Juncker defines 10 priorities for EU, seeks inter-institutional support

[European Parliament/Flickr]

Jean-Claude Juncker [European Parliament/Flickr]

EXCLUSIVE: In a letter to the President of the European Parliament and to the Italian Presidency obtained by EURACTIV, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposes a better coordinated working program of EU institutions and fleshes out the 10 priorities he has identified for 2015.

Juncker and his Vice-President Frans Timmermans sent the 4-page letter on Wednesday (12 November) to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and to Matteo Renzi,  the Italian Prime Minister currently holding the six-month rotating EU presidency. Herman Van Rompuy, the outgoing European Council President and Donald Tusk, who will take over on 1 December, are not included among the recipients.

The Commission President argues that closer cooperation among the EU institutions can send a powerful message at a time when the crisis still bites, unemployment remains “unacceptably high”, and when events in Ukraine “call for a strong response”.

According to the EU treaty, it is the Commission that initiates the Union’s annual and multi-annual programming. However, Juncker says he wants to share with the Parliament and Council his initial thinking for the 2015 priorities, before those are adopted at the end of this year.

The ten political guidelines were already defined in the Juncker paper presented on the day of his confirmation in Parliament, 15 July 2014. What is new are the “bullet points” specifying what he thinks could be achievable already in 2015.

1. A new boost for jobs, growth and investment

  • Jobs, growth and investment package (before end of 2014) and follow up
  • A review of the Europe 2020 strategy
  • A strengthened Better Regulation agenda

2. A Connected digital single market

  • A Digital single market package, including more ambitious reform of the telecoms market
  • A proposal on copyright reform

3. A resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy

  • Follow-up to the 2030 energy package agreed last October
  • Preparation of the EU role in the Paris Climate change conference in 2015
  • Actions to strengthen energy security

4. A deeper and fairer internal market with a strengthened industrial base

  • Implementing new banking supervisory and resolution rules, completing the financial services regulatory framework
  • Proposals on crisis management and resolution of financial institutions other than banks
  • Work on a future Capital Markets Union
  • A targeted review of the Posting of workers directive, promotion of labour mobility
  • Work on a definitive VAT regime
  • Measures to combat fraud and tax evasion

5. A deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union

  • Proposals to deepen EMU and strengthen economic governance, following review of “two-pack” and “six pack”

6. A reasonable and balanced Free trade agreement with the USA

7. An area of justice and fundamental rights based on mutual trust

  • Pursuing EU accession to the European Convention on Human Right
  • Concluding a comprehensive EU-US data protection agreement and review of safe-harbour agreement

8. Towards a new policy on migration

  • Implementing the common asylum policy
  • A new policy on legal migration, starting with the review of the Blue Card directive
  • A Communication on internal security strategy
  • Operational measures to fight terrorism and counter radicalisation

9. A stronger global actor

  • European neighbourhood policy: stocktaking and way forward
  • Millennium development goals/post-2015 framework

10. A Union of democratic change

  • Review of legislation for the authorisation of GMOs
  • Inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register
  • Inter-institutional agreement on better law-making.

Juncker further tells Schulz and to Renzi that his services are ready in the coming weeks to exchange views on these issues with the institutions they represent.

The second part of Juncker’s letter is dedicated to his proposal for a new inter-institutional agreement “on better law-making”, to be concluded before the end of this year.  The idea is that the three institutions should agree on a multi-annual program setting strategic objectives and deliverables in the beginning of the 5-year legislative term, and that the program could be reviewed mid-term.

As Juncker and Timmermans explained on Wednesday, the Commission would like to concentrate its efforts in the areas where there is a strong chance of adopting new legislation, and not waste time where lack of consensus is preventing from such advance.

It’s only the Commission who decides its working program, but the EU executive can only benefit from a dialogue with the other institutions, Timmermans said.

“The dialogue with the Parliament has taken place every year. But a dialogue with the Council has never taken place before. I am happy to have the possibility to clarify the Commission’s priorities with the member states, to see what are their priorities. And after that, we will draw our own conclusions”, he added.

  • Before end 2014: EU institutions to agree common priorities programme

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