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A New Start: European Commission 2015 work programme focuses on jobs, growth and investment

On the 16th December 2014, the European Commission adopted its much awaited Work Programme for 2015.  The work programme sets out the priority actions for the next 12 months that it believes will make a real difference for jobs, growth and investment for Europe’s citizens.  The Commission is the institution responsible for the general interest of the EU and is the only institution that can initiate EU legislation.

The work programme focuses on a reduced number of initiatives that it believes will make a difference on the big economic and social challenges, such as fighting unemployment and improving competitiveness. The work programme outlines what the EU will and will not do in 2015.

Underpinning Jean-Claude Juncker ten priorities the work programme translates these into the first concrete deliverables. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans confirmed that 2015 will be the year for delivering the announced Investment Plan, opening up the opportunities of the Digital Single Market for citizens and business, launching European Energy Union, and proposing a balanced European Agenda on Migration.

Controversially, the new Commission is “clearing the decks” of pending proposals where it is clear that existing proposals will not be agreed in a way that meet these new priorities of growth, investment and employment. The Commission has examined around 450 proposals that are currently awaiting decision by the European Parliament and the Council, and is proposing to withdraw or amend 80 of them as part of its efforts to cut red tape and withdraw proposals that are unrealistic. For example, anti-air pollution rules will be changed to make it more likely for the Council of Ministers and European Parliament to agree an identical text. Both must agree the same text before it can become law. The proposed rules, part of the Air Quality package, fix emissions ceilings at national level, for nitrogen dioxide for example, obliging member states to hit air quality targets. But Timmermans said the gap between the Council and Parliament had got too big to bridge. The changed bill would also take into account the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets, agred by EU leaders at their October summit in Brussels.

Overall, the Commission's 2015 Work Programme sets out: 23 new initiatives and 80 existing proposals which the Commission proposes to withdraw or amend for political or technical reasons.

Among the new priorities for 2015 are:

An Investment Plan for Europe: the legislative follow-up to the Plan announced last month, unlocking public and private investments in the real economy of at least € 315 billion over the next three years.

An Ambitious Digital Single Market Package: creating the conditions for a vibrant digital economy and society by complementing the telecommunications regulatory environment, modernising copyright rules, simplifying rules for consumers making online and digital purchases, enhancing cyber-security and mainstreaming digitalisation.

The first steps towards a European Energy Union: to ensure energy supply security, further integrate national energy markets, reduce European energy demand and decarbonise the energy mix.

A Fairer Approach to Taxation: An Action Plan on efforts to combat tax evasion and tax fraud, including measures at EU level in order to move to a system on the basis of which the country where profits are generated is also the country of taxation; including automatic exchange of information on tax rulings and stabilising corporate tax bases.

A European Agenda on Migration: developing a new approach on legal migration to make the EU an attractive destination for talent and skills and improving the management of migration into the EU through greater cooperation with third countries, solidarity among our Member States and fighting human trafficking.

Deeper Economic and Monetary Union: Continued efforts to promote economic stability and attract investors to Europe.

The European Parliament has decided to vote on a resolution on the work programme in January 2015 - READ MORE

newsflash: 
Issue 38