Council approves the EU's legislative priorities for 2017
On 13 December 2016, the Council approved the EU's legislative priorities for 2017 as agreed beforehand with the European Parliament and the Commission. This will help the three EU institutions to pool their efforts and to ensure substantial progress in fields where they are most needed. A joint declaration setting out the EU priorities will be signed by the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, the President of the Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker later the same day.
"This is the first time that the EU establishes a set of common legislative priorities for the following year. This will allow the EU institutions to work more closely together to tackle the significant challenges which lie ahead."Miroslav Lajčák, Slovak Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and President of the Council
In 2017, the EU will give priority treatment to legislative initiatives in the following policy areas:
- giving a new boost to jobs, growth and investment through strengthening the European fund for strategic investment, modernising trade defence instruments, improving waste management in a circular economy, making progress on the banking union and on the capital markets union
- addressing the social dimension of the EU, in particular through enhancing the youth employment initiative, improving social security coordination, allowing easier access of accessible products and services to the market and creating a European solidarity corps
- better protecting EU citizens' security, in particular through better protecting external borders (via an entry-exit system, smart border and a European travel information authorisation system), stronger rules on buying and possessing firearms, fighting terrorism, money laundering and terrorist financing and information exchange on third country nationals
- reforming the EU's migration policy in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, notably through revising the EU's asylum rules and enhancing investments in third countries to address the root causes of migration
- delivering on a digital single market, in particular through reforming the EU telecoms and copyright rules, allowing the use of the 700 MHz band for mobile services, preventing unjustified geo-blocking, revising the audiovisual media services directive and modernising the common data protection rules
- building an energy union and a forward looking climate change policy, notably through the implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework, the follow-up to the Paris agreement and the clean energy for all Europeans package
The Council, Parliament and Commission agreed that progress is also needed in pursuing their commitment to common European values, in the fight against tax fraud, in the preservation of the principle of free movement and in the reinforcement of Europe's contribution to stability, security and peace.
Agreeing top legislative priorities between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission is a first in EU history. It has been introduced by the better law-making agreement signed in April 2016.