The Swedish Presidency’s Programme – for a greener, safer, freer Europe
by Gabriel Kobus on 20 Jan 2023
Sweden assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January and presented its policy programme on Tuesday 17 January to the European Parliament. The programme focuses on competitiveness, security, rule of law and sustainability. In this article, we examine the digital and sustainable priorities outlined in the programme. The Swedish Presidency is expected to drive progress in areas such as cyber security, data sharing, digital identity, and sustainability.
Cyber security, here we go again, ePrivacy how can we resist you?
The Swedish Presidency has set its sights on bolstering cyber security across the EU. It aims to progress negotiations in the Council of the EU on the Cyber Resilience Act, and to participate in trilogues on measures to regulate cybersecurity. The Presidency recognises that protecting privacy and security in electronic communications is essential for the continued development of the digital single market. To this end, the Presidency will continue to negotiate with the European Parliament on ePrivacy regulation. Originally proposed in 2017, the ePrivacy Regulation strives to establish a robust framework to protect EU citizens' data privacy and security. The Presidency sees its commitment to ensuring cyber security as a crucial aspect of maintaining a stable and reliable digital environment for businesses and citizens alike, thus guaranteeing a free market.
Don’t go sharing all your data, lay all your love on 5G
In an evolving digital landscape, the Swedish Presidency is focusing on the progress of the AI Act and the eIDAS 2.0 Regulation to connect EU digital identification and digital wallet systems. The Presidency will work on the European Data Strategy, including advancing the legislative process for the Data Act. This involves initiating negotiations on the Data Act with the European Parliament, and the Presidency is likely to seek feedback from Member States on issues such as the rights and obligations of SMEs in the Act, and the obligation to share data in exceptional cases of need.
The European Commission is set to unveil its Connectivity Infrastructure Act soon, which would curb the expenses associated with the roll-out of 5G networks through the financial aid of digital platforms. The Presidency will commence work on the legislative proposal. In addition, progress is expected to be made on the Interoperable Europe Act, which will improve cooperation on data exchange and IT solutions between national administrations.
The Swedish Presidency is working to promote more sustainable and secure digital trade through the joint initiative on eCommerce in the World Trade Organization (WTO), supporting the application of the Commission Communication on enhanced sustainability in trade agreements, and striving for continued reforms of the WTO.
Gimme, gimme, gimme sustainability before 2050
As part of its commitment to implementing the EU's green transition and sustainability goals, the Swedish Presidency will focus on several initiatives. These include a review of CO2 emissions standards for new heavy-duty vehicles, which would reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. The Presidency plans to introduce a certification scheme for carbon removal, which would incentivise companies to invest in carbon-reducing technologies.
The Swedish Presidency will push for revisions of regulations on F-gases and Ozone, which will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the effects of climate change. The Presidency will work towards revising the Packaging Directive, to promote a circular economy and reduce waste.
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