All Things Newz
Law \ Legal

COVID-19 Key EU Developments, Policy & Regulatory Update No. 94 – Operational Impacts and Strategy

[ad_1]

LATEST KEY DEVELOPMENTS

Competition & State Aid

  • Council of the European Union approves last national recovery
    plan (subject to meeting rule of law milestones

  • European Commission approves further schemes under COVID
    Temporary Crisis Framework

  • European Commission approves further schemes under Ukraine
    Temporary Crisis Framework

Trade / Export Controls

  • Council of the European Union expands sanctions against Russia
    and Iran

  • EU-US Trade and Technology Council issues Joint Statement
    following third Ministerial Meeting.

  • European Commission publishes third Counterfeit and Piracy
    Watch List

Medicines and Medical Devices

  • Council of the European Union adopts updated Recommendations
    lifting all restrictions on free movement and travel to the EU
    during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Council of the European Union adopts Conclusions on vaccination
    as effective tool for preventing disease and improving public
    health

  • Council of the European Union adopts Recommendation for new
    approach on cancer screening

Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data
Protection

  • Joint Declaration published on EU legislative priorities for
    2023 and 2024

  • Council of the European Union adopts 2030 Policy Programme:
    Path to the Digital Decade

  • Council of the European Union moves ahead on proposed framework
    for European Digital Identity

Council of the European Union approves last national recovery
plan (subject to meeting rule of law milestones (see here)

On 15 December 2022, the Council adopted the Implementing
Decision approving Hungary’s recovery plan under the Recovery
and Resilience Facility (RRF)*, to be financed by €5.8 billion
in grants (see here). This was the Council’s last
remaining approval of the 27 Member State recovery plans.

However, Hungary’s recovery plan is conditioned on
Hungary’s full and effective implementation of 27 milestones on
the rule of law, judicial independence, anti-corruption, and
protecting the EU’s budget. These reforms must be
fulfilled before any payment to Hungary is possible
(see
also Jones Day COVID-19 Update No. 93 of 1 December
2022
)

The remaining milestones in Hungary’s recovery plan concern
other rule of law reforms related to judicial independence and
audit and control measures.

Despite certain reforms underway by Hungary, the Commission
considered that Hungary had failed to timely and adequately
implement central aspects of the necessary 17 remedial measures
agreed under the conditionality mechanism. The Commission thereby
also announced on 30 November 2022 that it maintained its proposal
to the Council (see here) for budget protection measures under the
Conditionality Regulation against Hungary’s breaches of the
rule of law, including:

  • a suspension of 65% of the commitments for three operational
    programs under cohesion policy, amounting to €7.5 billion;
    and

  • a prohibition to enter into legal commitments with the public
    interest trusts for programs implemented in direct and indirect
    management.

The European Parliament also earlier adopted a
Resolution on 24 November 2022 on Hungary’s compliance with the
rule of law and Hungary’s recovery plan (see here). The Resolution asserted the ongoing
risk of misuse of EU funds in Hungary and, in this respect,
deplored that because of the Hungarian government’s actions, EU
recovery funds have not yet reached its people. The Resolution also
emphasized that final beneficiaries of EU funds should not be
deprived of support due to Hungary’s lack of cooperation and
called on the Commission to find ways to distribute EU funds via
local governments and NGOs.

Next steps: Regarding the Commission proposal
to protect the EU budget against Hungary’s breaches of
principles of the rule of law, the Council has until 19 December
2022 to take a decision, by qualified majority.

Concerning the RRF, the Council now has, in principle, four
weeks to adopt the proposed Council Implementing Decision to
endorse the Commission’s positive assessment of Hungary’s
recovery and resilience plan.

* The RRF is the key component of NextGenerationEU, the
EU’s historic recovery fund for rebounding from the COVID-19
crisis (and now also the energy crisis). Member State recovery
plans have set out the reforms and public investment projects
foreseen for implementation with the RRF, which makes available
€723.8 billion (in current prices) (i.e., grants totaling
€338 billion and €385.8 billion in loans). These national
recovery plans must comply with State aid rules.

European Commission approves further schemes under COVID
Temporary Crisis Framework (see here and here)

The Commission has adopted a significant number of State aid
measures under Article 107(2)b, Article 107(3)b and under the State
aid COVID Temporary Crisis Framework adopted in March 2020.

With certain exceptions, the Temporary Framework applied until
30 June 2022.* Among the latest schemes (until 23 September
2022):

  • €557 million German support to compensate Deutsche Bahn
    for damages suffered by its subsidiary DB Fernverkehr due to the
    coronavirus pandemic.

  • €100 million Cypriot scheme to support companies and
    selfemployed persons affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • 12.6 million Dutch scheme to support zoos in the context of the
    coronavirus pandemic.

* Exceptions notably include the possibility for Member
States to (i) create direct incentives for private investments
(until 31 December 2022) and (ii) provide solvency support measures
(until 31 December 2023) aimed at easing access to equity finance
for smaller companies

European Commission approves further schemes under Ukraine
Temporary Crisis Framework (see here)

The Commission continues to approve additional measures under
the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures in
the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

To recall, in adopting this Crisis Framework, the Commission
noted that the conflict had significantly impacted the energy
market, and steep rises in energy prices had affected various
economic sectors, including some of those particularly affected by
the COVID-19 pandemic, such as transport and tourism. The conflict
has also disrupted supply chains for both EU imports from Ukraine
(in particular, cereals and vegetable oils) and EU exports to
Ukraine.

The Commission recently prolonged (until 31 December 2023
(instead of 31 December 2022)) and expanded the Crisis Framework
(see Jones Day COVID-19 Update No. 90 of 28 October
2022
).

Among the latest schemes under the Crisis Framework (until 18
November 2022):

  • €50 million Latvian scheme to support the manufacturing
    industry in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

  • €50 million Italian scheme to support companies in the
    region of Marche in the context of Russia’s war against
    Ukraine.

  • Amendments to Italian scheme, including €50 million budget
    increase, to support the agricultural, forestry, fisheries and
    aquaculture sectors in Friuli Venezia Giulia in the context of
    Russia’s war against Ukraine.

  • €1.22 billion Irish scheme to support companies across
    sectors in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

  • €34.4 million Italian scheme to support companies in the
    context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

  • Amendments to existing German umbrella schemes, including their
    prolongation and an up to €45 billion overall budget increase,
    to support companies in the context of Russia’s war against
    Ukraine.

  • €50 million Slovak scheme to support the agricultural,
    fishery and aquaculture sectors in the context of the Russia’s
    war against Ukraine.

  • €7.75 million Cypriot scheme to support some agricultural
    producers in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

  • €45 billion budget increase, to support companies in
    context of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Notably, the Crisis Framework complements the various
possibilities for Member States to design measures in line with
existing EU State aid rules. For instance, State aid measures under
the Crisis Framework may be cumulated with aid granted under the
COVID-19 Temporary Framework, provided that their respective
cumulation rules are respected.

The Crisis Framework, applicable since 1 February 2022, will be
in place until 31 December 2023. During its period of application,
the Commission will keep the Framework under review in light of
developments regarding the energy markets, other input markets, and
the general economic situation. Prior to the Crisis Framework’s
end date, and in view of maintaining legal certainty, the
Commission will assess whether it should be prolonged.

To view thr full article, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

[ad_2]

Source link

Related posts

Driving offence: Hit and run after a crash in New South Wales – Crime

Father Knows Best – Securities

Will Grieving Parents Ever Have A Voice Regarding The Disposal Of Foetal Remains? VOICE OF THE UNBORN BABY NPC AND ANOTHER V MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND ANOTHER [2022] ZACC 20 – Constitutional & Administrative Law