Brussels (Brussels Morning) EU Commissioner Maros Sefcovic presents the Commission’s 2021 work programme to the European Parliament today.
Sefcovic previewed aspects of the work programme at a press conference yesterday when he stressed the importance of ensuring a coordinated, action-orientated EU programmatic work response to the corona recession in order to avoid turning an “economic crisis into a social crisis”.
Overall, the 2021 work programme contains new legislative initiatives across all six prioritized aspirations spelled out in President von der Leyen’s political guidelines following on her first State of the Union Speech.
“The European Commission will continue its efforts to secure a future vaccine for Europeans and to help our economies recover, through the green and digital transition,” Commission Pesident von der Leyen declared.
The EC has stated that “we have the investment to match the vision and the ambition” in focussing on the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument along with a strengthened EU budget for 2021-2027. The 2030 Agenda along with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement will serve as the guiding tools for EC action.
“In 2021, we plan to table 86 major initiatives, in 44 packages, defining for the entire decade,” Sefcovic stated on social media.
Among the new steps announced by the EU executive is a proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism to help motivate foreign producers and EU importers to reduce their carbon emissions. Other measures include incentives to promote smart and sustainable transport, while revising the trans-European transport network regulation and the directive on intelligent transport systems.
The Commission will continue with implementation of the circular economy action plan, looking at eco-design and sustainable products, in particular circular electronics, with attention paid to improving the collection, reuse and repair of mobile phones, laptops and other devices.
As for digital transition, a roadmap is being tabled complete with clearly defined goals for connectivity, skills and digital public services to be achieved by 2030. Also, the Commission will develop legislation covering the safety, liability, fundamental rights and data aspects of Artificial Intelligence. The EC agenda includes a new European digital identity as well.
When it comes to taxation issues, the EU executive said it will continue working for an international agreement for a fair tax system, one that provides long-term sustainable revenues.
The Commission is also set to update the new industrial strategy for Europe to take account of the impact of the corona recession. Additionally, the Commission proposes establishing a new agency for biomedical advanced research and development and a new strategy for the future of Schengen including stronger Schengen rules.