Commission’s working plan for 2023: confirming integration process

On 18 October 2022, the Commission adopted its work program for the next year to deal with modern challenges and looming crises and with a due attention to the ongoing EU-wide green and digital transformations. Making the member states more resilient, the Commission will support both people and businesses by reducing energy prices, securing the supplies of critical resources for regional competitiveness and food security, as well as by reinforcing European social market economy.

Every autumn, the Commission adopts a work program (WP) which sets out the list of actions to be taken in the coming year. The WP generally informs the EU-27 national governance system, businesses and the public of the Commission’s political commitments while presenting new initiatives and review existing EU legislation. In this way, the Commission implements its role as guardian of the Treaties, in enforcing existing legislation and supervising member states’ socio-economic integration. Annual WP is the result of close cooperation with the European Parliament, the member states and the EU consultative bodies.
The Commission Work Program for 2023 (CWP-2023) contains 43 new policy initiatives across all six main political guidelines proposed by the Commission President at the start of the college’s term three years ago. This Work Programme has been decided upon in a time of high economic uncertainty. Therefore, we stand ready to re-evaluate after the winter, especially regarding those measures that can affect competitiveness.

Delivering on six EU political guidelines
= European Green Deal. The Commission will propose in early 2023, amongst other initiatives, a comprehensive reform of the EU’s electricity market, including decoupling electricity and gas prices.
To help rapidly scale up green hydrogen economy in the EU, the Commission will propose to create a new European Hydrogen Bank, which will invest €3 billion into kick-starting a hydrogen market in the EU.
Next year, the Commission will take actions to reduce waste and the environmental impact of waste, with a focus on food and textile waste, an issue identified during the Conference on the Future of Europe. Similarly, in response to citizens’ concerns, the Commission will propose overhauling EU animal welfare laws.
= EU digital agenda. To tackle current and future risks of strategic dependencies, the Commission will propose EU measures to ensure adequate and diversified access to critical resources and rear-earth materials needed for Europe’s digital and economic resilience.
On the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, the EU institutions are going to reveal all the significant benefits of the EU’s Single Market while identifying and addressing existing implementation gaps.
The revision of late payment rules will help reduce burdens for SMEs in a time of economic uncertainty. The EU’s initiative on further expanding and upgrading the use of digital tools and processes in company law will help businesses in the Single Market by simplifying administrative and judicial procedures.
The Commission will also propose a common European mobility data space to boost the digitalisation of the mobility sector; at the same time, the EU legislation for hyper loop will help prepare the citizens for emerging mobility solutions.
= Economic issues. Following the accounts of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Commission will carry out a review of the member states’ economic governance to ensure it is still fit for purpose.
To further strengthen the Union budget in face of the current urgent challenges, the Commission will carry out a mid-term review of the EU budget for 2021-2027 and table a second set of new own resources, building on the proposal for a single set of tax rules for doing business in Europe.
Besides, the strategic regional autonomy in critical raw materials is one of the main tasks for the next year.
To ensure that the Union’s common currency is fit for the digital age, the Commission will make a proposal concerning basic principles of a digital euro before its potential issuance by the European Central Bank.
Given the social challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Commission will update existing framework for quality traineeships to address new issues, such as fair remuneration and access to social protection, in order to boost Europe’s social resilience.
= Europe in the world. Military conflict in the European center confirms the need to ramp up EU efforts in the area of security and defence. Thus, in order to defend European interests, democratic principles, peace and stability, the EU will present the continental space strategy for security and defence, as well as a new EU maritime security strategy.
A particular attention is to be given to updating sanctions toolbox to include corruption.
The Commission will propose a new agenda to reinvigorate EU’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean; at the same time, the EU will continue cooperation with candidate countries in the Western Balkans, along with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, in view of their future accession to the Union.
= Promoting European way of life. It is estimated that only 15% of young people having undertaken studies, training or apprenticeships in another EU country; hence, the Commission will propose to update the current EU learning mobility framework, to enable students to move more easily between education systems.
As soon as 2023 will be the European Year of Skills, the EU institutions would like to attract highly qualified professionals to sectors where Europe experiences workforce’s shortages, through proposals on recognising the qualifications of non-EU nationals. A targeted initiative will promote one of the most strategically important skills, through a Cybersecurity Skills Academy.
For a resilient and secure Schengen area of borderless travel, the Commission will propose laws on digitalising the EU-wide travel documents and facilitating travel means.
To build further the European Health Union, the Commission will propose a comprehensive approach to mental health, one of the key initiatives from the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as drafting a revised recommendation on smoke-free environments, and a new recommendation on vaccine-preventable cancers.
= Defending European democracy. Democracy is the bedrock of the EU’s integration; in 2023, the Commission will put forward a package of rules in defence of democracy, with a draft regulation on the protection of the EU’s democratic space from outside interests.
The Commission will continue creating a Union of equality by proposing a European disability card that will ensure the mutual recognition of disability status across all EU states. Commission will continue its work on addressing gaps in the legal protection against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin.
In line with the Union’s “better regulation principles”, the Commission will continue to identify simplification and burden reduction potentials in order to support sustainability. To complement the systematic effort to identify and remove red tape, a high-level group of stakeholders will further contribute to target loop-holes in the EU law affecting citizens and businesses.

The Commission urges the co-legislative institutions (the European Parliament and the Council) swiftly confirm key CWP-2023 legislative proposals so that the EU institutions, the states’ governance, citizens and businesses are having a common strategy for the next year’s development in boosting continental social market economy’s strategy.
All references to Commission press release at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_6224

More information on CWP-23 in the following Commission’s weblinks: = 2023 Commission Work Programme website; = Factsheet on the 2023 Commission Work Programme – Commission Work Programme explained; = Factsheet on the 2023 Commission Work Programme – Annex I: new policy objectives; = 2023 Commission Work Programme: A Union standing firm and united; = Commission Work Programme website; = Recovery plan for Europe; = NextGenerationEU; = A European Green Deal; = Shaping Europe’s Digital Future; = The European Commission’s priorities; and = Remarks by Vice-President Šefčovič on the 2023 Commission Work Program.

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