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May in Brussels: What's on the horizon

2 May 2017

The Maltese Presidency is drawing towards its end and Estonia is already preparing to take the reins. Meanwhile, Brexit talks are due to begin and the 27 are drawing together to ensure a tough negotiating stance.

But what else is occupying minds at the highest levels in Brussels and Strasbourg? Read on to find out.

Financial Services

Brexit will be driving much of the May agenda following the adoption of European Council negotiating guidelines at the end of April, but for the financial sector, work has also now begun in earnest on the risk reduction package for banks, with a public hearing at the end of April, and another debate in ECON this month.

Trilogue negotiations drag on for the securitisation package, while the institutions will also get together for the first time on the revision of the EU's venture capital regulations. The Parliament will finalise its Report on FinTech, a major focus at the moment, while the Panama Papers Inquiry Committee is planning no fewer than four sessions.

Energy

As Maltese Presidency swiftly moves towards its end, it has yet to deliver on energy efficiency and the circular economy, which were set as two key priorities. Discussions on a Council compromise text on the waste proposals seem well advanced and a general approach could materialise before the end of the month. An informal session of the Council to be held on 18-19 May will seek progress on the energy efficiency front.

Focusing on climate change, MEPs in the Environment Committee are expected to vote on a major piece of legislation addressing greenhouse gas emissions outside of the sectors covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Furthermore, a second round of informal negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the post-2020 reform of the EU ETS will take place at the end of the month.

Transport

This month, the Parliament will continue to work on the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility through the consideration of the draft report on the strategy, which will pave the way for the EU's effort to decarbonise the transport sector.

The Commission is also expected to launch its Road Initiative Package on 31 May, which aims to clarify, simplify and improve enforceability of EU legislation in road transport.

For the aviation sector, discussion on the EASA Basic Regulation may prove to be difficult as the EU institutions move closer to the third trilogue on the proposal.

Digital and Technology

With the Council approving agreements on the spectrum and wholesale roaming files in April, the publication of the final legislation in the Official Journal will happen by end May, but work still remains to be done on other important telecoms files, notably the Electronic Communications Code recast.

Following the Committee vote on the revision of the audiovisual media services directive, May will see both the plenary sign-off for entering into inter-institutional negotiations and the Council setting out its position, after which the institutions will start the negotiations on the file. Furthermore, Parliament and Council may reach an informal agreement on the proposals implementing the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, after the Rapporteur expressed optimism on the swift conclusion of the talks.

Finally, after a first hearing with stakeholders in April, the Parliament's work willl start on the important ePrivacy Regulation.

Health

May will see this year's eHealth Week taking place, from the 10th to the 12th, in Malta, where attendees are to tackle the overarching theme of Data for Health: The key to personalised sustainable care.

Separately, the Working Party on Public Health is to discuss draft Council conclusions on childhood obesity, in preparation for June's EPSCO Council.

The future location of the European Medicines Agency is also expected to be high up on this month's agenda, with the European Council deciding on relocation criteria in late April.

What's on your agenda?

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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.