De­liv­er­ing on prom­ises and pre­par­ing for the fu­ture

The Malta Business Weekly - - LEADER / OPINION -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day pre­sented its Work Pro­gramme for 2019, set­ting out three main pri­or­i­ties for the year ahead: reach­ing swift agree­ment on the leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als al­ready pre­sented to deliver on its ten po­lit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties; adopt­ing a lim­ited num­ber of new ini­tia­tives to ad­dress out­stand­ing chal­lenges; and pre­sent­ing sev­eral ini­tia­tives with a fu­ture per­spec­tive for a Union at 27 re­in­forc­ing the foun­da­tions for a strong, united and sov­er­eign Europe.

Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Seven months from to­day, Europe will have its most im­por­tant ren­dezvous with vot­ers for a gen­er­a­tion, at the Euro­pean elec­tions. I call on the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the Coun­cil to adopt the pro­pos­als pre­sented by the Com­mis­sion in the past four years. Cit­i­zens do not care about pro­pos­als, they care about laws in force that give them rights. There would be no bet­ter mes­sage to vot­ers tak­ing to the polls next year than if we were to demon­strate that this Union de­liv­ers con­crete, tan­gi­ble re­sults for them.”

First Vice-Pres­i­dent Frans Tim­mer­mans said: "This Com­mis­sion has con­sis­tently fo­cussed on the chal­lenges which can only be ad­dressed through col­lec­tive Euro­pean ac­tion. This Work Pro­gramme con­tains no sur­prises: we have made all the pro­pos­als needed but now they must be agreed and their ben­e­fits im­ple­mented in practice. We will also look to the fu­ture with ini­tia­tives to en­sure that to­mor­row's Union of 27 has an op­ti­mistic vi­sion for a fair and sus­tain­able fu­ture for all Euro­peans."

The 2019 Work Pro­gramme fo­cuses on just 15 new ini­tia­tives, and an ad­di­tional 10 new RE­FIT eval­u­a­tions, to re­view ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion and en­sure it is still fit for pur­pose. To en­sure a fo­cus on de­liv­ery, the Com­mis­sion Work Pro­gramme also lists the 45 pend­ing pri­or­ity pro­pos- als un­der the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion on leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties, for adop­tion by the Par­lia­ment and Coun­cil be­fore the Euro­pean elec­tions. The Com­mis­sion also sug­gests to with­draw or re­peal 17 pend­ing pro­pos­als or ex­ist­ing laws.

The Com­mis­sion has al­ready tabled all the leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als needed to deliver on the ten pri­or­i­ties of the Juncker Com­mis­sion. To­gether with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and Coun­cil, we have found agree­ment on around half of these pro­pos­als so far, and a fur­ther twenty per­cent are well ad­vanced in the leg­isla­tive process. Our pri­or­ity for the year ahead will be to get the green­light on as many out­stand­ing pro­pos­als as pos­si­ble.

The Com­mis­sion will also present a lim­ited num­ber of new ini­tia­tives, no­tably of­fer­ing Euro­peans a strong per­spec­tive for the fu­ture. We will take stock of the In­vest­ment Plan for Europe and ta­ble a Re­flec­tion Pa­per on how to en­sure a sus­tain­able Europe for gen­er­a­tions to come. We will put for­ward a co­or­di­nated plan on the de­vel­op­ment of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence in Europe, ta­ble an Ac­tion Plan on Dis­in­for­ma­tion, and make a Rec­om­men­da­tion to es­tab­lish a Euro­pean Elec­tronic Health Record. We will also as­sess the re­main­ing bar­ri­ers to the Sin­gle Mar­ket and bring for­ward ideas to ad­dress them, and ta­ble a strategy on en­docrine dis­rup­tors. To com­plete the En­ergy Union and tackle cli­mate change we will present a strategy for long-term green­house gas emis­sions re­duc­tion and will re­port on the State of the En­ergy Union and the Ac­tion Plan on Bat­ter­ies.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion will also make the case for more qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity vot­ing in the fields of en­ergy and cli­mate, tax­a­tion and so­cial pol­icy. We will fur­ther strengthen the Rule of Law Frame­work and the in­ter­na­tional role of the Euro, re­port on progress on visa rec­i­proc­ity, and present ideas for ' Com­mu­ni­cat­ing Europe'. Fi­nally, cer­tain mea­sures will be nec­es­sary to adapt the EU ac­quis in the con­text of Brexit. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion will adapt our en­ergy ef­fi­ciency tar­gets to the EU at 27, make the nec­es­sary pro­pos­als for the visa sta­tus of UK na­tion­als af­ter Brexit and present be­fore the end of 2018 a num­ber of nec­es­sary del­e­gated and im­ple­ment­ing acts.

Ev­ery year, the Com­mis­sion adopts a Work Pro­gramme set­ting out the list of ac­tions it will take in the year ahead. The Work Pro­gramme in­forms the pub­lic and the co-leg­is­la­tors of our po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ments to present new ini­tia­tives, with­draw pend­ing pro­pos­als and re­view ex­ist­ing EU leg­is­la­tion.

The Com­mis­sion's prepa­ra­tion of the 2019 Work Pro­gramme has been en­riched by con­sul­ta­tions with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and Coun­cil in the con­text of the In­ter-in­sti­tu­tional Agree­ment on Bet­ter Law-Mak­ing and the Frame­work Agree­ment on re­la­tions be­tween the Par­lia­ment and the Com­mis­sion and based on the Let­ter of In­tent sent by Pres­i­dent Juncker and First Vice-Pres­i­dent Tim­mer­mans on 12 Septem­ber, af­ter the Pres­i­dent's State of the Euro­pean Union ad­dress.

The Juncker Com­mis­sion­was elected by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment on the ba­sis of clear Po­lit­i­cal Guide­lines. These 10 pri­or­i­ties act as the frame­work for the Com­mis­sion's an­nual plan­ning. Since the start of the Juncker Com­mis­sion, the an­nual Work Pro­grammes have been fo­cused on a lim­ited num­ber of key ini­tia­tives, where EU added value is clear, and nec­es­sary to im­ple­ment the agreed pri­or­i­ties The an­nual Work Pro­grammes un­der the Juncker Com­mis­sion have in­cluded no more than 26 pri­or­ity ini­tia­tives per year, com­pared to around 100 in the last year prior to Pres­i­dent Juncker tak­ing of­fice.

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