Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week the European Commission is to announce proposals for COVID-19 vaccine certificates. Commissioners will discuss climate change issues, including a meeting with China, the role and contribution of batteries and the potential of green hydrogen. Turning to space, the EU executive will review developments related to the EU Galileo satellite and hold discussions on cybersecurity technology. To end the week, the Commission is to address the situation in the Sahel and the EU’s involvement there.
On Monday, European Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans has a virtual meeting with China’s special climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, to discuss climate goals and implementation. Having met with the US special climate envoy John Kerry during his visit last week, Timmermans is now engaging with the representative of the world’s number one producer of fossil fuel emissions.
Also on Monday, the EU Commission Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations, Maroš Šefčovič, participates in an online European Energy Forum event on the role of sustainable batteries in advancing energy transition.
On Tuesday, Energy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel discusses green hydrogen potential with Stefan Kaufmann, Innovation Commissioner for Green Hydrogen at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. They will review progress and measures linked to the EU’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, as spelled out in the Commission’s hydrogen strategy to decarbonise emission-intensive industry and heavy transport.
COVID-19 vaccine certificates
On Wednesday, the Commission will present a proposal for COVID-19 vaccine certificates, or “digital green certificates” as they have been branded by the EU executive. The certificates are intended to provide digital proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from COVID-19 or has had a negative test result. The ultimate objective is to facilitate free and safe movement of citizens in the EU, according to the Commission.
Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will provide an update on COVID-19 developments when she addresses the EU Scientific Advice Platform on Thursday.
Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton attends the European Space Agency Council meeting, on Wednesday. The agency is preparing to launch French astronaut Thomas Pesquet on his second mission — Alpha — to the International Space Station. The space agency is also assessing the Galileo satellites’ performance following its first-ever authenticated positioning fix, an exercise designed to verify the authenticity of global navigation satellite systems information, ensuring that the data they receive originates from Galileo, unmodified and unaltered in any way.
On Friday, High Representative Josep Borrell participates in the Sahel ministerial meeting to discuss diplomatic and military developments, including the Takuba Task Force launched last year. The Task Force consists of troops from France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
Borrell and EU officials will review the outcome of the Coalition for Sahel ministerial conference against a background of criticism from the European Parliament that the EU’s presence and response in the region has been ineffective and that local populations reportedly view the French military’s involvement as “neo-colonialist”.