This week the European Parliament will confirm the agreement with Council on two important european initiatives. Two flags that have characterised Europe that everyone has known and touched: Erasmus and the support to film production/distribution and Culture. Near €29 billion for the next seven years.
Here are some insights on the main decisions that will be taken this week by the European Parliament. For all the other numerous items on the agenda, click at the bottom of the page on the Plenary Dashboard.
ERASMUS +: funds cut and small budget for Sport
After almost 3 years of gestation, the new ERASMUS + for 2021-2027 is about to be definitively approved. The EU Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement last April for a program worth around € 26 billion, with a 10% cut compared to the initial proposal, which perhaps takes into account the travel limits imposed by COVID-19. Controversy over the lack of funds for Sport.
CREATIVE EUROPE: 30% increase in funds
Creative Europe is the european 2021-2027 Program to support projects that will be presented following EU activities on Culture, Media and Audiovisuals. Cultural activities, film production (films, documentaries, etc.), promotion of European films and their distribution will be financed.
For culture, Members ask to support contemporary and live music, to support female talents and disabilities.
Funds for a “just transition”: aid to Regions with coal
With € 17.5 billion in funding to help European regions transition to a green economy, Parliament will give its assent this Tuesday at 3.15pm. Today the debate in the Plenary at 19:00 (watch the debate live). Consult the text here.
This new tranche will be able to help micro-enterprises and research centers in the process of requalification and job search assistance in those Regions that will be most disadvantaged for the decarbonisation policy. They will have to gradually give up coal, lignite, peat, shale oil.
Hydrogen and energy policy: discontent and the request not to abandon nuclear power and hydroelectricity
Yesterday at 5:15 pm debate on hydrogen and energy transition (watch the debate live). The Resolution will be voted on Tuesday, with amendments asking not to abandon nuclear power, to be cautious with hydrogen projects and not to abandon the development of gas networks. Consult the text here.
As we know, the EU strategy for the energy transition foresees decarbonisation up to a zero or negative impact by 2050. We will have to use renewable sources with zero impact. Since not all of them are directly usable and by their nature they are intermittent, solutions must be found to store them. Until a few years ago, hydroelectric energy was a natural source of storage, but with significant losses. Then came the new generation batteries. But they have their limits and in any case there would remain the problem of replacing the fossil fuels used today in multiple uses.
Europe focuses not only on batteries, but also on hydrogen, as an energy source and as an energy vector. But since the current 95% of hydrogen production is made with methane gas (gray hydrogen), the goal is to build infrastructures for several GW of power from renewable sources to produce so-called “green” hydrogen. Then production of electricity from renewable sources to be used then to produce hydrogen from electrolysis or other processes.
In this context, national interests are already emerging. The Nordic countries, Denmark in the lead, want to own the massive production capacity of electricity from wind sources. Germani focuses on the production of hydrogen, having already started the first transport applications 30 years ago. Eastern countries are focusing on bio-masses, from which hydrogen can be produced. The French think they are doing their part with nuclear energy, since it has zero impact on CO2. These are the countries that are already fighting at all levels to take part in the banquet for the next 30 years.
The EP calls for a renewal of industrial policy: the response to COVID-19
The European Parliament will call this week for the future EU industrial strategy to help businesses overcome the crisis due to COVID-19 and tackle the digital and environmental transition. While adhering to the environmental ambitions of the European Green Deal, many are wondering what the price to pay for businesses and workers will be. In fact, the entire energy sector needs to be reconverted with an epochal revolution and the feared risk is that a large part of European society is not prepared. COVID-19 then hit hard the economy which now, more fragile than before, will have to suffer, an in-new shock is said.
The debate in the Plenary on Tuesday at 11:45 will tell us how worried the European Parliament will be about the future prospects and the reassurance that the European Commission will want to give. (watch the debate live). No Resolution will be voted on.
Deaths in the Mediterranean: The point on four FRONTEX operations
The Council and the Commission are called to answer for the continuing tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea, where dozens of deaths of refugees trying to reach Europe are recorded every day. All political forces will condemn European immobility and the isolation of member countries in the fight against illegal immigration and rescue at sea. Watch the debate live
According to estimates by the EU Council, 541,000 people have been saved since 2015 and 18,540 have died, with the FRONTEX Programs: Indalo, Themis, Sophia and Poseidon. The IRINI operation, on the other hand, serves to combat human trafficking.
Consult the Plenary Dashboard for all other items discussed and voted this week