This regular alert covers key regulatory developments related to EU emergency responses, including in particular, to COVID-19, Russia's war of aggression on against Ukraine, and cyber threats. It does not purport to provide an exhaustive overview of developments.
This regular update expands from the previous COVID-19 Key EU Developments – Policy & Regulatory Updates (last issue No. 99).
LATEST KEY DEVELOPMENTS
Competition & State Aid
- European Commission approves up to €8.1 billion in Member State support for IPCEI in microelectronics and communication technologies
- European Parliament voices concerns over control of EU's recovery and resilience funds
- European Commission approves further schemes under new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to support economy in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and accelerating green transition and reducing fuel dependencies
Trade / Export Controls
- Council of the European Union expands sanctions against Russia
- CBAM Regulation (Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism) enters into force
- European Commission proposes comprehensive reform of EU Customs Union
- European Commission publishes Joint Communication on European Economic Security Strategy
Medicines and Medical Devices
- European Commission President and EMA Executive Director issue statements on end of COVID-19 pandemic
- EMA publishes Good Practices for Industry for Prevention of Human Medicinal Product Shortages
Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection
- Council of the European Union Conclusions on EU Policy on Cyber Defence
- Opening of European Cybersecurity Competence Centre
COMPETITION & STATE AID
|European Commission approves up to €8.1 billion in Member State support for IPCEI in microelectronics and communication technologies (see here)
On 8 June 2023, the Commission approved up to €8.1 billion of public support by fourteen Member States* for an IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest)** in microelectronics and communication technologies spanning the value chain (e.g. materials, tools, chip design, manufacturing processes). Known as the "IPCEI ME/CT", the project's envisaged €8.1 billion in public support is expected to unlock an additional €13.7 billion in private investments.In announcing the package, Executive Vice-President and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated:
Such IPCEI initiatives are a component of the EU's ambitions for a leading role in the green and digital transition, including under the Green Deal Industrial Plan released in February 2023 (see also Jones Day COVID-19 Update No. 97 of 14 February 2023). This Plan notes, in particular, that industry faces numerous challenges, such as high inflation, post-COVID supply chains disruptions, spikes in energy costs and input prices, and labor shortages.
The IPCEI ME/CT follows and complements the first IPCEI to support research and innovation in the field of microelectronics, approved by the Commission in December 2018. It is the sixth IPCEI approved under EU State aid rules and third IPCEI approved on the basis of the 2021 IPCEI Communication.
In approving the IPCEI ME/CT, the Commission communicated its views, such as the following:
The Commission anticipates that the first novel products resulting from the ICPEI may be introduced to the market as early as 2025, and completion of the overall project is planned for 2032. Some 8,700 direct jobs are expected to be created, in addition to numerous indirect ones.
Further information on the amount of aid to individual participants will be available in the Commission's decision's public version, once addressing confidentiality issues with Member States and third parties.
* Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
** To recall, the IPCEI rules seek to enable Member States and industry to jointly invest in ambitious pan-European projects in a transparent and inclusive manner, where the market alone appears unable to deliver and particularly where the risks are deemed as too large for a single Member State or company to assume. On 25 November 2021, the Commission published a revised Communication on State aid rules for IPCEI, setting out criteria under which several Member States can support transnational projects of strategic significance for the EU under Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU (see Jones Day COVID-19 Update No. 69 of 29 November 2021).
|European Parliament voices concerns over control of EU's recovery and resilience funds (see here)
On 10 May 2023, the European Parliament issued a Resolution accompanying its approval of the European Commission's budgetary performance in 2021. The EU budget in 2021 rose by some 30% compared to 2020, largely due to money spent from the €800 billion NextGenerationEU recovery plan, adopted in December 2020 and aimed at Europe's green and digital transformation and countering the COVID-19 pandemic's impact. To recall, the core instrument of NextGenerationEU is the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), established in February 2021, to support faster and more resilient Member State recovery.
The Resolution welcomes the RRF's initial contribution and its further potential with regard to preventing a strong economic downturn following the pandemic. However, it also expressed a number of concerns, including citing concerns raised by the European Court of Auditors (e.g., the Court's first assessment of the RRF (Oct. 2022)). The Resolution, in particular, draws attention to:
Lucie Fournier (Associate), Cecelia Kye (Consultant), and Justine Naessens (Associate) in the Brussels Office contributed to this update.
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