Brussels Daily
13 Dec 2018


Brussels Daily


EP plenary: Commission welcomes the European Parliament’s endorsement of key proposals under the EU’s next long-term budget

Yesterday, following the successful adoption of the 2019 EU annual budget, the European Parliament endorsed key Commission proposals for the next multiannual financial framework 2021-2027. The Commission welcomes the adoption of the Parliament’s negotiating positions on the European Defence Fund, Horizon Europe and the Connecting Europe Facility, which will now open the way for the start of negotiations with the Member States and the Commission. The European Defence Fund will boost cross-border investments in state-of-the-art and interoperable technology and equipment needed to protect our citizens and increase Europe’s strategic autonomy. Horizon Europe, the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever, will build on the achievements and success of the previous research and innovation programme (Horizon 2020) and keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. The Connecting Europe Facility supports transport, energy and digital connectivity across Europe, based on a modern, efficient and interconnected trans-European network. These votes by the Parliament complement the recent adoption of the Council’s negotiations positions. The Commission now calls on the co-legislators to maintain this momentum and ensure a swift start and completion of the negotiations.

Circular Economy: Commission welcomes agreement on new EU rules on fertilisers

Yesterday, Member States representatives endorsed the EU institutions’ political agreement on new EU rules on fertilisers proposed by the Commission in 2016. The agreement, which is a key deliverable of the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan, will facilitate the access of organic and waste-based fertilisers to the EU Single Market and introduce limits for certain toxic contaminants in fertilisers, including cadmium. The new rules will help to reduce waste, energy consumption and environmental damage as well as limit the risks to human health. Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Unlike traditional fertilisers which are highly energy intensive and rely on scarce natural resources, bio-waste fertilisers have the potential to make farming more sustainable. These new rules will also help to create a new market for reused raw materials in line with our efforts to build a circular economy in Europe.” Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “The new EU rules will open up new market opportunities for innovative companies producing organic fertilisers and create new local jobs, provide wider choice for our farmers and protect our soils and food. At the same time we are also making sure that our European industry will be able to adapt to the proposed changes.”   While the new rules will open the Single Market to organic fertilisers, the regulation offers manufacturers the option of partial harmonisation, allowing them to opt for compliance with national standards before selling their products on the EU market. The Regulation also for the first time introduces limits for toxic contaminants, including a new 60 mg/kg limit for cadmium which will be further reviewed 4 years after the date of application. The new rules are now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council. The Regulation will then be directly applicable in all Member States and will become mandatory in 2022. A press release is available online.

EU-Japan trade agreement on track to enter into force in February 2019

The European Parliament approved yesterday the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. The trade agreement negotiated by the Commission will create an open trading zone covering 635 million people and almost one third of the world’s total GDP. It will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan, as well as a number of long-standing regulatory barriers, for example on car exports. This is also the first trade agreement ever to include an explicit reference to the Paris climate agreement. The Strategic Partnership Agreement is the first ever bilateral framework agreement between the EU and Japan. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Almost five centuries after Europeans established the first trade ties with Japan, the entry into force of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will bring our trade, political and strategic relationship to a whole new level. I praise the European Parliament for the vote that reinforces Europe’s unequivocal message: together with close partners and friends like Japan we will continue to defend open, win-win and rules-based trade. Yesterday’s vote concludes the parliamentary ratification of the agreement by both partners and paves the way for the agreement to enter into force on 1 February 2019. Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade, said: “Our economic partnership with Japan – the biggest trade zone ever negotiated – is now very close to becoming a reality. This will bring clear benefits to our companies, farmers, service providers and others. Those benefits also go hand in hand with a commitment on both sides to uphold the highest standards for our workers, consumers and the environment. That’s good news for the EU and all supporters of an open and fair international trading system. For more information please see the full press release and a dedicated website.

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

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