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July in Brussels: What's on the horizon

3 July 2017

​At the beginning of July, Estonia officially took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Taking the reins for the first time, the country faces a challenging time ahead as the EU seeks to respond to Brexit and a shifting relationship with the United States of America.

DeHavilland EU has prepared a special briefing featuring everything you need to know about the new presidency. It contains profiles of key ministers, as well as details of their policy priorities and a selection of key future events.

But what else is coming up this month? DeHavilland EU's expert Policy Analysts present their highlights.

Financial Services

Having taken over the Council Presidency on 1 July, Estonia has plenty of new initiatives to get its teeth into, including a voluntary scheme for pan-European personal pensions, a proposal targeting intermediaries in tax avoidance schemes, and the controversial EMIR revision which seeks to strengthen EU oversight of London's euro clearing business.

There are only two weeks of Parliament activity in July, but MEPs will manage to fit in votes on covered bonds, double taxation, and country-by-country reporting, as well as a public hearing with bank resolution chief Elke König. For its part, the Commission will hold an event on sustainable finance, one of the key themes of the Capital Markets Union.

Energy and Environment

In Parliament, MEPs will continue discussions on parts of the Clean Energy Package, including the revised energy market design and the revised energy performance of buildings Directive. They will also hold a public hearing on the Package, focusing on energy market design and strengthening cooperation at Union and regional level.

Climate-wise, the Council and the Parliament are expected to hold a third trilogue meeting on the post-2020 EU ETS Directive in mid-July. While the Estonian Presidency will strive to make progress on these different dossiers, it will specifically put emphasis on digitisation in the energy sector, with a public-private partnership declaration on the matter foreseen after recess.

Transport

Estonians have stepped behind the wheel of the Council and have signalled their goals for the next six months. In land transport, the focus will be on the road haulage market and transport workers' social rights.

As for aviation, Estonian presidency will continue to work on an agreement to finalise the Revision of the EASA basic regulation and aim to make progress on the proposal for safeguarding connectivity and compeititon in international transport.

In maritime affairs, the Presidency will want to make progress on port reception facilities, although this will depend on the proposal's timing.

Although recess is close, there are several high level items that will be discussed by European Parliament Committees. The TRAN Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of Brexit on the aviation sector and vote on the provisional agreements comprising the Ship Safety Package. A joint TRAN/IMCO exchange of views with the Commission representatives on the certification system for aviation security screening equipment will also take place.

Digital and Technology

Within its new Presidency of the Council of the EU, Estonia is set to place a strong focus on digital Europe. The Estonian Deputy Minister for European Affairs Matti Maasikas has pointed out that "technological innovation in itself is not the end game, but a tool that can make the lives of people, companies and governments easier".

One of the key Digital Single Market files the Estonian Presidency will need to work on is the trilogue negotiations on the geo-blocking proposal, where significant differences in views between Parliament and Council have emerged.

The European Parliament is only convening in the first two weeks of July, but a Committee vote is scheduled on the parcel delivery proposal, and debates and votes will take place on the controversial copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.

Health

As it takes over from Malta, the Estonian Presidency has set some clear priorities in the areas of health, such as combatting alcohol abuse and fostering eHealth. Meanwhile, the Estonians will also endeavour to make progress on the Veterinary Medicinal Products dossier, as part of the EU's fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The Working Party on Public Health and the Working Party on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices are to hold a joint meeting on 7 July, in order to receive a presentation of the Estonian programme, as well as to take stock of the latest eHealth activities. Ahead of summer recess, Health Ministers are also to meet for an informal Council, kicking off work on their priorities on the 20th.

What's on your agenda?

To discuss your public affairs priorities for July and find out how DeHavilland EU can help you with definitive political monitoring and research support, contact us for a free trial today.

The DeHavilland EU Team

Based in London and Brussels, the DeHavilland EU Team is dedicated to bringing clients informative and timely political information in a format that suits their needs.