Written by Étienne Bassot and Wolfgang Hiller,
More than two years since Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took office on 1 November 2014, having presented the ten priority areas that would serve as his Commission’s guiding lines for the following five years, the European Commission is now approaching the midway point of its mandate. Building on the findings of previous editions, this publication provides an overview of the progress made and the work accomplished during the current Commission’s first two full years in each of the ten priority areas. It assesses what has been delivered against what has been announced, both quantitatively and qualitatively, taking stock of what has been achieved on the path of ‘getting Europe back to work’, and identifying those areas where difficulties have been experienced or further efforts are still required. For each of the ten priorities, the most important developments are highlighted, while a graphic provides a snapshot of the number of initiatives announced, ongoing or finalised. These snapshots are regularly updated on the legislative trains application on the European Parliament’s website.
The new interinstitutional agreement on better law-making, adopted in April 2016, contains specific provisions formalising the increased involvement of Parliament in the annual programming exercise, and in particular on the content and follow-up of its initiatives. At the same time, however, the rather general nature of the annual work programme itself, and synergies between priorities, can complicate the task of scrutinising its delivery. This makes it all the more important to examine in depth the nature of the outcome in practice and across all the policy areas concerned.
During its first year in office, the Juncker Commission adopted strategic documents on all ten of its stated priorities. The 2016 work programme promised a continuation of that initial thrust, with a large number of legislative and non-legislative initiatives envisaged and policy packages responding, to a varying extent, and sometimes differing levels of ambition, to Parliament’s concerns. In some of the priority areas, almost all of the originally promised initiatives have already been delivered. In others, gaps still remain. The rate of progress on those that have been delivered also differs considerably. While some have already been adopted and others are under consideration in Parliament, or are subject to ongoing negotiations between Parliament and Council, progress on some of those identified by the Commission as a priority is often solely dependent on the Council, Parliament having already adopted its position on the matter, in some cases as long ago as 2013. It remains to be seen whether, and to what extent, these aspects will be addressed through the implementation of the 2017 work programme, adopted by the Commission in October 2016.
Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘The Juncker Commission’s ten priorities: State of play at the start of 2017‘.