On May 27, the European Commission launched its new working programme for 2020, reaffirming the priorities presented at the beginning of its mandate on January 29 and adapting them in the light of the emergency resulting from the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.
The Commission has reiterated that the priorities remain the same and all the commitments made will be respected. The motto therefore remains the same: Building a Resilient, Sustainable and Just Europe. As reflected in the Communication and the annexed new programme, the focus continues to be on accelerating the double green and digital transition, strengthening the economy and the single market by making them stronger and at the service of citizens, and reinforcing democracy and the EU’s role as a geopolitical actor on a global scale.
The main purpose of the rescheduling is the Commission’s willingness to ensure that all the new tools that will be proposed can be duly discussed with all stakeholders involved and then adopted by the co-legislators and transposed by the national authorities.
According to the Communication, the Commission expects to present most of the initiatives this year, especially those tools considered urgent that have been postponed due to the pandemic. This reorganisation of the agenda will be accompanied by readjustments on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to ensure that the whole programme is effectively accompanied by sound economic and financial coverage.
In addition to the framework provided by the MFF, the Commission has proposed a parallel health programme for the period 2021-2027 – the EU4Health Programme – with a budget of €9.4 billion to support the recovery of health systems in the post-Covid-19 period, promoting innovation in the health sector and filling the gaps that emerged during the crisis.
As for the new agenda, the most eagerly awaited initiatives will come in the autumn. Under the Green Deal, for example, the European Climate Pact and the Sustainable Finance Strategy are expected in the last quarter of 2020, as is the Mobility Package, which provides for a sustainable multi-sectoral transition, which will also involve aviation and maritime transport.
Regarding the Digital Agenda, the proposal for the long-awaited Digital Services Act, which aims to strengthen the single market for digital services while, at the same time, help to make it more accessible and legally transparent for small and medium-sized enterprises and safer for all users, will also come in the autumn.
Concerning the priority for the promotion of the European Way of Life, undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited proposals is the new Skills Agenda for Europe, a tool to facilitate the identification and compensation of skills gaps and support Member States in reskilling programmes.
Finally, also in the autumn, two health related initiatives of key importance for the Commission and the EU will arrive: the European Union Beating Carncer and the European Pharmaceutical Strategy.