The EU governance traditions are based on long-term strategies (concentrated in the political guidelines adopted by each Commission’s team at the start of the term) and short-term programs adopted for each year (the latter are discussed and adopted each fall). This time, in the Commission’s work program for 2022 (called CWP-22) there were announced 42 flagship initiatives grouped under 32 policy objectives. Thus, present discussions of the European “economic governance” coincided with the CWP-22.
The EU’s “working programs”, in particular the short-term ones, reveal the Commission practical steps (taken together with the states) in implementing the long-term goals set in the political priorities set for this Commission’s college in 2019.
Collective EU-member states’ efforts have already produced tangible results on various fronts: e.g. over 70 % of the EU’ adult population is now fully vaccinated; with the help of the digital certificate the EU citizens have regained many freedoms’ aspects within the EU states; due to common efforts in activating the NextGenerationEU program, the European economic recovery in Europe is becoming stronger…
On EU’s decision-making in: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/decision-making-process/how-decisions-are-made_en
It is vital to “reconfirm” the importance of the EU’s long-term priorities and uniting the states’ governance around these issues: first, the devastating effects of climate change is becoming visible in all states; second there is a need to increase the EU’s joint defence capacities along the European values and democratic principles.
The pandemic however has left damaging effect on citizens, in particular young people: in order to lessen the sacrifices, the Commission declares 2022 the European year of youth.
Commission Vice-President Šefčovič discussed already at the July’s Parliament plenary session the main aspects of CWT-22; then further on the Commission exchanged opinions during the meetings with the Conference of Committee Chairs and the EP’s Conference of Presidents. In addition, other Commission Vice-Presidents and Commissioner Hahn discussed CWP-22 priorities (using the Letter of Intent and the State of the Union speech, SOTU*) with the EP’s Conference of Committee Chairs this October.
The CWP-22 key initiatives
Among key initiative for CWP-22 are:
- The “green deal” in the EU’s growth strategy needs additional actions in order to meet Union’s ambitious target of carbon neutrality by 2050. Along this priority, the Commission proposes a certification framework for carbon removals, to boost the states’ sustainable growth patterns, and creating new business models to reward active managers. In order to deliver on the EU’s zero pollution action plan, the states are supposed to intensify measures in tackling surface, groundwater pollutants and ambient air quality.
- The “digital transition”: in order to make the EU-27 fit for the digital age (while the accelerated digitalisation is taking place around the world), first of all the states have to accelerate the use of digital solutions for work and for education. The process has already exposed European shortcomings and dependencies; hence, European produced chips will foster an innovative European system for semi-conductors to create new markets and prevent current supply shortages. All citizens need to benefit from a successful digital transition: therefore, the Commission proposes a package of recommendations on digitalisation in schools, higher education institutions, as well as new measures on multimodal digital mobility services. A workforce with strong digital skills will be key for our small- and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, we want to find ways to facilitate their access to capital.
- “Peoples’ economy”: the issue under general EU political guidance “An Economy that Works for People” should ensure that citizens and businesses in the member states fully benefit from the advantages of the European single market. It is even more vital during times of crisis: with this in mind, the Commission proposes new single market emergency instruments. Thus, in a socially fair economy in the states based on the European Pillar of Social Rights, there is a need for concrete actions to support and protect workers: for example, regarding workers’ protection from the risks related to exposure to asbestos’ pollution at work based on legislative draft; besides, the Commission will also adopt a recommendation on minimum income.
- “Stronger Europe in the world”, which aims at additional EU efforts to support the rules-based, multilateral global order. Along with the Union’s “global gateway initiative”, fostering transport, energy and telecommunication links with partners across the globe, the EU intends to work towards developing a strategic partnership with the Persian Gulf States, the region of great importance for Europe in a number of regional and global issues.The EU will present an action plan on international ocean governance that will confirm the EU’s ambition to lead the quest to deliver the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals, together with a new strategy on international energy engagement with the goal of moving away from fossil fuel imports and towards green energy solutions.
- Promoting the European way of life: alongside ambition initiatives on education and security policy, the CWP-22 will aim at: – comprehensive care strategy, from early childhood care and education to long-term care; – citizens’ health by updating the recommendation on cancer screening reflecting the latest available scientific evidence, etc.
- Under the European democracy guideline, the program will continue to support the crucial role played by a free and vibrant media landscape in a democratic society and adopt a European media freedom act. The program will also further strengthen the children’s rights through the recognition of parenthood between member states and continue actions on equality by strengthening the role and independence of equality bodies.
More in the factsheets of new CWP-22 initiatives in: https://ec.europa.eu/info/system/files/factsheet_cwp_2022_annex_v4.pdf . Note: each initiative is only indicative and subject to change during the preparatory process, notably in view of the outcome of an impact assessment process in the states.
The CWP-22 work program is not only about the new initiatives (see a note below): with the implementation of the so-called “one in, one out-approach” the Commission ensures that the new initiatives (and measures) will seeks to reduce already outdated initiatives; this approach gives additional importance to the evaluation and revision along a “better regulation-principle” aimed to support sustainability and the digital transformation, by focusing on two principles: a) “do no significant harm”, and b) “digital-by-default” approach.
In total, there are announced 42 flagship initiatives in CWP-22, which are grouped under 32 policy objectives. For example, under the regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT) some 26 drafts are already identified for evaluation or revision: all proposals currently awaiting decision by the Parliament and the Council were examined and 6 of them all proposed for withdrawal, as not in line with the Commission’s political guidelines (for others, some more efficient fulfillment is suggested). All proposed legislation will be aimed at delivering for the citizens, businesses and national governance the better ways in getting through extensive modern transformations.