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The six coverage priorities of the von der Leyen Fee: State of play because the Fee approaches mid-term | Epthinktank


Written by Etienne Bassot.

This version of EPRS’s six-monthly evaluation of the supply of the six coverage priorities of the present European Fee, led by Ursula von der Leyen, comes because the Fee approaches the center of its five-year time period. On the eve of taking workplace in November 2019, then-President elect Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged that ‘Europe urgently wants’ a ‘geopolitical Fee’. Russia’s warfare on Ukraine, unfolding as this publication was being written, confirms the relevance of this problem past what most specialists had envisaged on the time. The urgent want for the Union to develop its ‘strategic autonomy’, introduced into focus by the assorted obstacles thrown up throughout the preliminary coronavirus lockdowns, has turn into even starker, and never simply within the discipline of safety and defence coverage – with warfare on the EU’s borders – but additionally in fields corresponding to power and meals, the place dependence on exterior suppliers dangers compromising the Union’s stability.

Revealed on the eve of the 2021 State of the Union deal with, the earlier difficulty of this publication was drafted as the US and North Atlantic Treaty Group (NATO) troops had been withdrawing from, and the Taliban taking on, Kabul. This difficulty comes as warfare has returned to Europe and hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing Ukraine to the European Union. This can be a stark reminder to European residents, in addition to their leaders and representatives, that peace and democracy, that are on the coronary heart of the European mission, can’t be taken as a right.

Amongst its many results, this most dramatic disaster has strengthened unity among the many 27 Member States. It has pushed safety and defence larger on the European Union agenda, a topic that was already a precedence for the French Presidency of the Council of the EU. That is evidenced first within the Versailles Declaration following the ten‑11 March 2022 casual assembly of the Heads of State or Authorities, which analysed Russia’s warfare on Ukraine as ‘a tectonic shift in European historical past’. It’s also seen within the resolution to take extra duty for the EU’s safety and bolster its defence capabilities, and later within the endorsement of a strengthened, up to date Strategic Compass by the European Council on 24‑25 March (see Part 4).

It’s not the pandemic, however the warfare on Ukraine and its quite a few penalties, that outline the European agenda. As the duvet {photograph} of this publication illustrates: on 1 March 2022, the European Parliament, chaired by its new President, Roberta Metsola, held a unprecedented plenary session on the state of affairs in Ukraine at which the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was welcomed with a standing ovation.

The predominance of Putin’s warfare on Ukraine within the media and our conversations – reaching unprecedented ranges of protection and unfold as a result of extent of social media use in Ukraine, Europe and worldwide – shouldn’t divert our consideration from different main ongoing challenges: the coverage priorities of the European Fee. On local weather change, this Fee’s first precedence and an space the place President von der Leyen needs Europe to steer globally, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report, launched on 28 February 2022 raises the alarm on ‘growing local weather dangers’ (see Part 1). Serving to the EU get well from the coronavirus disaster (see Part 3), turning the EU right into a digital continent (see Part 2), selling the European lifestyle (see Part 5), and the brand new push for European democracy, notably with the Convention on the Way forward for Europe (see Part 6), are all excessive on this Fee’s agenda.

This paper screens all six of those priorities. It combines a two-page presentation of every precedence and an infographic illustrating in a single web page (web page 3), the diploma of progress– each general and underneath every of the six priorities.

Our evaluation is that, of the virtually 500 initiatives foreshadowed (504), greater than half (57 %) have already been submitted (288). It’s price noting that just about one in 5 of the Fee’s initiatives are non-legislative in character, corresponding to methods, motion plans and different communications. Amongst these 266, nearly half (47 %) have already been adopted (135), whereas the nice majority of the rest are both continuing usually by means of the legislative course of (113, or 74 %) or near adoption (11, or 7 %). Conversely, a sure quantity are continuing very slowly or are presently blocked (29, or 19 %).

These numbers replicate the state of play because the Fee reaches the mid-point of this five-year EU political cycle, throughout which the manager continues to come back ahead with new proposals, while concurrently the dual branches of the legislature (the European Parliament and the Council of the EU) are absolutely engaged in contemplating and (fairly often) amending them. The rating and proportionate progress have remained secure in contrast with the earlier evaluation, which is all of the extra exceptional because the Fee has returned to a extra ‘business-as-usual’ mode after multiple yr in pandemic mode.

With a give attention to every of the six coverage priorities, our evaluation reveals how the European Fee is performing on the completely different phases of saying and tabling proposals, adopted by the three establishments’ progress in negotiating and at last adopting laws. The European Inexperienced Deal ranks highest within the variety of initiatives deliberate (125) however the government has tabled lower than half of them (or 45 %), resulting in solely one-fifth being adopted by the co-legislators to date (20 %). The third precedence, ‘An financial system that works for folks’, comes subsequent (101), however this time with extra initiatives tabled (68 %) and the best variety of initiatives adopted (32 %). The pressing must get well from the financial penalties of the pandemic explains this end result and why the third precedence has overtaken the lead anticipated for the second ‘twin transition’ – digital – by way of initiatives deliberate, tabled and adopted. This latter totals 84 initiatives deliberate, half of that are already submitted (44), and 14 already adopted (17 %). For ‘A stronger Europe on the earth’, an space with comparatively few legislative initiatives, by definition and in contrast with nearly all of the Fee’s priorities, over three in 4 (78 %) initiatives have already been tabled (see Part 4), however a good quantity of labor stays to be carried out for the opposite priorities (38 % of the proposals stay to be submitted for ‘A Europe match for the digital age’, 39 % for ‘Selling our European lifestyle’ and 49 % for ‘A brand new push for democracy’ (see Sections 2, 5 and 6). This latter precedence comes lowest by way of variety of initiatives introduced (55), as neither the Convention on the Way forward for Europe, which is anticipated to come back to a detailed this spring, nor (nevertheless vital), upholding EU values, particularly elementary rights and the rule of regulation, require such proposals to proceed.

The following version of this biannual paper will monitor the state of affairs in September 2022, on the eve of the 2022 State of the Union deal with. The approaching months can be essential for this Fee to ship on its commitments and on the ‘predominant components guiding the preparation of the Fee work programme’ for 2023. The Fee is anticipated to set out its plans in writing to the Parliament, underneath the 2010 Interinstitutional Settlement between the European Parliament and the European Fee.

Within the face of the most recent occasions and their ‘tectonic’ magnitude, this publication and the subsequent will proceed to observe this Fee’s ambition to turn into a ‘geopolitical Fee’.

For extra data on how the von der Leyen Fee’s agenda is continuing, a proposal-by-proposal evaluation is offered on the European Parliament’s ‘Legislative Practice Schedule’ web site, additionally developed by EPRS, at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/.


Learn the entire ‘in-depth evaluation’ on ‘The six coverage priorities of the von der Leyen Fee: State of play because the Fee approaches mid-term‘ within the Suppose Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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