreement on minimum corporation tax has been finalised, the Commission will also seek to ensure its swift and consistent implementation.

Besides focusing on the environmental, digital and economic pillars, as promised by Commission President von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech, the Commission will put forward proposals for a new global gateway strategy to counteract China’s Belt and Road Initiative. By the end of 2021, it will also present a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration and seek to accelerate work on a genuine European Defence Union, a key objective in the fallout of the Afghanistan disaster.

The Commission will also follow up on making 2022 the European Year of Youth and introduce the new ALMA initiative to supplement the Erasmus Programme. In the framework of the European Health Union, the Commission will present a non-legislative European care strategy and an update on its recommendation on cancer screening in Q3 2022.

In response to the increasing violence seen against journalists in recent months and years, the Commission will also present a legislative proposal for a European media freedom act on the latter half of 2022.

Compliments of Vulcan Consulting – a member of the EACCNY.