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26th Sep 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.

EU leaders divided over Omicron travel rules

EU leaders failed to guarantee a coordinated approach to travel measures for the Christmas holiday season during their summit meeting. Instead they stressed that boosters shots are "crucial" and "urgent" to curb the new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Energy price spiral could harm EU recovery

Sky-high energy prices could undermine the EU's post-corona economic recovery, the EU Commission has warned, as EU states and MEPs called for joint action and fair play.

EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months

The EU drug regulator's chief said the bloc is ready to tackle mutations and allow for the fast-track approval of redesigned vaccines. The EU's disease agency said all known European Omicron cases were so far asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.

Europe braces for far-right Italy This WEEK

The far-right Brothers of Italy, which dominates the conservative alliance, is set to be the largest single party, and has widened its lead over the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

State of Union and Hungary's democracy in focus This WEEK

MEPs will also hear from Finland's prime minister Sanna Marin on her vision for Europe, and vote for the Renewable Energy Directive on Tuesday, in an effort to cut energy needs and speed up the use of renewable energy.

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