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22nd Jan 2022

Agenda

Recovery and green financing plus Omicron This WEEK

  • Travelling will be more difficult around Europe during the holiday season, as the Omicron Covid-19 variant spreads across the continent (Photo: *tamara*)
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The EU Commission will use the time ahead of Christmas to lay out its plans on new so-called 'own resources' on Wednesday (22 December), aimed to raise the billions of euros that will be needed to repay the borrowings underpinning the Covid-19 recovery fund.

The proposals are very sensitive politically for national capitals, so there will be a lot of digestion on the proposals over the Christmas period.

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Two new revenue streams allocated to the commission are linked to the commission's green policy, and include a proposed carbon border levy and the revamping of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The third new own resources would revolve around the newly-proposed rules agreed under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to force multinationals to declare profits and pay more tax in the countries where they do business.

The commission will also put forward a directive implementing the other part of the OECD tax deal - setting out a 15-percent global minimum effective corporate tax rate.

The commission is also due to present the second draft legal act on taxonomy and is almost certain to include both nuclear power and natural gas in the "sustainable" category of the green economy.

The proposal is expected to come under fire from NGOs and MEPs for opening the way for "greenwashing", but probably will win the backing of member states.

Energy has emerged as a key dividing issue between EU countries, with leaders failing to agree on a common statement on the rise of energy prices, and how to tackle them, last week at their summit in Brussels.

EU environment ministers on Monday (20 December) will meet to discuss the the commission's package to transform the bloc's economy to cut emissions.

Ministers will look at the "Fit for 55" package and discuss the revision of the Emissions Trading System, binding annual emission reductions, the revision of rules for CO2 emission standards for new passenger cars and establishing a social climate fund.

France, meanwhile, will present the work programme of its incoming presidency on the topic.

MEPs have already left for Christmas holidays and the EU bubble will fall silent after publishing the commission's proposals next week.

Travelling around the holidays will become increasingly difficult as the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus spreads across Europe: Italy, Ireland, Greece and Portugal already requests PCR tests from travellers, including vaccinated ones.

The EUobserver weekly agenda will also take a break and will be back on 10 January.

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The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

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