On 27 October 2015, the European Commission published its 2016 Work Programme (“No time for business as usual”) which sets out the initiatives which it will bring forward over the coming year. This is the second such Work Programme to be published by the Commission since Jean-Claude Juncker took over the presidency and, importantly from a competition law perspective, the digital single market and energy union strategies are again emphasised.
The digital single market strategy was proposed in the Commission’s 2015 Work Programme. Its stated intention is to have presented all relevant proposals by the end of 2016. The Commission’s aim is to "break down national silos" in telecoms regulation, copyright, data protection, frequency management and competition law. To this end, the Commission states that it:
- is working on a comprehensive review of the telecoms regulatory framework;
- will revise the audio-visual and media services directive, the satellite and cable directive and the regulation on consumer protection cooperation; and
- will work with its co-legislators to reach agreement by the end of 2015 on the data protection reform and the network and information security directives.
With regard to its energy union strategy, the Commission highlights the EU's significant role in the forthcoming Paris climate talks. It promises that the implementation of the 2030 energy and climate package will be a key priority for 2016. In addition to this, proposals mentioned in the Work Programme include:
- an “effort-sharing” scheme for sectors outside of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS);
- promoting the use of non-discriminatory road-charging schemes based on the polluter-pays and user-pays principles; and
- initiatives on a new design for the European energy market, security of energy supply and renewables and energy efficiency.
Community Week will be monitoring these developments with interest throughout 2016.