On 23 October 2018, the European Commission (Commission) published its annual work programme setting out its key initiatives for 2019 (Work Program).
Work Program overview
Currently, 45 legislative proposals are pending for adoption before the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission aims to reach an agreement on these proposals, to the extent possible, before the European Elections in May 2019. The Commission will also address outstanding challenges and present new initiatives to promote the future of Europe. The Work Program includes 15 new initiatives and 10 new evaluations as part of the regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme, in order to review existing legislation and ensure that it remains fit for purpose. The Commission also suggests to withdraw or repeal 17 pending proposals and existing laws.
The key areas of focus for 2019 will be:
- completing the work in the area of migration;
- reinforcing the Economic and Monetary Union;
- addressing increasing tensions in the global trading system;
- tackling continued challenges to the Rule of Law in some member states; and
- finding an agreement with the UK on its withdrawal from the EU.
Establishing a Capital Markets Union remains a top priority. The Commission emphasises the need to reach an agreement on the pending proposals with regards to:
- the Sustainable Finance Package;
- tools aiming to promote alternative sources of financing and to reduce barriers to cross-border investments, including proposals on crowdfunding and covered bonds as well as those seeking to facilitate the cross-border distribution of investment funds and promote SME listing on public markets;
- the tasks, governance and financing of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs);
- the rules and supervision for investment firms;
- amendments to the European Market Infrastructure Regulation; and
- minimum loss coverage for nonperforming exposures, the pan-European Personal Pension Product as well as business insolvency, restructuring and second chance.
Deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union and completing the Banking Union, as agreed in the Euro Summit of June 2018, are also key areas of interest. Pending issues in this area include:
- the budgetary instruments proposed under the Multiannual Financial Framework that will promote the European Stabilisation Function and the Reform Support Programme;
- the Banking Package which seeks to reduce risk in the banking sector;
- proposals on sovereign bond-backed securities, the recovery and resolution of central counterparties and the European Monetary Fund; and
- creating a common backstop to the Single Resolution Fund, progressing towards the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and strengthening the role of the European Stability Mechanism as a crisis management tool.
In the field of preventing and combating money laundering and promoting the rule of law, the Commission calls for agreement on the proposals on:
- enhancing the supervisory role of the European Banking Authority in the area of anti-money laundering, as a response to the recent serious revelations of money laundering in the EU financial sector; and
- using financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences.
In light of the Leaders’ Summit in Sibiu, Rumania, on 9 May 2019 and with regards to the future of Europe, the Commission will be presenting new initiatives, including a Reflection Paper on how to ensure a sustainable Europe by 2030 and a Communication on strengthening the international role of the euro.
The Commission noted that efforts are underway with a view to concluding an agreement on an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU and establishing a framework for the future EU-UK relations. It also pointed out that, irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations, the necessary measures need to be in place to adapt the EU acquis in light of Brexit. Therefore, along with the six existing ‘Brexit-preparedness’ legislative proposals, the Commission is expected to adopt two more proposals during November 2018, addressing the visa status of UK nationals after Brexit as well as the adjustment of figures for primary and final energy consumption in the energy efficiency legislation. The Commission also plans to present a number of delegated and implementing acts in this regard before the end of 2018. It will also be monitoring the situation closely and may propose further measures as the negotiations evolve.