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In this Morning Brief, we open with the news that the report on the final outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe is now online and available to all, the upcoming EU Missions Info Days on the 17th and 18th of May, a new study by the European Commission unveils how the Common Agricultural Policy is contributing to animal welfare and antimicrobial use reduction, MEPs are backing CO2 emission standards for cars and vans as stated in the Fit for 55 package, and more!  

Any comments or suggestions, hit me up with an email on teresa.carvalho@inesc.pt.

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

The report on the final outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe is now online

The report on the final outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe is now online. The report was presented to the Presidents of the three institutions on 9th of May 2022 and it provides a detailed account of the entire process, including an overview of the various activities undertaken in the context of the Conference and the final 49 proposals on the future of Europe (which were achieved after almost a year of deliberations).

The Conference was an immense challenge: it was the first time that a transnational, multilingual and interinstitutional exercise of deliberative democracy was organized, involving thousands of European citizens as well as political actors, social partners, civil society representatives and key stakeholders. It has also proven its historical relevance and importance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian aggression of Ukraine.

The Conference concluded its work on 9th May 2022, with this report representing the final outcome that includes 49 proposals to the three EU Institutions. The proposals reflect the expectations of European citizens on the nine headline topics of the Conference – “These proposals make very clear that the EU must act to achieve the green and digital transitions, strengthen Europe’s resilience and its social contract, while addressing inequalities and ensuring that the European Union is a fair, sustainable, innovative and competitive economy that leaves no one behind. The geopolitical developments during the Conference, and especially the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, have also shown that the EU needs to be more assertive, taking a leading global role in promoting its values and standards in a world increasingly in turmoil”.

The three Institutions will now examine how to follow up effectively on this report, each within the framework of their competences and in accordance with the Treaties. A feedback event is planned to take place in autumn to update the citizens on the Institutions’ response and their commitment.

Click here for more information.


EU Missions Info Days

EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver concrete results in health, climate and the environment by 2030. At these Info Days the EU will present a wide range of new topics for all five missions, following the amendment to the Missions’ Work Programme 2021- 2022 under Horizon Europe.

This additional funding will bring the implementation of EU Missions one step forward, paving the way to delivering their full potential. You will also have the opportunity to hear about the call to create a European Social Innovation Catalyst Fund to advance EU Mission objectives across the board.

The event will provide potential applicants with specific information on the new Missions’ Work Programme calls, funding opportunities and timelines.

Check the programme here.


New study unveils how the CAP is contributing to animal welfare and antimicrobial use reduction

Today, the European Commission published a study examining how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-20 contributed to improving animal welfare and reducing antimicrobial use. The study provides a snapshot of the situation regarding animal welfare and use of antimicrobials throughout the EU, as well as recommendations to better assess the future achievements of the CAP 2023-27 in that regard. Improving animal welfare and combatting antimicrobial resistance are included in one of the ten objectives of the new CAP, “responding to societal demands on food & health”.

CAP instruments and measures have the ability to contribute to animal welfare and antimicrobial use reduction. In most of the regions/Member States studied, animal welfare and antimicrobial use were mostly addressed through rural development measures. They proved to be most effective when combining investments in better housing conditions, feeding, and health management. For example, by increasing awareness among farmers via advisory services, commitments and training. In most Member States/regions studied, cross-compliance through requirements of the EU legislation on animal welfare and food law was effective in influencing farmers’ practices.

Read more here and check out the study here.


Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030” launches a second wave of actions

The EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030”, a large-scale, “Appollo-11 style” push to protect and restore the health of our ocean and waters, has just launched a second wave of actions. Its aim is to achieve healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems through research and innovation, citizen engagement and blue investments.

Rooted in Horizon Europe, the Mission will use a budget of €117.9 million for the Work Programme 2022 with further, complementary actions and new research and innovation areas. One single call for proposals addresses the three relevant policy objectives:

  • Protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Prevent and eliminate pollution of our oceans, seas and waters
  • Sustainable, carbon-neutral and circular blue economy
  • The call also includes enabling activities to support the development of a Digital Twin of the Ocean (DTO) and public mobilisation and engagement.

The Work Programme 2021-2022 puts special focus on area-based “lighthouses”, which are hubs for the development and deployment of technological, social, business and governance innovative solutions in four major European basins.

The call for proposals is now open (12 May 2022) and the deadline for submissions is 27 September 2022.

Make sure to read more here.


Fit for 55: MEPs back CO2 emission standards for cars and vans

Environment Committee MEPs are in favour of a pathway towards zero-emission road mobility in 2035 for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted on Wednesday, with 46 votes in favour, 40 against and two abstentions, its position on proposed rules to revise the CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans in line with the EU’s increased climate ambition.

In the report, MEPs expressed their support for the Commission proposal to reach zero-emission road mobility by 2035.

Proposed measures include:

  • removing the incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles (‘ZLEV’), as it no longer serves its original purpose;
  • a report by the Commission on the progress towards zero-emission road mobility by the end of 2025 and on a yearly basis thereafter, covering the impact on consumers and employment, the level of renewable energy use as well as information on the market for second-hand vehicles;
  • gradually reducing the cap for eco-innovation, in line with the proposed stricter targets (the existing 7g CO2/km limit should remain until 2024, followed by 5g from 2025, 4g from 2027 and 2g until the end of 2034);
  • a report by the Commission, by the end of 2023, detailing the need for targeted funding to ensure a just transition in the automotive sector, to mitigate negative employment and other economic impacts;
  • a common EU methodology by the Commission, by 2023, for assessing the full life cycle of CO2 emissions of cars and vans placed on the EU market, as well as for the fuels and energy consumed by these vehicles.

Read more here.


Prior information notice related to “Managed Services for the European Open Science Cloud Platform”

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) aims to achieve a federation of infrastructures providing seamless access to interoperable research objects and value-added services for the whole research data cycle, from discovery to storage, management, analysis and reuse.

The procurement is to build and deploy an operational, secure, cloud-based EOSC infrastructure, including a federated EOSC Core Platform and the EOSC Exchange, offering high quality professional services and superior user experience for a large number of users, with the functionalities available 24/7. It should build on the key concepts of federation, standards and processes for Open Science, such as the EOSC Interoperability Framework, FAIR-by-design data, and composable services. The contractor(s) should work closely with the EOSC Association and its members, the European Commission, and the representatives of the EU Member States and associated countries under the EOSC Co-programmed Partnership and Tripartite Governance.

Read more here.

Open Science.


EIB report: COVID-19 pandemic intensified EU’s transition to a digital economy

Close to half of the firms in the European Union report that they invested in digitalisation as a response to COVID-19. Digital firms fared better than non-digital firms through the pandemic. They were less likely to experience a strong decrease in sales from the beginning of 2020, and used the crisis more often as an opportunity to accelerate digitalisation. On average they were more productive, innovative, grew faster and paid higher wages.

Yet with digitalisation advancing, the digital divide in Europe is also increasing. Smaller firms and firms located in regions where digital infrastructure is lacking are at risk of being left behind. Europe needs to focus on three areas above all: an enabling ecosystem, a European vision to counter the imbalances in the European Union, and sufficient policy support to address finance and skills gaps.

These are some of the main findings of the new edition of the European Investment Bank’s Digitalisation In Europe 2021-2022: Evidence from the EIB Investment Survey that was published today. The new report includes the EIB Corporate Digitalisation Index, a cross-country ranking of digital adoption efforts in EU countries and the United States.

Read the summary of the report.


Experts urge rethink of energy metrics to fully decarbonize buildings

According to EURACTIV, “Primary energy consumption is a metric that is commonly used worldwide, including by the European Commission. Most experts agree though that the metric is not fit for purpose when it comes to measuring energy use in buildings. Energy accounting is a challenge. The dominant method until now is the input-reliant system of “primary energy,” which measures the energy content of coal, oil, gas, solar or wind before their conversion into electricity or thermal energy. For fossil fuels, much of the energy is lost in the conversion process, while renewables have little to no conversion losses. This reference to primary energy can be found in all EU climate and energy legislation, including the ‘Fit for 55’ package of laws currently under discussion in Brussels, which aims for a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. However, some are questioning the relevance of using primary energy use as a metric when it comes to buildings, which can be both producers and consumers of energy. In fact, most experts consider the current energy labelling system for buildings to be inaccurate and even unhelpful when it comes to measuring climate performance. “Fundamentally, primary energy use is the wrong metric to focus on. Not a single consumer knows what it refers to, or cares about it,” says Sam Hamels, an energy economics researcher at the university of Gent in Belgium. The reliance on the primary energy metric becomes especially problematic when looking at the assessment of “zero-emission buildings” under the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which is currently up for review. “The use of only one requirement is misleading,” warns the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC) initiative, referring to the global best-in class zero-emission building standard EN ISO 52000-1. Similarly, the construction industry has voiced concerns about the metric in the proposed revision of the EPBD, which was tabled last year as part of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package of energy and climate legislation. Accurately measuring the energy performance of a building’s envelope is crucial because “it will be around for a long time,” explained Katarzyna Wardal, public affairs manager at Knauf insulation. Taking primary energy use as the sole indicator of whether a building is “zero-emissions”, as laid out in the EPBD, “risked missing out energy savings crucial for building users’ thermal comfort and their energy bills,” she explained.”.


European Innovation Ecosystems work programme: Upcoming calls worth €29.5 million

The European Commission has adopted the amended European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) 2021-2022 Work Programme under Horizon Europe. It provides new funding opportunities for deep-tech start-ups led by women and the EU angel investment industry on top of existing actions that aim to create more connected and efficient innovation ecosystems.

Following the very encouraging response to last year’s pilot, the Commission will renew the Women TechEU programme in 2022. The budget will increase to €10 million, which will fund roughly 130 companies (up from 50 last year). The call for proposals will open on 21 June.

A new tender worth €2 million will aim to strengthen and increase women’s representation in innovation and investment ecosystems, notably  by supporting  angel  investors  and  their  syndicates  in  countries  where  these activities  remain  weak. This action will encourage cross-border collaboration with countries with more developed angel investor communities.

These calls will complement the support already offered to women innovators through the European Innovation Council with the EU Prize for Women Innovators and other measures.

The work programme document is available here.


Tech.eu Summit 2022

European tech has boomed – but where do we go from here?

The Tech.eu Summit is bringing together 1,800 thinkers and doers to help shape the best possible future for the European innovation ecosystems. The key focus will be on sustainable growth.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate leaders, policy makers, academics and journalists will convene to carve a path of growth for the European tech scene, and define actions to take its start-up innovation ecosystems to the next level in a sustainable way.

Find out more about the programme and register here.

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