2019 is looking set to be a historic and in many ways’ unpredictable year for the EU. With Brexit looming on 29th March, it is far from the only significant event on the EU agenda for year.
- European Parliament elections are scheduled for the 23-26 May, with voting in Ireland taking place on Friday 24th– mark your diary! Tensions are already high at the prospect of a surge in support for populist parties across the EU and the potential damaging impact this will have on the functioning of the institutions.
- The results of the election could determine the choice of the next European Commission President (replacing Jean Claude Juncker) who will need to be selected by Member States, together will a new cabinet of Commissioners in October;
- While in November a new President of the European Central Bank (replacing Mario Draghi) and European Council (replacing Donald Tusk) will be appointed.
Numerous key policy milestones are also expected:
- EU legislation tacking unfair trading practices in the agri-food supply chain, agreed in the last week of December, will be approved and adopted in the coming months;
- Within the EU single market, the issue of mandatory origin labelling for dairy will come back as a key topic of discussion, with the two-year trial periods implemented by five EU member states now coming to an end. The Commission will need to make a decision on whether or not these national schemes can continue;
- The EU-Japan Economic Partnership will enter into force on the 1 February;
- EU Leaders will meet in Romania on 6th May to discuss “The Future of Europe”, a debate sparked by Brexit, and ultimately aiming to decide what direction the EU should take in future.
- A final decision on the Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU’s seven-year multiannual budget, is hoped to be reached by EU Member States by May. There are grave concerns that, as a result of Brexit as well as new policy priorities, there will be a considerable cut to the 2021-2027 CAP Budget;
- Significant progress is also expected on CAP reform for the post 2020 period. The European Council is hoping to reach a position by June and work is already well underway in the European Parliament whose position is expected to be adopted in April, during the plenary’s final meeting before elections;
- A possible new EU initiative on market transparency is expected in the first half of the year, addressing the collection and availability of market data, including in the dairy sector;
- Trade negotiations between the EU and New Zealand and Australia are continuing at a rapid pace and expected to be finalised by the end of the year.
By Alison Graham
European Affairs Executive
22 Mar 2019
20 Mar 2019