September got off to a fairly slow start in Brussels, as people returned after the summer still digesting Brexit. But MEPs soon grabbed the headlines by voting to reject the Commission's proposed rules on key information documents for packaged retail investment products (PRIIPs) – an unprecedented move which may result in a delay to the whole legislative framework.
The Commission will now consider how to proceed with PRIIPs, while the end of October should also see the tabling of a new proposal on business insolvency, as a key piece of the Capital Markets Union. Work on a new pan-European personal pension framework picks up speed with a conference in Brussels, and ministers meet for the first formal ECOFIN Council under the Slovak Presidency.
The end of the year will be extremely busy in the EU energy arena, with major initiatives expected each month, starting early October with the revision of the not-so-old Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives (update: now postponed). In the meantime, informal negotiations on the revised energy efficiency labelling Regulation will continue between the Parliament and the Council.
On another energy chapter, the Parliament is expected to make progress on the Energy Security Package, with votes expected in the Committee in Industry, Research and Energy on the revised Gas Supply Regulation and the new IGA Decision.
October will also be crucial on the burning issue of climate change: not only is the Council due to adopt its Decision on the ratification of the Paris Agreement ahead of ratifications at national level in order to be part of the implementation process of the Agreement, but MEPs are also expected to finalise their proposal for a revised ETS ahead of a vote of the Environment Committee in early December.
One of the most prominent topics at the moment are the discussions surrounding the agreement on the Global Market-Based Measure to tackle emissions from the international aviation sector. Adoption of the document, which is expected to happen before the 7 October, will have long term repercussion. Depending on the stringency of the agreed text, October will likely see extensive discussions on how the agreement is to be implemented.
The rail sector is still waiting for a final decision of the 4th Railway Package. However the General Affairs Council has achieved a political agreement on the market pillar of the package, meaning the final decision is due very soon, possibly in October.
Following the last meeting of the EMIS Committee meeting involving representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the next Committee meeting has been scheduled for 10 and 11 October. The Committee is continuing its work in full force and has confirmed that eight high-profile individuals will join during its next congregation, including the CEO and the Director of the UTAC CERAM, a major land transport service provider.
Digital & technology
Policy developments in the Digital Single Market immediately got in full swing after the quiet summer period, with September seeing the launch of two major packages on the same day: on the modernisation of copyright and on the review of telecoms rules. While the telecoms package was generally welcomed, with reservations here and there, the copyright package has been subject to much criticism for not being in line with the realities of the digital era.
Following a storm of criticism after it appeared that free roaming was only foreseen for 90 days per year as of 2017, the Commission withdrew its draft rules a few days later and presented a new proposal that does not include time limits to free roaming.
After this eventful month, October is expected to be rather calm when it comes to new proposals. The Commission will be busy preparing new packages that are due to come out in November and December, and Parliament and Council will continue work on the proposals currently on the table and start working on the files recently presented.
The return from summer recess kicked-off with a slow start in the month of September and limited institutional activity in the area of health. September closed with the European Biotech Week and the 19th European Health Forum Gastein taking place in EU capitals.
Meanwhile, the General Affairs Council reached a political agreement on the medical devices proposals. Developments on medical devices will continue over the course of the new few weeks, with the Competent Authorities for Medical Devices meeting on the 17th of October.
October is expected to be a particularly active month in the area of health technology, with a European Parliament hearing on mHealth, co-hosted by the ENVI and ITRE Committees and the European Congress on eCardiology and eHealth already scheduled.
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.