The Belgian Presidency of the EU, a race against time
As the European Parliament elections draw near on 6 & 9 June 2024, Belgium, holding the current Presidency of the Council of the EU, faces a tight schedule to finalise crucial legislative files before the end of its term. With the final European Parliament plenary on 22-25 April, the window to reach compromises is rapidly closing, leaving to the Belgians 150 pending files to wrap up by March. Among pressing matters on the agenda are three pivotal files for hospitality that have gained significant public attention:
- Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)
The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation stands out as one of the Green Deal’s most heavily lobbied pieces. Despite intense negotiations, Belgium aims to conclude this file as soon as possible, as announced by the Belgian Environment Minister, Alain Maron, early December. The first political trilogue on PPWR is foreseen on 5 February, with the objective of reaching an agreement early March at the latest.
I would add link/comment from HOTREC: HOTREC is calling for the coexistence of the two systems – single and multiple-use packaging and urges legislators for clarity & practicability for businesses.
- Platform Workers Directive
Mid-December, the Spanish Presidency managed to reach a provisional agreement on the Platform Workers Directive in trilogue, later on blocked by a coalition of Member States. The responsibility to forge a compromise now falls on the Belgians, who circulated a new draft text to serve as the basis for the next negotiation rounds. The Belgian Presidency aims at striking a deal as soon as possible.
HOTREC has long been calling for robust EU criteria that trigger a transition from self-employed to employee status, all while avoiding automatic reclassification.
- Package Travel Directive (PTD)
Although Belgium has publicly set the revision of the Package Travel Directive as a priority, intelligence suggests that it’s unlikely to be settled on time. Firstly, EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the driving force behind the PTD revision – also a Belgian – is leaving the European Commission for a top job at the Council of Europe. Fuelling extra doubts on the Belgians’ capacity to reach a deal, as we speak, the European Parliament’s lead Committee (Internal Market & Consumer Protection aka IMCO) has failed to officially designate an MEP rapporteur and shadows. To uphold their PTD commitments, Belgians must speed up the next legislative steps.