In the second half of 2021, the Slovenian
Council Presidency made an important contribution to strengthening the European
Union's (EU) resilience to future health crises and cyber attacks, and
accelerated recovery of the EU from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overcoming crises together
In order to encourage Member States to
become even more cohesive, conclusions were adopted on improving response and
resilience to future crises. Dealing with crises of different kinds requires
more effective cross-border crisis cooperation, crisis communication and
combating of misinformation.
Recovery of the European economy
EU finance ministers approved a total of
291 billion euros in grants and 154 billion euros in loans. So far, 20 Member
States together have received more than EUR 54 billion in pre-financing. The
funds will help accelerate reconstruction and resilience as well as green
transition and digitisation. The aim is to make the economy more competitive,
thus improving the quality of life in the EU.
Role of health policy strengthened
In future, European agencies will be able
to better coordinate the exchange of information between Member States and
their action. In negotiations with the European Parliament, three important
legislative proposals were agreed under the Slovenian Council Presidency. For
the strengthening of the role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and of the
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) as well as the
establishment of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA),
refer to News 09/2021.
Digitisation on the rise
Having rapidly grown over the last decade,
online platforms have taken a central role in our lives. It is necessary to
regulate these platforms to protect consumers as well as enable the further
development of digitisation. The European Council approved a general
orientation to the Digital Services Act, which contributes to a safer online
environment for citizens and economic stakeholders, and to the Digital Markets
Act, which creates a level playing field for all businesses and online
platforms, regardless of their size.
There was also an agreement between the
European Council and the European Parliament on the Data Governance Act. The
aim here is to promote voluntary data exchange and increase data availability
between start-ups and innovation-driven companies.
The environment and the fair green transition
In-depth work was carried out in the area
of the environment and the Green Deal. The debate on many legislative proposals
from the "Fit for 55" climate and energy package took place in
various European Council constellations. This is an extensive and highly
complex dossier as each sector must make a contribution to reducing greenhouse
gas emissions. The dossiers will be passed on to the following French and Czech
Council presidencies, with a view to reaching final agreements.
... and a nearly little Christmas miracle
Shortly before the Christmas holidays, it looked like there would be an unexpected agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the revision of Regulation 883/2004 and Implementing Regulation 987/2009 on the coordination of social security. In the 17th trialogue on December 16, after more than five years, a compromise was found on difficult questions of coordination law, such as the posting of employees or the exportability of unemployment benefits. The joy did not last long. On December 22nd, the proposal failed in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I). The Christmas miracle turned into a bad Christmas surprise.
France took over the Council Presidency
from Slovenia on 1 January. Further information on the French Council
Presidency can be found here.