European Commission publishes its Work Programme for 2023

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On 18 October, the European Commission adopted its Work Programme for 2023, setting the stage for the EU agenda for the coming year. The Commission’s priorities for the next dozen months ambitiously aim to respond to the ongoing crisis while following up on general policy orientations stated by President Ursula von der Leyen in 2019. Moreover, the new Work Programme incorporated a new “inclusive” dimension by highlighting the role of the Conference on the Future of Europe in shaping the Commission’s priority for 2023. 

In this article, Ecommerce Europe proposes a commented overview of EU sector-relevant initiatives and pending proposals set out in the Commission’s Work Programme for next year. You can read the full programme here. 

EU Green Deal and Circular Economy 

Most of the remaining files which are part of the Circular Economy package are expected to be published already by the end of the year (including proposals on packaging and green claims) and should keep the co-legislators’ agenda full for next year. The European Commission does however intend next year to revise the bloc’s Waste framework. While a full revision of the current Directive could have been expected, the EC has announced in its work programme that it will focus its effort on the textile and food sector. Ecommerce Europe has already called for an ambitious revision of the Directive, which could represent an opportunity to create a real single market for waste by harmonising legislations across the EU. As it was recently announced that the Right to Repair initiative will be postponed (originally due on 30 November), it is possible that this will also be part of the Commission’s programme for next year.  

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age  

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, the Commission plans to undertake a non-legislative initiative, yielding a Communication to be expected in the first quarter of 2023, to identify implementation gaps in the EU and draw up future priorities in this area. In 2023, the European institutions will keep working on the pending ePrivacy Regulation, which was delayed multiple times. Following Commissioner Thierry Breton’s article on the Commission’s intentions to regulate the metaverse, the Work Programme for 2023 lays out plans for the Commission in this field as of Q2 2023. As for the legislative files under this orientation, the EU executive will take action to foster the EU companies’ uptake of digital solutions with regards to their administrative and judicial processes, which is supposed to encourage the cross-border expansion of EU firms, as well as the mobility sector, for which the EC will put forward a mobility data space communication to enable European companies to share data and boost the digitalisation of the EU cross-border delivery processes. As an advocate of frictionless EU-wide commerce, Ecommerce Europe will closely monitor the upcoming initiatives in this area, which are slated for the first quarter of next year. 

An Economy that Works for People 

Drawing on the experiences from the Conference on the Future of Europe, the European Commission will initiate a review in the first half of 2023 of its economic governance, and of the functioning of the Union’s 7-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework, to ensure that it is still fit for purpose and adequate for tackling the current challenges facing the EU. Moreover, the highly publicised digital euro is set to see the light of day in the second quarter of 2023, where the Commission is expected to present its official proposal on the EU digital currency. 2023 will also be the year of the revamp of rules on payments services, with the revision of the Payment Services Directive 2. The European Commission will also pursue its effort in fostering the flow of data in financial services, through this Open Finance framework.  

Furthermore, the Commission will present a new legislative framework for corporate taxation in the latter half of 2023. Known as BEFIT (Business in Europe: framework for income taxation), the Commission intends to introduce a single set of tax rules for doing business in Europe with the aim of ensuring greater coherence for corporate taxation, and a more effective allocation of profits between EU countries by means of a formula designed for the purpose. Among other things in the pipeline for 2023, it is worth mentioning the revision of EU rules on payment services, as well as a retail investment package, set out to improve the retail investment framework. Considering the many upcoming economic and financial initiatives, which will have an important impact on the e-commerce sector, Ecommerce Europe will follow developments in this area closely. 

Pending priorities 

In the forthcoming months, Ecommerce Europe will continue working on EU legislative pending files which affect the European e-commerce sector. Our monitoring and advocacy activities will focus on ongoing discussions around the adjustment of EU rules for product liability to the digital world (e.g., revision of the Product Liability Directive) and more general initiatives to address the emerging data economy (e.g., Data Act). Another priority will be to continue the work on current environmental files for product design (e.g. Ecodesign) and mobility (e.g. CO2 emission performance reduction), as well as prepare for the publication of the Circular Economy Package II in November. You can learn more on Ecommerce Europe’s priorities for the next months in our article on the topic. 

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