From trade to climate, five takeaways from the EU elections

From trade to climate, five takeaways from the EU elections

BRUSSELS: The European Parliament shifted to the right after a four-day election concluded on Sunday, with more Eurosceptic nationalists and fewer traditional Liberals and Greens.

Parliament’s most important role is to review and approve new legislation and it usually puts forward amendments which it and EU governments must agree before EU regulations or directives can come into force.

The EU assembly will also need to approve the next president of the European Commission (probably the incumbent Ursula von der Leyen for a second term) and its 26 other commissioners.

The shift to the right could have repercussions in a number of important policy areas in the next five-year term.

CLIMATE

The next five years will be crucial in determining whether Europe meets its 2030 climate change goals.

The EU spent the last five years passing an extraordinary package of clean energy and CO2 reduction laws to meet its 2030 goals, and those policies will be difficult to undo.

But a more climate-sceptical EU Parliament could try to add loopholes to weaken those laws, as many of them are due to be reviewed in the coming years, including the bloc’s phasing out of the sale of new cars with engines. combustion in 2035, which faced criticism. during the EU election campaign, including from lawmakers from von der Leyen’s center-right political group.

The European Parliament will also negotiate with EU countries a new legally binding target to reduce emissions by 2040. That target will set the course for a future wave of policies to curb emissions in the 2030s across all sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing industry. transport.

DEFENSE, UKRAINE

Foreign and defense policy is primarily the domain of EU member countries, not the European Parliament. Therefore, the election result should not have any immediate impact on EU support for Ukraine or military issues.

However, Parliament will have a role to play in plans to foster pan-European cooperation between countries and companies on defense projects and get governments to buy more European military equipment. The European Commission’s Defense Industrial Programme, which aims to achieve these objectives, needs the consent of both EU governments and the European Parliament.

The benefits for parties opposed to greater European integration may make these ambitions more difficult to achieve. Similarly, for the Commission’s plans to have any real influence, they will need a lot of money from the next long-term EU budget, which must also be approved by Parliament.

TRADE

The European Parliament’s main role in EU trade policy is to approve free trade agreements before they can come into force. It is not directly involved in trade defense, such as imposing tariffs.

The European Commission and some EU leaders argue that the bloc needs more trade deals with reliable partners to compensate for lost business with Russia and reduce dependence on China.

Several trade agreements are still awaiting approval, such as with Mexico and the South American bloc Mercosur, while the European Commission is also looking to close agreements with countries such as Australia.

All of those deals, and the Mercosur deal in particular, have faced opposition and getting them approved in parliament could be even more difficult with a larger number of Eurosceptic nationalists.

CHINA-US RELATIONS

The European Commission maintains that the EU must present a united stance towards major rivals such as China and the United States, particularly if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House.

He also says the European Union needs a clearer unified industrial strategy to remain an important industrial base for green and digital products while rivals inject massive subsidies.

Critics say right-wing nationalist parties advocate a more flexible and fragmented Europe that will be less able to cope with these challenges.

EXPANSION, REFORM

The EU needs to reform its internal agricultural policy and the way it supports its members to equalize living standards before admitting new countries, especially large ones like Ukraine, because the current transfer system is already considered too costly.

To admit new members (Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkan countries), the EU will also need to change the way it makes decisions, reducing the need for unanimity, which is proving increasingly difficult to achieve.

If such reforms are proposed in the next five years, parliament will have a crucial role to play in shaping them and a stronger voice from the far right, which opposes deeper EU integration, could have an impact. important.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed. Reuters)

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