Week 6 of 2021 has been relatively calm at the EU level, particularly when compared to the previous two weeks. It has been a week of economic hope, with the approval of the Recovery and Resilience Facility –part of NextGenEU– by the European Parliament and the Council, which will see €672.5bn disbursed across the Union in the next few years.
The Winter Economic Forecast was also published, with somewhat optimistic growth expectations for EU member states in 2021. Also in internal affairs, President von der Leyen spoke at the European Parliament’s plenary session on the EU vaccines strategy. In it, she acknowledged that mistakes had been made.
In external affairs, the EU presented its new Agenda for the Mediterranean, which Commissioner Várhelyi called a ‘renewed partnership for the Southern Neighbourhood’ in his speech, to be articulated around good governance, resilience, security, migration and the green transition. In the mobility domain, the EU wants to improve internal and external cooperation on returns and readmissions.
The EU and Ukraine also conducted their 7th Association Council meeting, and the EU’s Special Envoy for the Sahel visited EUCAP Sahel Mali. Negotiations with the UK over Northern Ireland are ongoing, and the EU is closely following the situation in Myanmar. Finally, the EU’s new trade enforcement rules, more robust than the previous ones, have now entered into force.