Finnish Presidency of Council EU discusses its priorities at EP Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
On 2 September, Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) heard a presentation by the Finnish Minister for Employment, Mr Timo Harakka, on the main priorities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council EU. As per the Presidency Programme, the key priorities are linked to the strengthening of common values and the rule of law in the EU, making the Union more competitive and socially inclusive, strengthening its position as a global leader in climate action and to protect the security of EU citizens comprehensively. A full overview of the debate is available here.
Finland is of the view that the EU needs a long-term strategy for sustainable growth and competitiveness that specifically includes measures to improve the functioning of the single market, whilst considering the development of the digital economy. This strategy includes five key elements: (i) A comprehensive, future-oriented single market; (ii) Transition towards a climate neutral economy; (iii) A modern economic policy driven by digital economy, with a strong focus on research and innovation; (iv) An active trade policy as an external dimension of the EU's competitiveness; and (v) New skills and continuous learning.
The Minister also stressed the importance of efficient consumer protection to an internal market and that the efficient implementation of new legislation, along with effective action by consumer protection authorities, is key when it comes to reaching these goals. There were also calls for better access to data, both in the internal market and globally, with a view to helping promote competitiveness and the development of digital services and technologies. Finally, taxation should also take better account of the growing role of virtual businesses.
DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET
Studies on the digital single market and on consumer protection presented in Parliament
On 2 September, the first set of studies prepared by the Parliament's Policy Department were presented by experts to IMCO. Of the four studies, the first two were focused on the Digital Single Market (available here and here) and the remaining two were around the protection of European Consumers, including its legal aspects (available here and here).
The presentations focused on forward-looking solutions deemed necessary, with the purpose of assisting the IMCO Committee in its future work, focusing on the potential of forthcoming actions. An overview of the debate is available here.
Member States announce candidates for the new European Commission
The informal deadline for countries to nominate their candidates for the new European Commission passed on 26 August. European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has started to interview the candidates. In terms of portfolio distribution, no official information has been released yet. You can access an overview of the confirmed nominees here.
The Commission President-elect will present the new College of Commissioners on 10 September. Once confirmed, the candidates will appear before the relevant European Parliament Committees. The parliamentary hearings are scheduled to start at the end of September. More information about the parliamentary hearing process can be found here.
G7 MEET IN PARIS
Main results of G7 Summit
The G7 Summit took place in Biarritz between 24 – 26 August and concluded with the adoption of a short declaration. It covers the issues of trade and the need to reform the WTO, a commitment to modernise international taxation and various foreign policy issues. Other issues discussed included a new frameworkbetween the G7 and Africa, gender equality, climate change and the digital transformation, ensuring that it is open, free and secure.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
10 September: Creation, innovation and promotion – Competitiveness of European audio-visual industry, Helsinki
10 September: Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity: Technology, governance and policy challenges, The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
19 September: Digital Excellence Forum @ ICT Proposers’ Day 2019, Helsinki
26 September: AIG Meeting - Strategy for AIG Directors' Lunch, EASA Offices
2 October: AIG Directors’ Lunch, Stanhope Hotel, Brussels
2 October: Protecting consumers’ freedom in the Digital Era, The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)