As foreseen in its 2015 Work Programme, the Commission today decided to withdraw two legislative proposals on which the co-legislators have not been able to find a timely political agreement, and to replace them with new initiatives in the 2016 Work Programme. The Commission also confirmed that it will continue to work with the co-legislators for an agreement on a third proposal where political discussions have advanced significantly.
The College discussed the progress of the three legislative proposals that were scheduled in the 2015 Work Programme for withdrawal within six months, if the co-legislators could not reach agreement. The Council has concluded that there is no prospect of progress on the proposed Maternity Leave Directive. It is unlikely that the proposed Earth Observation Satellite Data Directive could be adopted in a form that would meet its internal market objectives. The Commission will now formally confirm to the European Parliament and the Council its intention to proceed to withdraw these proposals, and will propose new initiatives aiming to meet their policy objectives in a more effective way.
Significant progress has been made on the proposed Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, so the Commission has decided to maintain this proposal.
The Maternity Leave Directive was proposed in 2008 by the European Commission, but the co-legislators have still not been able to come to an agreement. The Parliament indicated its political will to continue negotiations before the Commission presented its 2015 Work Programme, so the Commission agreed to allow an additional six months before withdrawing the proposal. The Commission has engaged in intensive efforts to break the deadlock and has on several occasions urged the Council to re-enter discussions with the Parliament, which has expressed a readiness to find compromises. However, the Latvian Presidency of the Council has informed the Commission that there is no prospect for an agreement.
In withdrawing the proposal, the Commission wishes to make a clear break from the current stalemate and to open up the way for a new initiative that can be agreed and lead to real improvements in the lives of working parents and carers with the aim of better reconciling professional and private life, facilitating female participation on the labour market and providing minimum protection to mothers. Before the withdrawal becomes effective, the Commission will outline ideas for a new approach in the form of a roadmap towards a new initiative to be included in the Commission Work Programme for 2016 (IP/15/5287).
Dissemination of Earth Observation Satellite Data
The proposed Directive aims to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market for Earth observation data, providing for free circulation of authorised high-resolution satellite data. Discussions on the proposal to date indicate that positions diverge significantly, due in part to the fact that only five Member States currently have a satellite data provider on their territory. Many of these Member States expressed concerns with regard to the security implications of the proposal. Despite the Commission's intensive contacts with the Council and the European Parliament, it has become apparent that reconciling different positions would require significant modifications which would affect the objectives of the original proposal. The Commission will therefore withdraw its proposal and will come forward with a new initiative which will be included in the Commission Work Programme for 2016.
Organic Production and labelling of Organic Products
Although the six-month deadline for reaching an agreement on this proposal has also not been met, the co-legislators have made significant progress and are working towards conclusion of an agreement on this issue. The Council adopted a General Approach on 16 June following intensive preparatory work, and the European Parliament tabled a draft Report on 7 May. Trilogue discussions to find a compromise between the institutions are expected to start during the Luxembourg Presidency. The Commission has therefore decided to maintain its proposal and support the co-legislators in their work.
In Annex II of its 2015 Work Programme, the Commission identified a list of 80 pending proposals which would be withdrawn or amended in line with the principle of political discontinuity.
Of these 80 proposals, 73 were included for withdrawal, 3 would be withdrawn if no agreement could be reached within 6 months, 3 would be amended and 1 would be evaluated.
On 25 February the College confirmed the withdrawal of 73 pending legislative proposals. These withdrawals were formalised on 7 March in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The Commission has today reviewed the three proposals subject to a six-month sunset clause, and taken the decision to withdraw two of them. This decision will be formalised in the Official Journal of the European Union in due course.
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