The Slovenia Times

Progress on EU health and digitalisation under Slovenian presidency

Daily news

Brussels - The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU has achieved progress in some of the key dossiers in negotiations with the European Parliament on legislation in areas such as health and digitalisation. It hopes for further progress by the end of the year, including on the minimum wage.

One of Slovenia's key tasks in the role of the EU presiding country has been representing EU member states in legislative talks with the European Parliament. About 80% of the legislation in force in Slovenia is passed in Brussels.

The bulk of legislative dossiers come from areas in the remit of COREPER I, the committee of the member countries' deputy permanent representatives, where unofficial sources say the trilateral talks with the European Parliament and European Commission have had a positive dynamic.

Cooperation with the other member countries and the parliament is said to be very good and the negative impact of political issues in other fields such as those related to the rule of law is not being felt.

During the Slovenian presidency, member countries have concluded six trialogues with the European Parliament, including, within a short time, one to give the European Medicines Agency (EMA) a reinforced role in crisis preparedness and management for medicinal products and medicinal devices.

The Slovenian presidency also expects this month agreement to be reached with the European Parliament on another major health dossier - an overhaul of the regulation on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

A third important health dossier for the Slovenia presidency - a regulation on cross-border threats - is being held hostage in the inter-institutional stand-off.

The parliament has put a brake on the passage of this piece of legislation because it is unhappy with the European Commission's proposal on the creation of a new agency, the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), under which the parliament does not have a major role in the project.

Unofficial information indicates there is a possibility for member countries to reach a political agreement on HERA in December.

Health is an area largely in the responsibility of member states, while European legislation covers mainly key cross-border health issues.

Under the Slovenian presidency, member countries have already clinched a political agreement at the level of ambassadors on digital markets, and one such on digital services is expected by the end of the month.

Both key digital dossiers are expected to be endorsed at the session of EU ministers in charge of competitiveness this month. Based on that, talks with the European Parliament will start.

Apart from the trialogue on EMA, the EU has concluded five such trilateral inter-institutional talks during Slovenia's presidency, including three regulations: on access to information pertaining to the Aarhus Convention, on the extension of the term of community plant variety rights and on official controls on animals and products of animal origin.

The trialogues have also been concluded on the proposal for a decision on the EU's participation in the European Partnership on Metrology and on a proposal to amend the directive on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road.

Nine more trialogues are planned in November and the Slovenian presidency hopes for further success such as on regulations on roaming and data management and on ECDC.

Even though it did not appear so at the outset of the Slovenian presidency, a political agreement could be reached at the end of the month on the first ever EU legislation on the minimum wage. The legislative proposal would merely establish a common legislative framework on the minimum wage to ensure decent pay to all workers in the EU, but is not seeking to determine a uniform minimum wage.

Another key dossier of the Slovenian presidency is Fit for 55, an extensive and complex package of measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 that the European Commission proposed in mid-July. Concrete results have not been expected yet during the Slovenian presidency as the package is still being considered for its effect on national polices.

An important topic that has come up during the Slovenian presidency is the rising energy prices but concrete solutions at the EU level have not been feasible as most member countries do not see the need for that.

The Ljubljana-headquartered Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators is currently working on an analysis of the electricity market but even when that is ready, concrete decisions at the EU level are not expected by the end of the year.


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