EU to strengthen its international outreach

nl-04-2015-2The EU wants continue to affirm its position as global leader and spread its sphere of influence across the continents. Partnering with foreign nations in the field of trade and investment will remain the EU’s weapon of choice.

To that extent, the Commission plans to finalize TTIP negotiations with the US in 2016. Having the TPP finally out of the way, the two sides will intensify efforts to resolve their differences. However, the EU and the US still need to find a mutually acceptable solution regarding investment protection. In addition, the invalidated Safe Harbor clause threatens to become a major obstacle. With public opposition to TTIP in Europe continuing to rise, the talks are likely to remain uncertain and strenuous in midst of the ever-stronger political will.

As regards additional foreign policy priorities, the EU remains committed to creating an active engagement strategy with Asia and to concluding the comprehensive Post Cotonou Framework that will govern its relations with the ACP countries and regions.

Securing clean and cheap energy supply in Europe

nl-04-2015-4The EU’s objective in the energy sector remains securing affordable and climate-friendly energy under the framework of an integrated energy market. To this end, the EU Commission just recently outlined its key action areas for 2016 – branding it the year of delivery.

First and foremost, the EU will adopt a new Regulation on security of electricity and gas supply, and will revise the corresponding regulation of inter-governmental agreements in this area. With focus on climate change, the EU must also review its renewable energy package, including criteria for biomass and energy efficiency, as well as integrate the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry sector (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate framework, if it is to remain on course for the ambitious 40% emissions reduction target before year 2030.

The molding of these measures needs to be closely followed and assisted, as they have the potency to significantly boost or restrict the exchange of electricity and gas and distort the supply and prices of energy in Europe.