Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, EU Commissioners face a full agenda, starting with a review of the housing crisis and the upcoming Social Summit. Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to feature as a priority, along with initiatives to provide solutions for a stronger health union.
The cultural sector will also make representations to the Commissioners in a bid to negotiate sustainability needs and mitigate the impact of lockdowns. The EU’s flagship initiative, the European Green Deal, will also be a recurring theme in the Commissioners’ activities throughout the week.
On Monday, Commissioner in charge of the European Green Deal and Vice-President Frans Timmermans will address the housing crisis at an event organised by the European Social Party Group in the Committee of Regions. One aspect will focus on how to harness energy efficiency in the provision of affordable, decent housing for EU citizens to the overall Commission goal of achieving the green transition.
Also on Monday, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will exchange views with the World Health Organisation’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, who is expected to provide an overview of the evolution of COVID-19 at national level plus an update on vaccination uptake.
Kluge cited his recent discussion with Portugal’s Health Minister, Marta Temido, about the latest lockdown that has resulted in the closure of schools and paralysis in much of the country, a similar situation to that being experienced in the Netherlands and Denmark.
As the culture sector continues struggling with the pandemic’s effects, Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis will talk with representatives of the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers while Margaritis Schinas will mediate with the European Authors Societies (GESAC), on Tuesday.
Back in December, the Commission facilitated an injection of capital — 2.2 billion euros — to rehabilitate the cultural sector in line with the Commission’s Action Plan, dubbed Creative EUROPE, for the recovery and transformation of Europe’s media and audiovisual sector.
On Tuesday, Social Affairs Commissioner Nicolas Schmit will discuss the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Summit in Porto, during a virtual event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
On Wednesday, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson will join CEOs from the solar technology industries to discuss solar energy in light of the green transition.
The same day, Research and Innovation Commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, and Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union and EU Space policy, are to address the Conference on Robotics, convened to provide a scientific, policy-oriented and EU-centred analysis of the state of robotics technology. EU policy looks to improve the use of artificial intelligence for the benefit of European consumers. Robotics offers a number of potentials to be explored.
On Thursday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will talk about urban development, sustainable and inclusive cities, during an online event organised by MEP Lídia Pereira (EPP).
On Friday, European Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans will address the Davos Session on Boosting Europe’s Green Transition.
EU Health Union
Drawing on lessons from the crisis, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will discuss the value of a European Health Union capable of swift response and preparedness during a health crisis, on Friday.