Industry Leaders: Start Planning Now to Respond to the EU Commission Work Programme 2021

On 19 October the European Commission released their intended work programme for next year, which includes an itemised list of new policy objectives and initiatives that the Commission will be debating and adopting in 2021. Along with these new initiatives, the EU Commission will also be revising certain current initiatives and have listed a number of additional pending proposals. This work programme will discuss six major points:

i. The EU Green Deal
ii. A Europe Fit for the Digital Age
iii. An Economy that Works for the People
iv. A Stronger Europe in the World
v. Promoting our European Way of Life
vi. A New Push for European Democracy

Within this list, businesses can expect to be affected by new legislation. In particular, industries working in raw materials, mining, chemicals, e-mobility, batteries, transport, finance, banking, health and pharmaceutical, biomedical, finance, technology, insurance, tobacco, military, NGO and humanitarian aid, journalism, advertising, tourism, research and innovation, and accessibility may all be heavily affected in 2021.

The EU Green Deal

The EU Green Deal will discuss in further detail the “fit for 55 package”, which aims to reduce carbon emissions through restrictions such as the EU Emissions Trading System, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, amending renewable energy directives, revising energy tax directives, investing in alternative fuels and building infrastructure, and revising packages to increase energy performance and decarbonising the gas markets. It will also focus on a circular economy by recycling electronics within the EU, a “biodiversity and toxic-free environment package” that will create a zero pollution action plan for water, air and soil, minimise risk of deforestation, develop organic production and create a new legal framework on restoring healthy ecosystems. Lastly, legislation will focus on “sustainable and smart mobility”, such as investing in the trans-European transport network, revising the Intelligent Transport System directive, revising rail transport, and developing stronger emission standards for cars, vans, lorries and busses.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Industries that focus on raw materials, mining, chemicals, e-mobility, batteries, financing, and transport will be the most affected by the EU Green Deal. Industries will need to conform to upcoming EU Green Deal standards and develop new proposals to move towards sustainability over fossil fuels. Ridens Public Affairs is currently working with clients that monitor beryllium, cobalt, lithium and lead policies to make sure upcoming legislation will not put undue burden on industries that are necessary to achieve ambitious EU Green Deal goals.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age

Europe’s Digital Age policy objective will develop 2030 digital targets, create a Data Act, review the Database Directive, propose a Digital Levy, establish a trusted and secure European e-ID, improve working conditions of platform workers, update the new industrial strategy for Europe, create an action plan on synergies between civil, defence and space industries, and design requirements and consumer rights for electronics.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Online digital platform providers, large and small businesses, health and pharmaceutical industries, telecoms, finance, electronics, and the tech industry will be affected by the new digital initiatives – just to name a few. But each industry is affected very differently; the pharmaceutical and health industries may have difficulty with electronic health record and patient data privacy laws, whereas electronics providers may struggle with new design requirements and consumer rights. In 2021 it will be imperative that businesses keep up to date with which parts of the data legislation they may be affected by.

An Economy that Works for People

The economic policy objectives will focus heavily on deepening the Capital Markets Union, creating sustainable corporate governance, creating an EU green bond standard, establishing an anti-money laundering package, a fair economy package, grant trade advantages to developing countries, establish an instrument to deter and counteract coercive actions by third countries, communicate a performance framework, revise the bank crisis management framework, and revise the Excise duties package.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Insurance and reinsurance companies, banks, finance, large corporations, and the tobacco industry are a few industries that will mainly be affected in 2021. Insurance companies will have to keep a close eye on the revision of prudential rules for their industry, finance and bank industries should stay updated on investment protection frameworks, anti-money laundering packages, and the revision of the bank crisis management and deposit insurance framework. All companies will be affected by certain action plans that revise social rights, occupational safety, health strategies and the social economy.


A Stronger Europe in the World

Strengthening Europe in the world will include a joint communication on strengthening the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism, joint communication on the Arctic, joint communication on a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood, joint communication on a strategic approach to support disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants, communication on the global approach to research, innovation, education and youth, communication on the EU’s humanitarian aid in the context of COVID-19, and a review of EU rules on consular protection.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Industries that focus on research and innovation, military industries, NGOS and humanitarian aid, mining and oil industries in the Arctic, and businesses considered to be in the Southern Neighbourhood that may benefit from tariff-free access or financial assistance to certain EU markets.


Promoting our European Way of Life

Promoting the European way of life will include a proposal to establish a new European biomedical research and development agency, a European health data space, following up on initiatives under the new pact on migration and asylum, a new strategy on Schengen, following up on the EU security strategy, a follow up to the European Education Area, updating a skills agenda, and an EU strategy on combating antisemitism.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Biomedical, health, pharmaceuticals, NGO and humanitarian organisations working with migration and children, tourism and industries trading in the Schengen zone would be a few areas affected by new legislation. Biomedical and health industries should keep a close eye on new EU agencies that will be established as regulators.


A New Push for European Democracy

Lastly, pushing European democracy will involve the rights of children, preventing and combating specific forms of gender-based violence, fighting hate crime and hate speech, creating a digital judicial cooperation package, a transparency and democracy package, creating a communication on the long-term vision for rural areas, and creating a strategy on the rights of person with disabilities.


What Industry Will This Affect?

Advertising, political parties and foundations, journalism, and businesses working with accessibility products for people with disabilities and disability infrastructure will all be affected by upcoming legislation. For example, advertisers may face stricter regulation with paid political advertising laws, and producers of accessibility products may see a boost in business as businesses are held to higher standards to develop more accessible workspaces.


Are You Affected?

If your industry is going to be affected by the upcoming EU work programme, get in touch with us to stay informed and help your business connect with key decision-makers to influence upcoming EU initiatives. Ridens Public Affairs is currently working with clients in international trade, internal markets, environment, chemicals, and digitalisation and will continue to closely monitor policy developments in 2021.