Public Policy Dynamics EU #2

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in the European Union

  • The  European Commission has taken actions to further support EU Member States in the face of the consequences of the pandemic and to coordinate measures to fight its spread. On 25 January, the Commission proposed an update regarding the Council Recommendation towards a coordinated approach on free movement restrictions. A €14 billion social bond under the EU SURE instrument to help protect jobs and people in work has also been issued. Lastly, the European Commission has decided to prolong and expand the State aid Temporary Framework until 31 December 2021. 
  • On 3 February, a version of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan was leaked. An Euractiv article emphasises that this leaked version of the Plan includes the creation of knowledge centres to coordinate cancer-related EU initiatives. The Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is scheduled to be launched next week. 
  • On 25 January, the first Press Statement from the EU Commissioner for Public Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, on vaccine deliveries was published. She gave particular focus to the violation of the deal with AstraZeneca, and called for further transparency. Following this statement, the European Commission published their contract with AstraZeneca. This is the second contract under the Advance Purchase Agreement published following the CuraVac contract.

Politics

  • The European Commission has taken further actions to support EU Member States in the face of the consequences of the pandemic, and to coordinate measures to fight the spread of the virus.
  • On 25 January, the Commission proposed an update regarding the Council Recommendation of October last year towards a coordinated approach on free movement restrictions. This is part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure better coordination and communication of travel-related measures at the EU level in view of the new, more infectious Covid-19 variants and the high number of infections across the bloc.
  • On 27 January, the Commission issued a €14 billion social bond under the EU SURE instrument to help protect jobs and people in work. The issuing consisted of two bonds, with €10 billion due for repayment in June 2028 and €4 billion due for repayment in November 2050.
  • The European Commission also decided to prolong and expand the State aid Temporary Framework. This Framework was adopted in March 2020 and was set to expire on 30 June 2020, but it will now be extended until 31 December 2021. The amendment also increases the ceilings set out in the Temporary Framework.

 

Health

  • A version of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan due for release on 3 February has been leaked. Together with the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, the Beating Cancer Plan represents a key pillar in achieving a strong European Health Union. In addition, to strengthen health systems, the EU4Health Programme will provide financial support to achieve the objectives outlined in the Plan.
  • A Euractiv article notes that this leaked version of the Plan includes the creation of knowledge centres to coordinate cancer-related EU initiatives. This is aligned with one of the European Commission’s priorities for 2019-2021, which is to create a common European health data space.

 

COVID-19

  • Ms Stella Kyriakides, the EU Commissioner for Public Health and Food Safety, has issued her first press statement on vaccine deliveries. Kyriakides placed particular focus on the violation of the EU’s Covid-19 vaccines contract with AstraZeneca from the company’s side of the deal, and called for further transparency in its discussions with the company. She also highlighted that such perceived breaches are not acceptable from the EU’s standpoint, and that the EU will take any action required to protect its citizens and rights. 
  • For the sake of transparency, the European Commission on 29 January published a redacted version of their contract with AstraZeneca. This is the second contract under the Advance Purchase Agreement that has been published following the CuraVac contract.
  • The Commission stated they welcome the company’s commitment towards more transparency, and emphasises the importance of transparency and accountability. The press release also mentioned their hope to publish all contracts under the Advance Purchase Agreements in the near future.

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