On 27 May, the European Commission published its adjusted Work Program for 2020 in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. In the Communication accompanying the adjusted work program, the Commission explains that it will prioritize the actions needed to enhance the EU’s recovery and resilience. However, the priorities that were set at the beginning of the mandate and presented in January 2020 also remain valid in addressing current challenges.
In particular with regards to the green deal and the digital transition, the timing of some of the proposed actions has been updated. While there was speculation about a potential delay of the Digital Services Act due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the adjusted Work Program places the expected legislative proposal in the last quarter of 2020. The follow-up to the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, including on safety, liability, fundamental rights and data, in the form of legislative action and an impact assessment, which was initially planned for the end of 2020, has been moved to the first quarter of 2021. The legislative action on ‘Empowering the consumer for the green transition’ has been postponed from Q4 of 2020 to Q2 of 2021. Furthermore, the adjusted Work Program mentions an ex-ante competition tool in the form of a legislative proposal and an impact assessment, which was not included in the Work Program published in January. Regarding payments, the action plan on Fintech and the strategy on payments have not been delayed and the Commission has already engaged in stakeholder consultations.
In terms of reviews, the adjusted Work Program sets out the most significant revisions, evaluations and Fitness Checks the Commission will undertake, including evaluation work to follow up the Opinions of the REFIT Platform. Most actions will be finalized by the end of 2020, such as the Review of the Regulation on the internal market and cross-border e-commerce (Geo-Blocking) and the Evaluation of the ‘SME Definition’. However, some evaluations and revisions have been delayed beyond the end of 2020. For instance, the evaluation and report on the application of the Postal Services Directive 97/67/EC and the revision of the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC will be finalized at a later stage. No new date is provided for the REFIT procedures that will be completed after 2020.
In parallel to the adjusted work program, the European Commission published its proposal for a recovery plan: “Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation”. In this recovery plan, the Commission focuses on a double transition to a green and digital Europe, stressing the need to invest in a digital infrastructure to help boost competitiveness and technological sovereignty.