The European Commission’s Work Programme for 2015 falls in line with Juncker’s political guidelines for his Presidency. The overall focus lies on the creation of jobs and economic growth, and the vision is to achieve this through a greener, more digital and more unified European economy. At the same time the Commission has restated its ambition to make regulation leaner and relieve markets from unnecessary administrative burden without compromising the high standards in social, environmental and consumer protection.
The Work Programme stands out from prior ones by its emphasis on discarding a total of 80 proposals that have either not progressed or that are not aligned with the objectives of the new Commission. Amongst the most prominent proposals to be withdrawn are the directive for the taxation of energy products and electricity, and the directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants.
Combined with Juncker’s €315 billion investment plan, however, the Commission’s Work Programme is potentially very good news for companies seeking to invest in cutting-edge infrastructure and technologies, but also for those that simply seek to benefit from the single market. There is a renewed focus on a strong European industrial base and the Commission’s introductory note promises measures to improve its competitiveness.
The Commission also intends to work on further pooling sovereignty in economic governance, for example through a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base and a Financial Transaction Tax. The focus here is on providing more transparency and a level playing field, mainly in response to the Luxleaks affair. This might imply a revision of state aid rules as well as of the implementation of Juncker’s investment program.
From a broader perspective, the Commission’s Work Programme emphasizes the importance of trade, with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) at the very top of the priority list of bilateral agreements. The Work Programme also mentions the intention to promote stability at Europe’s borders, although it is likely that internal security matters, e.g. on cross-border crime, cybercrime, terrorism and radicalization, will trump any focus on external policies.
The links below open analysis pieces on topics and initiatives linked to particular sectors, focused on by the Commission:
- Energy and transport, read the overview here
- Life sciences, read the overview here
- ICT and telecoms, read the overview here
The European Commission’s full Work Programme for 2015 can be found here.