News on EU Polices

12 May: Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of NXK by Shell

(Source: EU Commission)

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Next Kraftwerke (‘NXK’) of Germany by Royal Dutch Shell (‘Shell’) of the Netherlands and the UK. NXK is an electricity aggregator and trader specialised in the direct selling of electricity from renewable energy sources. Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with businesses including oil and gas exploration, production, manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals, and renewable energy products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, given that the companies’ combined market shares …

12 May: Coronavirus: EU helps Nepal to tackle infections surge

(Source: EU Commission)

Nepal has requested EU assistance to help contain the explosion in COVID-19 cases. In response, the EU has mobilised an initial €2 million in humanitarian funding, which will support monitoring of all home isolated cases through tele-health / tele-medicine services and rapid referral to hospitals; national emergency medical teams deployment and international emergency medical teams mobilisation facilitation; procure COVID-19 equipment and supplies in Nepal. Key equipment and supplies will include oxygen equipment including oxygen gas cylinders, oxygen concentrators, home care kits, diagnostics including antigen test kits; personal protection equipment. Nepal has also activated the EU Civil Protection …

12 May: EU Cohesion policy: €133.4 million for Bulgaria and Sweden to tackle the social and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis

(Source: EU Commission)

EU Cohesion policy: €133.4 million for Bulgaria and Sweden to tackle the social and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis

The Commission has approved the modification of three operational programmes (OPs) under REACT-EU to provide €75.9 million to Bulgaria and €57.5 million to Sweden to help tackle the effects of the pandemic. Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “The coronavirus has put our social fabric to the test and has hit the most vulnerable people the hardest. The EU is showing solidarity by supporting the provision of aid in these difficult times and promoting social inclusion.” Commissioner …

12 May: European Green Deal: Commission aims for zero pollution in air, water and soil

(Source: EU Commission)

Today, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” – a key deliverable of the European Green Deal and the main topic of this year’s EU Green Week. It sets out an integrated vision for 2050: a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, as well as the steps to get there. The plan ties together all relevant EU policies to tackle and prevent pollution, with a special emphasis on how to use digital solutions to tackle pollution. Reviews of relevant EU legislation …

12 May: A new ambitious EU Disability Strategy for 2021-2030

(Source: EU Parliament)

Following Parliament’s recommendations, the European Commission adopted an ambitious post-2020 disability strategy. Discover its priorities.

The European Parliament called for an inclusive society in which the rights of people living with disabilities are protected and where there is no discrimination.

In June 2020, Parliament set out its priorities for a new post-2020 EU Disability Strategy, building upon the European Disability Strategy for 2010-2020.

In March 2021, the Commission adopted the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030 encompassing Parliament’s main recommendations:

The mainstreaming of the rights of all people living with disabilities into all policies and areasRecovery and mitigation measures…

12 May: AT A GLANCE : Turkey: 2019 and 2020 country reports

(Source: EU Parliament)

Turkey’s relations with the European Communities/Union date back to 1959, with milestones including the Ankara Association Agreement (1963) and Customs Union (1995). Turkey is a key strategic partner of the EU on issues such as migration, security, counter-terrorism and trade. However, following democratic backsliding, in June 2018 the Council of the EU decided to freeze accession negotiations. During its May 2021 plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the Commission’s latest country reports on Turkey.

Full Report…

12 May: AT A GLANCE : Montenegro: 2019 and 2020 country reports

(Source: EU Parliament)

In 2008, Montenegro applied for EU membership, and accession negotiations began in 2012. Montenegro has opened all 33 negotiation chapters, three of which have been provisionally closed. Public opinion surveys show that 75 % of the population support the country’s accession to the European Union. A new government led by Zdravko Krivokapić took office in Montenegro on 4 December 2020. During its May 2021 plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the Commission’s latest country reports on Montenegro.

Full Report …

12 May: BRIEFING: Critical raw materials in EU external policies: Improving access and raising global standards

(Source: EU Parliament)

Lithium and cobalt (used in rechargeable batteries) and rare earth elements (used in wind turbines) are some of the critical raw materials (CRMs) – raw materials of critical importance – for the EU. Global demand for CRMs is rising, yet the export restrictions imposed by the resource-rich countries intensify the competition for these materials. To boost its access to CRMs, the EU has a dedicated strategy based on three pillars: two internal ones (increasing domestic sourcing and circularity) and an external one, which is mostly about securing supply from third countries. The external pillar of the EU …

12 May: Equal pay: Commission proposal on pay transparency receives both praise and criticism

(Source: EESC)

Equal pay for men and women or for work of equal value is one of the fundamental rights and principles of the EU, but on average women are still paid 14% less per hour than men, with pay differences present in all sectors and widening with age. Although welcomed as a much-needed step to close the gender pay gap, the Commission’s proposal on pay transparency is receiving a mixed response, an EESC hearing found.

On 5 May, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a hearing on the Commission’s recently proposed Directive on pay transparency, aimed at ensuring that women and …

12 May: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain countries concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Myanmar/Burma

(Source: EU Consilium)

On 22 March 2021 the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2021/6391 concerning restrictive measures against Myanmar/Burma.

The Council added ten persons and two entities in the list of natural and legal persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures in the Annex to Decision 2013/184/CFSP

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania2, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this Council Decision.…