Check back - news of interest about the EU that you are not likely to hear elsewhere will be added as appropriate.
Be sure not to miss
What's Wrong with the EU?
, from January 2017.
That webpage includes commentary and news updates added since it was published.
See also the official European Union
Also, be sure to check up on
14 February 2019
Finland's Socialist experiment a failure by any other name
Airbus to shut down production of A380 - $16B blunder
Boeing said market would be for smaller planes like 787; they were right.
3 February 2019
British PM Theresa May vows to battle for Brexit in Brussels
Germany's yellow-vest protests against government's ban of older diesels
27 January 2019
Europe "coming apart defore our eyes"
Violence at "yellow vest" protests sparks "red scarves" rally
16 January 2019
British freedom and soverignty foiled by "inept" bureaucrats?
"However annoying you may think the feds are here, they've got nothing on the Brussels bureaucrats who run the EU."
13 January 2019
Brexit delay creates headache for Europe
12 January 2019
Here is the January 2019 EU Update Report,
from our good friend and favorite author in Europe
Comments and references to our webpages have been added where relevant.
2019 starters: Brexit and trade measures
In terms of EU political nuts to crack, 2019 starts where 2018 ended:
, Europe is still waiting for the UK Parliament to approve a UK-EU withdrawal agreement negotiated between the UK government and the EU.   A vote had initially been planned for 11 December but was postponed due to a near certainty that UK Parliamentarians would vote the agreement down.   Now the vote is planned for next week, possibly 15 January, while UK Prime Minister May is still trying to obtain further reassurances from the EU side that certain "backstop" provisions in the agreement would not be permanent.   However, the remaining 27 EU Member States seem firm not to re-open negotiations.
A UK parliamentary approval of the withdrawal agreement would trigger a transition period until end 2020, during which the future relationship with the EU could be negotiated.   This means a UK parliamentary approval would avoid a no-deal Brexit on 29 March.   If, however, the UK Parliament votes down the agreement - which seems to be the more likely scenario at this point in time - the risk of a hard Brexit will increase.   As a consequence, preparations for such a no-deal Brexit are ramping up, including within many businesses.
On international trade
, EU-US negotiations are continuing behind closed doors to prevent further trade measures from either side.   European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom is travelling to Washington this week.   At the same time the European Commission has now extended "safeguard" measures against steel and aluminium imports to at least 2021.   These measures, which have been provisionally in place since July 2018, define import quotas for specific countries - mainly for big steel exporters like Russia, China, South Korea and Turkey.   Crucially for some manufacturers, imports of electrical steel for transformers
remain exempted from the permanent measures, but imports of electrical steel for motors & generators
from Russia, China, South Korea and Taiwan are subject to quotas.
European institutions ink final deal on EU Clean Energy Package 2030
After two years of negotiations, eight laws forming the so-called "Clean Energy Package" were approved by EU Institutions on 18 December.   The new laws define the EU energy framework for the next decade.   They will overhaul power markets, and affect a wide variety of electrical product manufacturers and customers, e.g., utilities, aggregators, installers and consumers.
The key issue in the above and in the paragraphs which follow is the imposition of restrictions and loss of freedoms for Europeans.
This brings to mind this quote by Ayn Rand, "A European is disarmed in the face of a dictatorship: he may hate it, but he feels that he is wrong and, metaphysically, the State is right.   An American would rebel to the bottom of his soul." - although the recent Yellow-Vest riots in Paris are a good start in the right direction, if they follow through.
The EU is in its structure a dictatorship.   Europeans need to fight for their freedoms; the EU is clearly bent on imposing its will on them and certainly has not the slightest interest in defending their freedom, as demonstrated by the focus on regulation and the notably absent focus on defense.
Several far-reaching provisions stand out:
Renewable energy sources to cover 32% of final energy consumption (and 55% of final electricity consumption) by 2030;
Energy efficiency to increase by 32% by 2030;
At what cost to the people of Europe?!?!?   This will drive up the cost of living for all Europeans; those just above the poverty line will sink below it.
Subsidies to power plants emitting more than 550gr CO2/kWh (i.e., coal-fired) will be progressively phased out.
Destroying jobs and increasing the cost of living.
Electrical transmission system operators (TSOs) must set up trans-national Regional Coordination Centres by 2023.
These centres will provide a certain number of services such as cross-border capacity calculation and coordinated security analysis;
Ownership of energy storage facilities and EV charging stations by system operators will be tightly controlled.
Why?   The free-market would do a much better job of providing services, and at a lower cost - with the United States being the greatest example.   But Socialist governments explicitly deny the ability of a free market - the people - to take the best course of action (well, of course - given that the definition of "the best course of action" is defined by those in control of the government; that is why Socialism is all about control and the use of force).
Energy regulators should ensure that TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) take appropriate measures to make their network smarter, based on indicators such as capability to operate lines under dynamic line rating, development of remote monitoring and control, grid losses and frequency and duration of outages.   A number of manufacturers successfully proposed and advocated for this concept of a Smart Grid Indicator.
Certainly giving the appearance of those manufacturers being among those jockeying for political power and control as well.
Of course, what other choice do they have?   In a Socialist environment, one must either be in control or be overrun by those who are in control.   Nobody willingly chooses to be a peasant, disregarded by both sides and trampled upon in any conflict.
Nobody has any real familiarity with the subtleties of an American style of government, based on the rights of the individual, and where those individuals control their government not only through their votes but also through their involvement in the government's operation.
The Clean Energy Package will gradually enter into force between now and 2020.
EU pushes forward policies supporting eMobility
With new models of electric cars expected to hit the road this year, and global cumulative electric vehicles (EVs) sales set to exceed 5 million during the first quarter, 2019 will likely be a tipping point for the eMobility industry.   It will also be a key year in Brussels, where European elections at the end of May and the ensuing reshuffle in all European institutions will reshape the political landscape.
In other words, this will set the stage for a tremendous amount of maneuvering for power among EU politicians, as each seeks to achieve dominant political control of Europe and Europeans going forward.   The populace will be further reduced to the level of serfs and pawns.
In view of this, read more about the "Platform for Electro-mobility
", by an alliance of 36 stakeholders   (i.e., another group vying for political power)
including car manufacturers, utilities, NGOs and trade federations.   The platform will be focusing in 2019 on advocating eMobility-friendly policies towards newly appointed civil servants and newly elected policy-makers.
But before EU institutions shut down for the elections, current policy-makers are rushing to close a number of important transport-related pieces of legislation:
Emission performance standards for cars and vans
will be tightened.   (i.e., increased controls)
Just before Christmas, EU institutions informally agreed that CO2 emissions of new cars and vans should decrease by 15% by 2025 and 35% by 2030 (31% for vans).   The emissions of each OEM will be calculated based on the average emissions of the vehicles they sold during the previous year.   As a consequence, OEMs will have to sell   (i.e., quotas will be imposed - which will bankrupt some manufacturers and increase costs, meaning fewer people will be able to afford cars)
a sizeable number of plugin hybrids or pure electric vehicles to offset emissions from traditional vehicles.
A similar law is under negotiations for trucks
.   From 2025 onwards, new trucks would have to emit 15% less CO2 on average.   From 2030, they would have to emit 30% less CO2.   A consensus seems to be in reach between European policy-makers, and the law could be approved before the end of the legislature.
Again - increasing the cost of living for all Europeans, and sending ever more of the population below the poverty line.
Last but not least, the "clean vehicles directive" would mandate public authorities to buy a growing share of low and zero emission vehicles
.   (so taxes will have to go up)
This would impact public transport operators the most.   As an example, under the current text supported by members of the European Parliament, 33% of new buses procured in Germany should be zero-emission from 2021 onwards, reaching 56% after 2025.   Negotiations are progressing slowly and it is unclear if a compromise will be reached between all EU institutions before the elections.
Cybersecurity Act - mandatory testing for IT application to be expanded
Security - but less and less freedom.   Political control uber alles.
In December, EU institutions agreed
on a law which will eventually lead to more mandatory   (and thereby increasing costs for everyone)
cybsersecurity testing in Europe.
A major part of the so-called Cybersecurity Act
is the establishment of Cybersecurity certification schemes for ICT products, services and processes.   The EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) will be tasked to prepare candidate schemes for specific groups of ICT products, processes and services, which can then be legally adopted by the European Commission.
The schemes will be based on a comprehensive set of rules, technical requirements, standards and procedures and cover the full life cycle of products, services or processes.   Any certification scheme will be labelled with one of three sets of assurance levels depending on aspects such resilience to accidental or malicious data loss or alteration.   The three levels are: basic, substantial or high.
Only for the assurance level "basic" will self-certification
be possible, i.e., the manufacturer or ICT-provider declares having done all the necessary checks which ensure conformity.   For any ICT-application with higher assurance levels ("substantial" or "high"), third-party testing
, in one form or another, is likely to be necessary in the future.
As always, more and more controls in the name of "protection" from other people, but never more protection where it is needed the most - protection from the government.
The Cybersecurity Act will formally enter into force in the first half of 2019, after which ENISA will start assessing and proposing certification schemes to the European Commission.
10 December 2018
Here is the December 2018 EU Update Report,
from our good friend and favorite author in Europe
Comments and references to our webpages have been added where relevant.
How to decarbonize Europe by 2050 - European Commission roadmap
The European Commission published on 28 November a strategy with proposals to reach 80-95% Greenhouse Gas reductions by 2050
.   See the main elements of this strategy here
, which will touch on virtually all sectors of economic activity, in particular energy, transport, buildings and industry.
In other words, free-market economies - personal choices of how to spend your money - are to be replaced by the dictates of Socialist elitists.   The cost of living will go up, and those who are just above the economic borderline of being able to support themselves will sink into real poverty.   That will increase welfare-support costs, which will have to be paid for by higher taxes.   Europe's decline will continue.
See our Climate change website to see why more CO2 is better, not worse.
Two days before the publication, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic
received the Roundtable for Europe's Energy Future
, a group of European energy companies which want to drive the energy transition.   Claudio Facchin is chairing this group of companies, which includes ABB, Tennet, Statnett, RTE, APG, Mavir, Statkraft, National Grid, Elia and GE.   Claudio Facchin and his peers pointed out
that the power grids will be in the center of this transition.   Planning has to start now across all sectors and stakeholders to strengthen and smarten the electricity grids within and across countries.
Brexit agreement would avoid no-deal scenario in 2019, but leave future UK-EU relationship open
On 25 November, all heads of the 27 remaining EU Member States unanimously approved the text (here
) of a withdrawal agreement
with the UK.   This text, which UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government had negotiated with the European Commission over the past months, sets the bare bones for the future UK-EU relationship, which however still needs to be negotiated.
Crucially for business, this withdrawal agreement would trigger a transition period
from Brexit Day (29 March 2019) until end 2020, during which all EU laws and rules would continue to apply to the UK, except that it would not be part of the EU Institutions (Commission, Parliament, Council) anymore.   This is an arrangement comparable to the relationship Norway currently has with the EU.   The transition period would end on 31 December 2020, but could be prolonged by one or two years.
As a sort of red line for the yet-to-be-negotiated future UK-EU relationship (for which only a 36-page political declaration
exists so far), the withdrawal agreement defines as "backstop
" that the UK would remain in the EU customs union
, if no future agreement is found.   In addition, Northern Ireland
would remain in the EU single market for goods
to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, one of the remaining 27 Member States.
As it has to be decided by 1 July 2020
whether the UK wants to prolong the transition period, this date would be the new milestone by which an EU-UK agreement has to be negotiated.
However, first of all the UK Parliament needs to approve the withdrawal agreement in a vote on 11 December
.   If approved, negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship will start in earnest.   If not, the Brexit process would plunge into uncertainty and could still result in a hard Brexit on 29 March 2019, i.e., the UK leaving the EU without an agreement.
Screening Foreign Direct investments - EU agrees on common framework
On 20 November, EU institutions (Commission, Council, Parliament) reached an agreement on a framework for screening Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the EU.
The agreement largely follows a law proposal (text here
) by the European Commission from one year ago.   It will give the European Commission
the possibility to screen FDI
which are likely to affect projects of EU interest
on the grounds of security
or public order
.   In addition it establishes a coordination mechanism
among EU Member States when it comes to national screening of FDI.   While the definition of the terms "projects of EU interest", "security" and "public order" are open for interpretation, this regulation aims to complement various national FDI screening (and blocking) mechanisms
, such as Germany's Aussenwirtschaftsgesetz.   De facto, Europe is following the US trend
, where the authority of CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the US) was also recently expanded to enable stronger investment protectionism.
In a press release (text here
) welcoming the agreement on the screening mechanism, the European Trade Commissioner expressed the willingness "to protect critical technology and infrastructure in Europe
9 December 2018
Europe's "new world order" in tatters
2 December 2018
Tax Riots in Paris
3 November 2018
So you think you want socialized medicine?   See it in action in Great Britain
25 October 2018
Free Speech in the EU - except when there is not
13 October 2018
Freedom in UK declines bite by bite - forcing pizza sellers on calories of pizzas
"willing to do whatever it takes to keep children healthy and well in this country"
Britain second-least free state in Europe
10 October 2018
Here is the October 2018 EU Update Report,
from our good friend and favorite author in Europe
Comments and references to our webpages have been added where relevant.
EUs road to decarbonisation to become wider, and possibly steeper
In line with the global agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris three years ago to keep global warming below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, and preferably no higher than 1.5°C, the European Commission will publish a new strategy to curb EU emissions by 80-95% in 2050 compared to 1990.   This strategy is to be released ahead of the UN COP24 Climate Conference
in the Polish town of Katowice in December.
See our webpage on Debunking Climate Change for a general discussion on these issues.
Also, if you read the (Kindle) book, Global Warming Skepticism for Busy People, by Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer, you will learn that the measurements needed to ascertain human-induced climate change, as well as normal climate change, require more precision than is technologically possible.
Even more interesting is the fact that CO2 gas is at historically low levels:   275 ppm (parts per million), and that plants literally starve at 200 parts per million.   Doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would yield trillions of dollars for agriculture due to increased plant growth.   Such an increase in CO2 would have no impact on animals and humans; CO2 is considered a "trace gas".   Twenty percent of the atmosphere is the oxygen we need, but only 0.0275 percent of the air is CO2.   Twice that is still infinitesimal.
Finally, in 2001, the IPCC itself stated on page 78 of its Third Assessment Report, "The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible." Additional quotes of a similar nature were also made.   No significant scientific breakthroughs have changed that status since; newer reports simply ignore those statements.
The new strategy will come just months after the EU Institutions officially adopted into law a 40% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030.   This, however, might not prove enough if the long term target is to be reached.   The European Commission might ask EU Member States to approve an increased 2030 target of 45%.   The dramatic urgency for action on climate change has just been underpinned by the latest report
of the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which received a lot of attention by EU policymakers.
This will result in lowered standards of living for the European populace.   Simple economics makes it clear tht using more expensive methods causes an increase in the cost of living.   An increase in poverty is inevitable, as is poorer quality of life for whatever remains of the middle class.
All this forced change is due to a false understanding of climate change.   The result is going to be a general decline of Europe compared to China, the U.S., and elsewhere.
Repercussions are already being felt on transport policy, see article below.   Besides transport, the heating (i.e., building) sector will "feel the heat" of decarbonisation policy in the future.
Member States are divided, however.   central European member states, in particular, are opposed to more ambitious decarbonisation measures.   Business has started to positioning itself on the EU 2050 climate strategy.   A number of large European companies have submitted views to the official European Commission consultation.   So have a number of federations, such as T&D Europe
Hurrah for the central European member states!   Let us hope they stand their ground, and through their rejection of this policy, cause it to be rescinded.
Who will be the next President of the European Commission?
In about one year, the current European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker, will step down and with him all European Commissioners, ending their 5-year term in office.   The European treaties say that the new President will then be chosen by heads of government of EU Member States at a European Council meeting, "taking into account the elections to the European Parliament".
But the populace has no voice.   Nothing has changed since the days of Communism and Kings and Emperors.   Until the people have a total voice, in a republic - i.e., the rule of law - a constitutional law the populace creates through their own conventions, and not the edicts of "commissions", their lives are little different from those of serfs and peasants under the domination of the nobles in their manors.
In view of these elections, to take place in May 2019, the big factions in the European Parliament are currently selecting their so-calles "Spitzenkandidat" (German for "lead candidate").   The Spitzenkandidat, who manages to gather a majority of seats in the European Parliament, is then understood to be chosen as the Commission President by EU heads of government.   It should be noted, however, that this is no legal automatism, so there is room for compromise candidates, especially if no clear parliamentary majority emerges.
In other words, the noblemen are still the only ones selecting their king, and that they still think of the "lower class" - the serfs and peasants - as too ignorant to know better.   Europeans are still stuck in the Dark Ages - the primitive attitude of the rulers limits the progress of Europe's culture.
The only parties who at this stage could hope for gathering a majority behind them in the European Parliament are the conservative European People's Party
and the Alliance of Socialists & Democrats
.   The parties will chose their official Spitzenkandidat in November and December, respectively.   The conservative candidates are Manfred Weber from Bavaria in Germany as well as former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.   The contenders from the social democrats, so far, are Maros Sefcovic, currently European Commission Vice President for Energy, as well as former Dutch Foreign Minister and current Deputy to Jean-Claude Juncker in the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.
Sweden is a sterotypical example of Europe's problem.   With a king who knows nothing of economics, and a parliament which, having stripped him of his power, retains that power while acting in his name, and his bankers, the Wallenbergs, who do likewise, Sweden is in decline and slowly descends into poverty.   The properity enjoyed in more capitalistic times is disappearing.   Despotic Socialism slowly eats away at Sweden's vitality, as it is also doing in the rest of Europe.
EU measures to accelerate the shift to low-emission cars, vans and buses
Making the decline in the standard of living even faster.
On 9 October, EU Environment ministers agreed in Luxembourg on ambitious emission performance standards for cars and vans: manufacturers will have to reduce the CO2 emissions of their cars by 35% by 2030.   Compliance of OEMs will be assessed every year against the average emissions of their newly registered cars, a mechanism which will likely drive car manufacturers to add plug-in hybrids or pure electric vehicles to their offering to lower their average emissions.
As noted above, higher CO2 quantities are a good thing - if it were even possible for human activity to have an impact.
While this news attracted most media attention, another file was keeping members of the European Parliament busy in Brussels.   On 10 October, the Environment committee of the European Parliament adopted a proposal mandating public authorities to procure low-emission vehicles.   The so-called "Clean vehicles directive" would require public authorities such as local governments and city administrations - but also publicly owned companies, public transport companies and utilities - to buy a minimum share of clean vehicles (i.e., vehicles powered by biofuels, LPG, hydrogen, electricity including plugin hybrids).   Out of these clean vehicles, a certain share should be zero-emission.   As an example under this law, in Germany, at least 50% of new buses procured between 2020 and 2025 should be clean, 50% of which should be zero-emission.   After 2025, these figures would climb to 75% and 66% respectively.
Increasing the cost of government operations.   Taxes will have to increase, worsening further the cost of living for Europeans.
Meanwhile, European companies will be less competitive in the world marketplace, compounding the reduction in the cost of living for Europeans.
A coordinated Platform exists for an electro-mobility advocacy campaign on this topic and the proposed zero-emission vehicles targets would benefit the electromobility industry, in particular the e-bus market.   Yet, this law proposal still requires the support and approval of environment ministers from EU Member States.   If Member States can agree on this text, final adoption is expected in the first half of 2019.
Let us hope they never agree!
Plea for free trade of electrical steel before the European Commission
One company was granted an official hearing with the Trade Directorate of the European Commission on 13 September on electrical steel.   At issue is the manufacture of transformers, motors, generators,etc.   The case was argued for exempting electrical steel from EU "safeguard measures" aimed at preventing steel products hit by US steel tariffs to enter the EU at lower prices.
While Grain Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES) for transformers has been so far exempted, the EU currently has a provisional quota in place for Non-Grain Oriented Electrical Steel (NGOES) for motors and generators, which has been in place since July 2018.   This means that imports of NGOES from anywhere in the world, exceeding a specific quota, will be subject to a 25% import tariff.
In arguing the case, it was stated that the user industries of electrical steel generate substantially more growth and jobs than the producers of electrical steel in Europe.   In addition, high-quality motors, generators and transformers are needed for a more efficient energy system with less carbon emissions.   In particular, the expected massive uptake of electric cars in the coming years could require a big amount of NGOES.
No separation of powers in Europe!   Separate and independent legislative, executive (enforcement), and judicial powers are contrary to Socialist control of the masses.
Final EU decisions on safeguard measures are expected in the beginning of 2019.
The "decision" is simple:   negotiate with President Trump to mutually roll back tariffs!   A level playing field is better for everyone!   Add to that eliminating restrictions, increasing freedoms, and fostering greater participation in the government for everybody, and Europe would be the economic powerhouse it should be.   "Make Europe Great Again!"
Fortune magazine gets it:   MAGA makes possible Make the World Great Again.
2 October 2018
US stocks a better buy - Socialist EU cannot keep up
27 September 2018
Growth of populist, anti-global parties in Europe
11 September 2018
Here is the September 2018 EU Update from our good friend and favorite author in Europe
What to expect from EU politics ahead of Brexit & EU elections?
Preparation for two landmark events in 2019 will be increasingly dominating EU politics this autumn and winter:   Brexit on 29 March, and the European Parliament elections end of May.
As regards Brexit, positions seem to be hardening between the EU and the UK on what their future relationship should look like.   The spectre of a "no-deal" Brexit has been conjured by both sides, and is likely to remain at the negotiating table as an option until well into 2019.   Business representatives from the EU as well as the UK have strongly rejected such an option (see joint declaration here
The European Parliament elections in May will not only decide on legislative majorities but also on who will lead the other two EU institutions.-.the European Commission and the European Council - for the next five years.   It will force national parties in Europe to decide with whom to build coalitions across national borders.   For example, it is as yet unclear which parties will gather behind the new social-liberal movement of French President Macron, or which parties will officially side with the ruling right-wing parties in Italy and Hungary, Northern League and Fidesz.
Against this background, a lot of important legislative and political decisions will still be pushed through before the European Parliament dissolves in April, including:   Brexit and its impact on trade, steel quotas and tariffs, the EU-Japan free-trade agreement, clean energy, and energy storage, energy taxation, 2050 EU energy strategy, drinking water directive, regulation of water re-use, requirements for solar inveters, requirements for electric batteries, EU funding of R&D, clean vehicles directive, emissions standards, regulation of free flow of personal data, cybersecurity, publication of a plan on artificial intelligence, and more.
No freedom here.   Its glaring absence tells the whole story.
The EU continues socialism's march to total control.
15 July 2018
CO2 emissions reduced in the US, but increase in the EU
The free market wins, socialism loses.
Here is the July 2018 EU Update from a favorite author and good friend in Europe
While global trade conflict is smoldering, the EU imposes provisional measures on steel
As Brussels is preparing for another visit of US President Trump this week on the occasion of a NATO Summit, the spectre of a fully-fledged trade war continues hanging in the air.
In a move less mediatized than the latest US-China tariffs, the EU decided on 5 July to introduce provisional safeguard measures on imports of certain steel types.   These measures are imposed on imports regardless of their country of origin and are formally intended to prevent steel hit by US tariffs to be diverted to the EU.
Advocacy action by corporations and trade federations led to the exemption of electrical steel for transformers from protectionist measures.   However, electrical steel for motors and generators is currently included in the measures.   The EU measures consist of a specific import quota above which a 25% tariff will be levied.   They will take effect later this month, with an exact date to be defined.   The measures are provisional, so discussions will continue, and a number of countries, such as Finland, Sweden, and Estonia are critical of them.
The bulk of EU measures could actually hit Chinese steel, which makes the visit of China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Europe this week particularly timely.   The EU had earlier launched an official complaint against China at the World Trade Organisation for alleged "unfair technology transfers".
EU's new 2030 energy targets translate into 55% renewable electricity
After a year and a half of negotiations, the 8 legislative files forming the "Clean Energy Package" to define the EU energy market for the next decade are now being closed one after the other.   In that context the European Institutions have now concluded their negotiations on new targets for 2030.   Next to the already agreed 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 (compared to 1990), renewable energy should now represent 32% of the energy consumed in 2030.   This translates into roughly 55%, if one considers only electricity.   Currently about one third of the EU's electricity comes from renewable sources.   In addition energy efficiency is set to improve by 32,5%, compared to business as usual, in 2030.
Energy targets were one of the most debated issues among EU policymakers, yet more important decisions are still outstanding: the laws on "Electricity Market Design" setting detailed rules for the functioning of European electricity markets - including on the ownership of storage or the rules for self-generation of electricity - are still to be agreed during the second half of the year.   The European trade federation of grid technology suppliers, will use the last few months of the negotiations to further promote the idea of developing a smart grid indicator, following the example of the US grid modernization index.
8 June 2018
France's Macron, Canada's Trudeau start row against Trump going into G7 Summit
"The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion," states Trump, "Europe and Canada are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers."
Time for more balanced trade, Europe and Canada.   Even up the playing field.
Here is another EU Update from a favorite author and good friend in Europe
EU Policy Update - May 2018
This newsletter highlights recent developments in EU policy and regulation that are of particular importance to business interests.
As EU prepares reaction to US import tariffs, industry fights on electrical steel exemptions.
On 1 June the US ended exemptions for the EU (as well as for Canada and Mexico) on the tariffs for steel and aluminium imported into the US.   Electrical steel - used for the production of transformers, motors and generators - is part of the steel types on which a 25% tariff will be imposed.   The EU reaction to US tariffs will be twofold:
First, the EU will, probably in July, enact retaliation tariffs on a number of products, although not electric steel.   The full list of products can be found here.   Retaliation tariffs, in turn, could further exacerbate tensions: the US has already started an investigation into possible tariffs on imported cars, which would hit Europe especially hard.
Second, the EU is currently carrying out a so-called safeguard investigation, which could result in tariffs on steel and aluminium from third countries hit by US tariffs (such as Asian countries).   This is meant to prevent steel and aluminium, which otherwise would have gone to the US, from lowering prices in the EU.   Electrical steel is part of this investigation, and a number of companies have signed up as an interested party to the European Commission to make the case against safeguard measures on electrical steel.   First decisions are expected as early as June.
The European Commission recently released an initiative on Artificial Intelligence (available here) with three main strategic objectives:
to increase European investments in AI
to prepare Europeans for socio-economic changes brought by AI
to guarantee an appropriate ethical and legal framework.
AI is expected to transform industry in the coming years.   Besides the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, customers who shared their views at the event included Hakan Agnevall from Volvo Buses, Eddie OConnor from Mainstream Renewable Power and Wouter Ceulemans from Atlas Copco.
New buildings to be "eMobility-ready" across the EU from 2020 onwards
On 14 May, the EU Institutions adopted the "Energy Performance of Buildings Directive", a text aiming at improving energy efficiency in buildings, accelerating renovation, and paving the way for the uptake of electric vehicles.
The Platform for Electro-Mobility - of which a number of companies are members - had advocated over the last year in favour of mandating a minimum deployment of EV charging spots in buildings.   The final compromise found among European policymakers partly meets the expectations of the EV industry and should foster the market for slow-charging solutions:
*   In new and deeply renovated non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking space, 10% of the parking spaces will have to be equipped with a recharging point, and 20% will have to be equipped with conduits facilitating the later installation of a charging point.
*   In new and deeply renovated residential buildings, with more than 10 parking spaces, all of them will have to be equipped with conduits facilitating the later installation of a charging point.
The new law is expected to enter into force in June 2018 and Member States will have 20 months to implement it.
17 April 2018
France's Macron warns of EU "civil war" between eastern, western countries
7 February 2018
Merkel makes concessions to form new government after four months
30 January 2018
- Thanks once again to a good friend and one of our favorite authors!
EU Policy Update - January 2017
Amid general stability, Brexit showdown looms
While EU economic sentiment is at its highest since 2000
, leaders of the two biggest parties in Germany agreed in January on their intention to renew the current "grand coalition".   If negotiations are successful, the two biggest EU countries - Germany and France - will have governments wanting to strengthen EU and Eurozone integration.
Such a drive, however, is set to mobilise counterforces.   In Poland, for example, the government is trying to stave off EU policy influence.   Just before Christmas the European Commission triggered a procedure against the Polish government under Article 7 of EU Treaties
because it thinks that the independence of the Polish judicial system cannot be guaranteed anymore.   In other Central European countries, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, governments share distrust of too much EU power.   Also in Italy, which will hold federal elections on 4 March, Eurosceptic sentiment is high albeit more focused against austerity policies.
While tensions around the EU's future might or might not erupt, a clash over Brexit seems almost inevitable this year.   The UK government, on one side, and EU Institutions, on the other, keep defending irreconcilable negotiation positions.   The UK government maintains its red lines of not wanting to be part of the Internal Market anymore, while the European Commission maintains an "all or nothing" approach, where either the UK accepts EU internal market rules or will be treated like a third country, such as Canada, in all aspects.   In between, the Irish question looms, where a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (which is full EU member) must be avoided.   A deal needs to be struck at or around a European Council in October, and this deal will then need to be approved by the UK Parliament later in autumn.
Cybersecurity rules - industry wants to remain in the driving seat
In September 2017 the European Commission proposed a new Cybersecurity Legislative Package
, which is currently being debated by EU Institutions for adoption by the end of 2018.
The general direction of the new package is similar to the 2016 EU Directive on the Security of Networks and Information Systems
, which defines cyber-critical infrastructure in Europe and which is currently being implemented at national level.   More resources to build up cybersecurity capacity throughout the European Union is an objective.
At the same time, there are concerns about a proposal in the package to move towards third-party certification and testing of cybersecurity standards by default.   The validity of cybersecurity tests very much depends on the framework conditions of the tests.   At worst, costly third-party testing can create a false sense of security among users.   Self-declaration of conformity, based on international standards, defined by industry itself in bodies such as the IEC or ISA, are well-proven procedures, which companies say should not be easily given up.
At an event in a European Parliament on 23 January, the manufacturing industry discussed with EU politicians their views about the new cybersecurity proposals.   It became clear that a number of companies had similar concerns.   The respective position papers of European industry federations Orgalime and ZVEI are available for viewing.
EU Institutions inching closer to an agreement on the Clean Energy Package
In November 2016, the European Commission released a set of 8 legislative proposals
to improve the internal energy market, better integrate large shares of renewable energy sources, empower consumers and set the energy sector on a course compatible with the Paris Agreement.
Over the last year, the European Parliament on the one hand, and the Council of the EU (i.e., national government ministers) on the other hand, have been meeting separately and regularly to discuss and amend the proposed pieces of legislation.   This process culminated on 18 December when the Council agreed on its position
on future electricity market design.   Slightly lagging behind, the European Parliament is scheduled to agree on its own proposals on 21 February.
Once both positions are known, a final negotiation phase will start and the two institutions will have to reconcile their views.   While the European Parliament is expected to back high energy efficiency (40%) and renewable energy (35%) targets for 2030, the Council of the EU would like both targets to be set at 27% over concerns that higher targets may burden their economies.   Due to this wide gap, negotiations are not expected to be concluded before the summer, at the earliest.
Regardless of this delay and uncertain future targets, technical provisions for improving the internal energy market and integrate renewable energy (shorter imbalance settlement period, smaller bid sizes, balancing responsibility, right to self-consumption, phase-out of non-market-based support scheme) benefit from wide policy-makers support.   In addition, the trade federation T&D Europe, continues to advocate for the benefits of Smart Grid KPIs
, on which grid operators should report in order to facilitate investments in digital solutions to make the grid more intelligent and more efficient.
19 January 2018
Germany begins to ponder life after Merkel
18 January 2018
EU fearful of populism, tightens immigration
"We cant welcome everyone, and we cant act without rules."
4 January 2018
German newspaper says NAZI-style CENSORSHIP law should be scrapped
3 January 2018
NAZI-style CENSORSHIP in Germany!
It's not freedom when it can be taken away by the government.
Freedom is when the government is not permitted to take it away.
And more:   NAZI-style CENSORSHIP in Germany!
30 December 2017
East-West European Divide is Bigger Than Brexit
A growing political gulf between central Europe and western EU powers.   Brussels triggered Article 7 against Poland a punishment that can lead to states being stripped of their voting rights in EU institutions.   Hungary is likely to face a similar reprimand.
15 December 2017
Brexit talks break impasse; negotiations continue.
20 November 2017
Merkel unable to form new government
4 November 2017
Ambassador Nikki Haley berates UN resolution against US embargo of Cuba
Only Israel voted with us.   Where was Britain?   Where was the EU?
Clearly, being in power supersedes human rights for those in power in those countries.   Looks like you are more interested in staying in control.   Wouldn't want your serfs to get any radical ideas from the United States that would upset your applecart - like that freedom is a right
- would you?   That might get inconvenient for you.
Don't miss what happened, and what it means.   When it came right down to it, Britain and all the other so-called progressive countries of Europe showed their true colors.   They stood with the tyrants and dictators of the world, against individual rights and freedom.   It's as simple as that.
21 October 2017
Czech Trump clinches victory, eurosceptics boosted
Far right scores surpising successes
"The European Union can't be reformed. It only dictates to us. We refuse the multicultural European superstate. Let's leave the EU."
16 October 2017
Austrian wins on lower taxes, less red tape, tighter immigration
Rightward lurch is Europe's New Normal
Populists set to thrash traditional parties in Czech vote
EU Holds Its Breath After Right-Wing Austrian Victory
Brussels On Edge
2 October 2017
EU in crisis due to Catalonia referendum and violence by Spain's masked policemen
Overwhelming vote for independence from Spain!
Freedom? Human rights? The EU
is not-so-strangely silent; socialism uber alles!
1 October 2017
No freedom of speech in Spain - police smash referendum voting in Catalonia
24 September 2017
The Trump effect reaches Germany
The Alternative for Germany Party
finishes third; wins seats in the German Parliament
Read here to find out what the AfD is
- Fascist they are not
22 September 2017
As Germany heads to the polls, a growing split is occurring between voters and the elites
"Voters" and "elites"??? This is aristocracy and serfs
all over again.   Europeans still fail to keep a leash on their elected officials; they still have the attitude of arrogance once they are in power.   Europeans need to act like citizens
; they need to recognize that it is their
government, and they need to remind their politicians not to forget it - Europeans need to stay involved
; to take political action.
12 September 2017
- Thanks to a good friend and one of our favorite authors!
EU focus this autumn:   Preparing for Brexit, Digitalization, and Clean Transport
In EU politics
, the official new year does not start in January but in September, more precisely on 13 September when Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, will hold his State of the Union
speech. It will herald the last full year before the European Parliament dissolves in Spring 2019, at about the same time as the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Without the United Kingdom, the Eurozone - i.e., EU countries which share the common Euro currency - will then make up as much as 85% of the EUs total GDP. Some countries, such as France, therefore openly flirt with ideas for a stronger political governance of the Eurozone.
This newsletter highlights recent developments in EU policy and regulation that are of particular importance.
Discussions on such big political questions will only start in earnest, once a new government is formed in Germany, where federal elections will be held on 24 September. Although it is all but certain that Angela Merkel will remain chancellor, the exact composition of the future German Parliament is highly uncertain. Difficult coalition negotiations might delay the formation of a new German government, and with that progress on Brexit negotiations and the post-Brexit EU.
The new EU initiatives to watch in particular this autumn include:
-   a law proposal prohibiting any restrictions on the free movement of data
across borders for reasons other than national security.
-   a new action plan on cybersecurity
, which might include minimum cybersecurity requirements for connected devices.
-   a policy package to advance the uptake of clean transport
European Commission to address the "chicken-and-egg" challenge of electric vehicles
On 13 July, the European Commission, together with representatives of European cities and regions as well as infrastructure suppliers, signed the European Clean Bus Deployment Initiative
, to bolster public investment in buses running on electricity, hydrogen, and biogas.
This declaration chimes with a series of EU initiatives to tackle the "chicken-and-egg" challenge of clean vehicles, whereby consumers do not purchase clean vehicles because of the lack of infrastructure, while potential infrastructure operators do not invest because of the lack of vehicles on the road.
The European Parliament is currently discussing a law requiring petrol stations to sell a minimum share of renewable fuels. The share could be reached through either higher reliance on biofuels, or deployment of charging infrastructure sourcing electricity from renewable sources.   debate on electro-mobility
occurred in the EU Parliament, on 7 September.
Moreover, the European Commission is expected to release in November an "action plan" - backed up with grants and various financing schemes - to accelerate the deployment of clean vehicle infrastructure along highways. It will also propose new emission performance standards for cars and may even introduce a "zero-emission vehicles program
", inspired by California. Such a programme would encourage car manufacturers to sell a minimum share of zero-emission vehicles.
Proposal to make building automation mandatory stirs debate at European Parliament
Buildings account for 40% of energy use in the EU, and 36% of CO2 emissions
, making them a prime target for policies aiming at curbing EU energy import dependence and abating climate change. The first EU-wide requirements for buildings were adopted in 2002, updated in 2010, and are now set to be revised again by the beginning of next year.
One important aspect of the new text relates to Building Automation and Control systems (BACs). While the conservative party in the European Parliament rejects regulating them, the social democrats have proposed to make them compulsory by 2023 for all energy-intensive buildings, defined as consuming more than 250 MWh/year or with an electricity connection above 100 kW.
Attendees to the European Manufacturing Forum
presented their views on building automation technologies to the European Parliament on 6 September.   Topics that were discussed included the low cost and high impact of building automation in terms of energy savings and comfort.
Idea of a "smart grids indicator" attracting attention from all political parties
With a rising number of renewable energy sources being connected to the grid, the question of managing sudden variations of power generation, congestions and energy dispatch is recognized as a crucial issue by European policymakers discussing the EU clean energy package 2030
Various technologies exist to cope with these challenges, but their deployment requires an appropriate regulatory framework. The European federation T&D Europe
has proposed to create a "grid smartness indicator", based on various data coming from the grid, such as losses, curtailment, frequency and duration of outages, etc. Its purpose would be to better identify where grids need to be modernised, help TSOs and DSOs to demonstrate the reliability of their grids, and highlight the concrete benefits of smarter grids.
During the summer, T&D Europe
's advocacy campaign succeeded in garnering support from the main political groups in the EP. The actual vote on this proposal, and on the clean energy package in general, is now expected to take place at the end of the year.
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