Europe in 2014: Year of the Mediterranean at a glance

What will bring us the EU in 2014? I would note it will be less of a global economy and more of a domestic issues linked to security and justice. Europe is back home.

With a recent decision on setting the parameters for a single resolution board and a single fund for the resolution of banks, the EU will have to agree by 1 March 2014 on an intergovernmental agreement on the functioning of the fund. And the negotiations with the European Parliament will now start, with the aim of agreeing the regulation on the SRM at first reading before the end of the Parliament’s current legislature, which is May 2014.

This is it on the part of economy taking account of the forthcoming 2014 European Parliament elections. Latvia will join euro in 2014, European Semester will enter a second year of reinforced surveillance of EU Member States economic policies. Maybe with one exception of EU Single Market Act I and II, which will witness an ambitious EU railways package, going further with EU digital agenda or with retail banking.

The forthcoming EU Presidencies of Greece and Italy will be pushing harder with justice and home affairs agenda. With the Stockholm programme coming to the end, Lithuanian EU Presidency has started a discussion on the future strategic guidelines in the area of freedom, security and justice after 2014. Greece in the first half of 2014 and then Italy in the second will take EU Council’s work further. The adoption of MFF programmes establishing Asylum and Migration Fund, ISF Police and ISF Borders will lay financial foundations for a new strategy.

Elements of economic growth are expected to be included as well in the forthcoming proposals to be made by the European Commission on this matter. Under Lithuanian EU Presidency the Council has discussed how justice is important for economic growth and asked further clarifications from the Commission about the link between justice and macroeconomic policy. EU Member states have expressed their wish to have a dialogue with the Commission on the justice aspects in the 2014 European Semester process, including in the preparation of the Justice Scoreboard.

Legal migration is also an important factor of the EU agenda for growth. The Council will discuss further legislative proposals on mobility of seasonal workers, intra-corporate transferees, the students and researchers, which will be crucial for the functioning of Internal Market, but also important to create a favourable conditions to investment.

Data protection could be one of the unknowns in the forthcoming EU strategy on justice and home affairs. With the Snowden affair one might expect more consensus on this issue of respecting one’s privacy , however in the latest discussion on a general EU framework for data protection and “one-stop-shop” mechanism the Council noted a divergence of views among the EU Member States.

As linked to the protection of data one could notice the file on migration. For example, management of EU borders may fall into that basket with the legislative proposals on a Registered Traveller Programme and an Entry/Exit System to register entry and exit data of third country nationals as being linked to the privacy issue as well. This might picture the recurrent tragedies in the Mediterranean as demands to further action to secure protection of EU borders, but it is still unclear how far the EU will go with tracking third country nationals. In the meantime a dialogue on global migration may be further strengthened to tackle the countries of origin. Nevertheless, one has to remember that according to Lisbon Treaty the police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters will be fully integrated into the EU’s system of law as of 2014. With more Community method in the Treaty we will see more Union policies in action.

Photo: http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com

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