The European Commission has set out its next steps towards building a greener, fairer and more digital post-COVID Europe with the 2022 Work Programme
The Work Programme contains 42 new policy initiatives across all six ambitions of President von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines.
A European Green Deal
The Commission will continue making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 by proposing a regulatory framework for certification of carbon removals. It will also: take further steps towards zero-emission mobility; follow up on the zero pollution action plan; set new rules on sustainable use of pesticides; advance the circular economy; and mobilise resources. Green bonds will also play an important role in sustainable finance.
The Commission will present a Single Market Emergency Instrument to prevent disruption to the EU’s digital transformation and will also adopt a European Chips Act to promote a state-of-the-art ecosystem/develop new markets for European technology.
Additionally, the Commission will propose a European Cyber Resilience Act to establish cybersecurity standards and begin building an EU space-based global secure communications system to provide additional broadband connectivity.
Implementing measures to boost digital skills in schools and higher education will also be on the agenda.
An economy that works for people
Workers will be protected from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work in new proposals under the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, as well as adequate minimum income. Instant payments and facilitating access to capital for businesses in the EU will also be proposed.
A stronger Europe in the world
A global gateway strategy will be implemented to build connectivity partnerships to boost trade and investment and a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration will be presented. The Commission will also seek to accelerate work on a European Defence Union.
A new strategy on international energy engagement and an action plan on international ocean governance will also be put forward.
Promoting our European way of life
2022 will be made European Year of Youth to help disadvantaged young Europeans get into education, training or employment. An EU strategy for universities will also provide more sustainable transnational cooperation in higher education and a European care strategy will improve childcare and long-term care.
To build on the European Health Union and ensure access to affordable high-quality medicines, the Commission will propose a new framework for a dynamic EU pharmaceutical sector; revise the legislation on medicines for children and rare diseases; and boost life-saving cancer screening and early diagnosis
A new push for European democracy
A European Media Freedom Act will help safeguard media freedom and pluralism and a common legal framework for the efficient transfer of criminal proceedings will also help fight cross-border crime.
Measures to improve the recognition of parenthood between EU countries will also be proposed to ensure equality and an initiative on brain drain and mitigating the challenges associated with population decline will also be presented.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “The past year has proven what challenges we can deal with and what we can achieve for European citizens when we act united. We must continue in the same spirit next year, for example, to implement our policies for climate neutrality in Europe by 2050, to shape our digital future, to strengthen our unique social market economy and to defend our values and our interests, at home and abroad. The combined power of the EU’s long-term budget and NextGenerationEU, which together make €2.018 trillion will help to build a better and more modern Europe.”
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President in charge of Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, said: “It is not enough just to recover from a crisis of this magnitude. Rather, we need to emerge stronger and more resilient. In that spirit, we put forward our work programme for 2022. It underlines our determination to bounce forward from the pandemic while seizing the opportunities offered by the twin green and digital transitions. I now hope for a swift agreement with the European Parliament and the Council on key legislative proposals so that we can collectively deliver for our citizens, businesses and stakeholders.”
A full list of the policy initiatives is set out in Annex 1 of the 2022 Commission Work Programme.