Introducing: Mette Analysis | September 2020

A warm welcome to the inaugural Mette Analysis.

As European policymakers return from the summer break, our General Manager, Mette Grolleman, looks ahead at the challenges which the EU faces for the remainder of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

The resignation of the Irish European commissioner Phil Hogan ,also know as ‘Big Phil’, may have a significant impact on the way the EU conducts negotiations in the future.  

Furthermore, there are concerns regarding the lack of progression in the Brexit negotiations in recent months. The deadline of the 31st of December continues to creep ever closer.

Grolleman notes how the EU must assess the implications of both a Biden presidency and the continuation of a Trump presidency. Both candidates will have strong stances on trade with the EU, climate change policy and rising tensions between Turkey and Greece. 

The EU’s relationship with China, with respect to trade in particular, requires careful consideration. Our General Manager describes the future of the EU-China relationship as a “careful balancing act between openness for trade and reciprocity in many areas.” Grolleman also calls for a common approach towards Russia to relieve the growing tensions in Belarus. 

In addition, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen faces a number of tasks in the coming months.

Von der Leyen promised a ‘geopolitical Commission’ upon her election last year. The upcoming State of the Union speech provides an opportunity for the Commission’s president. Grolleman believes that she will frame external challenges in a way which establishes the EU as a relevant international actor. 

The EU’s long-term budget,which includes the Next Generation EU COVID-19 Recovery Fund, will be a key initiative that EU lawmakers will be discussing. Grolleman stresses that negotiations between the Commission and the Parliament over the budget must be concluded in time to distribute funds in 2021. The EU Parliament are seeking a reformed deal as many members are unhappy with rule of law conditions and cuts in areas of sustainability.

The EU’s COVID-19 recovery legislation is likely to place an emphasis on Von der Leyen’s long term priorities which include a Digital Sovereignty Agenda and a European Green Deal. The Commission is preparing its Digital Services Act which will address issues of competition, gate-keeping and disinformation. With respect to the European Green Deal, Grolleman believes it is ‘robust enough to withstand the pandemic’.

In the coming months, the EU will consider proposals on greenhouse reduction targets and sustainable chemicals and finance strategies. The EU’s task is to transform the Green New Deal from a political promise to a meaningful policy. 

FleishmanHillard is prepared to help you navigate the challenges ahead and provide expert advice to meet your needs.