State of the Union: European recovery and transformation in focus
In her State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented her vision for a Europe that emerges stronger from the COVID-19 crisis and addresses the challenges of climate change, digitization, discrimination and poverty.
She announced several upcoming legislative initiatives and key projects. Despite making no mention of the importance of tourism for Europe’s recovery and international reputation, many of Commission President’s announcements are likely to mobilise the hospitality sector:
- As part of the EU Green Deal, the EU will set more ambitious CO2 emissions’ reductions targets of 55% for 2030. 37% of NextGenerationEU funds will be spent directly on our European Green Deal objectives, and a European renovation wave will seek to boost the energy efficiency of buildings which account for more than 40% CO2 emissions in the EU;
- The European Commission will put forward a legal proposal to support Member States to set up a framework for minimum wages. Respect of national traditions such as collective bargaining will be carefully respected;
- Stressing that SMEs are the ‘engine of recovery’, von der Leyen announced that 16 countries would soon receive the EUR 90 billion from the SURE mechanism to support workers and companies;
- After a 12% drop in GDP in the second quarter of 2020, the EU foresees an economic recovery and will continue providing economic support mechanisms;
- Common European data spaces will aim to maximise the use and re-use of data and address the fact that 80% of industrial data is still collected and never used;
- A renews effort to support connectivity by enhancing broadband access in rural areas and deploying 5G and 6G mobile communication networks;
- An initiative on algorithms and the development a European e-identity to boost individuals’ control over their personal data and that ‘any citizen can use anywhere in Europe to do anything from paying your taxes to renting a bicycle.’;
- A confirmation that the EU will move ahead on a digital taxation proposal if no progress is recorded in current OECD and G20 discussions.
- Minimum wage: HOTREC is of the opinion that minimum wages should remain dealt with at national level either by collective bargaining or national legislation in place. Art 151 of the Treaty of the Function of the European Union rules out the possibility for the EU to legislate on the matter. Subsidiarity should prevail;
- Energy efficiency: HOTREC hopes that Member States will include in their recovery plans renewal of buildings (in order to make them more eco-friendly);
- Tackling carbon footprint: caution and proportionality are relevant when it comes to strong increases on taxation of air travel, as this might have an impact on tourism and the local economy. HOTREC also defends the promotion of on-shore charging stations for cruise ships and for the cruise industry to well distribute the offer;
- Sure mechanism: HOTREC urges Member States to deploy the necessary guarantees so that the mechanism can be fully deployed asap;
- Common European data spaces are encouraged by HOTREC and a framework to facilitate the exchange of data among key private and public tourism entities should be considered.
22 September 2020