Council adopts recommendation on fair transition towards climate neutrality

On 16th June, the Council adopted a recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality. Member states are invited to adopt measures which address the employment and social aspects of climate, energy and environmental policies.

The recommendation encourages certain actions to support people most affected by the green transition for instance by stimulating the creation of quality jobs and facilitating access to safe working conditions protecting health and safety in the context of this green transition.

In line with FIEC input to this initiative, it also puts a focus on education and training measures in order to tackle skills shortages in the field of energy efficiency and the circular economy.

It also invites member states to integrate the employment and social aspects of the green transition in the development and implementation of relevant national strategies.

Other proposals concentrate on fairness of tax-benefit and social protection systems and on ensuring access to affordable essential services and housing for people and households most affected by the green transition.



European Commission holds first Q&A session on proposal for revised CPR


On Tuesday, 14th June, the European Commission’s Directorate for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) held a first information and Q&A session with stakeholders from the construction sector and other interested parties on its proposal for a revised Construction Products Regulation (CPR), published on 30th March.

In her introduction, Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of DG GROW’s construction unit, said that the current legislative framework had ‘many weaknesses’ which the new proposal now intends to ‘repair’. According to Raffaelli, besides ‘fixing’ the dysfunctional current framework, the proposal aims at ‘pushing for more sustainable construction products’.

Oscar Nieto Sanz, Policy Officer in the construction unit, then went on to explain the policy context of the proposal and its interaction with similar EU legislation, the governance structure of the new CPR, standardisation in the CPR, as well as its transitional provisions. Regarding standardisation, the Commission was able to provide some clarity on the use of delegated acts foreseen in the proposal if standards are not available (the so-called ‘fall-back option’ that will only be used under ‘exceptional’ circumstances).
Finally, the Commission answered a number of questions from participants that had been submitted prior to the Q&A session, but in many cases failed to give clear and satisfactory answers. It announced that open questions and corresponding answers will be put in the FAQ section of the website dedicated to the CPR revision.



Ukraine relief and reconstruction

Last month, the Commission set out plans in a Communication for the EU’s response to address Ukraine’s financing gap, in addition to a longer-term reconstruction framework. The reconstruction effort should be led by the Ukrainian authorities in close partnership with the European Union and other key partners, as well as international financial institutions and international organisations.
An international coordination platform, the ‘Ukraine reconstruction platform’, would work as an overarching strategic governance body, responsible for endorsing a reconstruction plan, drawn up and implemented by Ukraine, with administrative capacity support and technical assistance by the EU. The European Commission also envisages setting up the ‘RebuildUkraine’ Facility to support the reconstruction plan.

International Procurement Instrument (IPI) adopted

One June 17th, the Council adopted a Regulation to promote reciprocity in access to international public procurement markets. The European Parliament adopted the Regulation the week prior.The new trade policy tool will give the Commission investigative powers and enable it to adopt measures in the Union’s interest. If the Commission determines that EU companies face restrictions on access to public procurement in a third country, the access of that third country’s companies to European public procurement markets may eventually be limited. Such limitations may come in the form of score adjustment measures, or by excluding tenders entirely from award procedures.
The IPI measures only apply to economic operators, goods and services from third countries which do not have an international public procurement agreement with the EU or whose agreement does not include commitments to open up markets for these goods or services.

The Regulation will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union, before entering into force on the 60th day following that of its publication in the Official Journal.
FIEC considers the IPI a necessary tool to ensure a level playing-field in the internal market and is satisfied that the key positions put forward have be taken into account by the co-legislators.