EM Germany Newsletter CW 12/2021 | Outlook on the European Council
The European Council is the illusory giant of the EU. This week, the media spotlight is once again on the two-day video conference of the heads of state and government. Their agenda is packed with the coordination of the Covid 19 pandemic, industrial policy, digital transformation and foreign policy issues. However, strictly speaking and even if they were to meet in persona, they can decide nothing.
Setting the guidelines for EU policy, the EUCO certainly is a central institution and the current monthly (digital) meetings are an important forum for exchange on the Covid 19 crisis. But similar to the Ministerial Conference of the Federal States in Germany, the problem remains that the European Council in fact is only a political coordination and voting body. According to the Treaties, it „shall not exercise legislative functions“ (Article 15 I TEU). However, the images of night-long meetings on the EU budget framework, migration and climate targets reinforce the impression of a Europe of closed negotiating doors.
Moreover, our #EBDGrafik of the week shows that the European Council is in continuous change. While the European Parliament has hardly changed since Ursula von der Leyen was elected Commission President in mid-2019 ensuring a clear accountability relationship, twelve members of the European Council – which von der Leyen helped propose at the time – have left in the meantime. One further argument for an election of the Commission leadership that is guided by the vote of the electorate – and not by the current mood in the European Council.
I wish you a good week, and stay healthy!
Dr. Linn Selle
European Movement Germany
#EBDFokus: Outlook on the European Council
On 25/26 March, the European Council will meet in a video conference. The summit was scheduled to be the first physical meeting of the 27 EU heads of state or government this year, but EUCO President Charles Michel decided on Sunday to schedule the meeting as a video conference due to rising infection rates. +++ On the agenda are the European coordination in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and relations with Russia. The green certificate presented by the Commission on Wednesday, which is intended to facilitate EU-wide travel under pandemic conditions in the summer, as well as the review of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the European Medicines Agency and the EU export control for the Covid 19 vaccines are to be discussed. As every year in spring, it will also be about economic issues: The European Council will discuss political priorities for the EU single market and the European Semester, industrial policy and the digital transformation. Following the informal European Council meeting, all EU-27 will also meet in the inclusive format for a videoconference of the Euro Summit. The adoption of a recommendation on economic policy in the euro area is expected at this meeting. +++ Together with the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Representation of the European Commission, the EBD will discuss the results of the informal European Council meeting as part of a digital EBD De-Briefing on 29 March. +++ Our #EBDGrafik of the week summarises the current composition of the body and how many changes have taken place since the 2019 European elections. +++ The latest developments on the EUCO can be followed via the Twitter hashtag #EUCO.
#EBDGrafik of the week
EM Germany News
EBD Background Talk with Paul Ziemiak and Markus Blume: Reforming, strengthening and socially anchoring European policy – this is a focus of EM Germanys’ work for 2021, especially with regard to the Bundestag elections in September. In order to proactively promote this goal, the EBD is currently conducting background talks with the Secretary Generals of its member parties in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Germany and the Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Germany. In this context, the heads of the three organisations and representatives of the EBD Board met the Secretaries General of CDU and CSU on 18 March. | More (in German)
New Format „EBD Public Diplomacy Exclusive“ starts with Serbia: „With this format, we want to involve representatives of our member organisations abroad more strongly in our network’s own positioning,“ explained EM Germany Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann. A digital exchange on Serbia kicked off on 11 March 2021. Other pilot countries are to follow. | More (in German)
European Semester and economic recovery at the heart of March EBD De-Briefings: March is traditionally a busy month, both for Council meetings and EBD De-Briefings. In March 2021, the Recovery and Resilience Facility was the cornerstone of most agendas. More on this weeks’ EBD De-Briefings: ECOFIN and Eurogroup, EBD & EBÖ De-Briefing ECB Council, EBD De-Briefing EPSCO, EBD De-Briefing ENVI, EBD De-Briefing JHA.
CoFoE agreement and next steps: After many months of negotiations, the EU institutions have agreed on a mandate for the Conference on the Future of Europe. „The too-long wait for the conference mandate has finally come to an end. The joint declaration leaves room for interpretation, which in our view should be used for some improvements,“ commented EBD President Dr. Linn Selle on the outcome of the negotiations in a Twitter thread. | More (in German) +++ In order to bring the CoFoE to the broad public, the topic of European (adult) education must also be considered, emphasised Markus Vennewald, European Policy Officer at the EBD, in a lecture at the European Association for Adult Education. | More (in German) +++ The EM Germany is asking its members until Wednesday about planned activities and expectations of the federal government and the European Movement with regard to the CoFoE. | More (in German)
EM Germany contribution to the Rule of Law Report 2021: Strengthening the rule of law in the European community of values is one of the EBD’s political priorities. In preparation for the new Rule of Law Report 2021, the EU Commission conducted an extensive consultation in February and March, in which the association participated with its own contribution. | More (in German)
All EM Germany events take place via videoconference. Participation is free, but registration required. Conference language is German unless indicated otherwise. +++ 22.03.2021: EP-Rapporteur in dialogue: Dennis Radtke MEP +++ 22./23.03.2021: College of Europe selection interviews for German scholarships +++ 25.03.2021: EBD De-Briefing AGRIFISH +++ 29.03.2021: EBD De-Briefing European Council +++ Our Presidency Calendar on the Portuguese EU Council Presidency has all dates of the semester.
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