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By LILI BAYER
With thanks to Cory Bennett
Tips tales traumas to the POLITICO Brussels Team at @liliebayer or [email protected] | View in your browser
Good afternoon and welcome back to EU Influence.
UKRAINE CRISIS FALLOUT
GERMANY’S ‘SHORT-SIGHTED EGOISM’: Germany — and the EU — must take more immediate measures to help Ukraine. That’s the message from 96 experts on eastern Europe and international security in a new open letter to the German government.
“German and EU policies toward Eastern Europe need to focus more sharply than hitherto on helping Ukraine to survive today, rather than taking measures likely to take effect only after weeks or months,” the experts wrote. “Germany’s short-sighted egoism in Europe’s joint effort to withstand [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression needs to stop,” they said, adding that “all available measures for raising this war’s price for the Russian Federation need to be taken now.”
Measures should, according to the experts, include “a full stop on buying any oil, natural gas, or other commodities from Russia” and supplying Kyiv with both “light and defensive weapons” and “heavy and certain offensive weapons like larger anti-aircraft systems, suitable ﬁghter planes, warships, military vehicles, etc.”
FARMERS WANT DELAY ON EU AG RULES: Farmers’ organizations from nine EU countries called for a one-year delay to the start of the new Common Agricultural Policy, citing the impacts of the war in Ukraine, my colleague Eddy Wax reports. Russia and Ukraine are both critical agriculture suppliers, providing nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. Ukraine is also a leader in corn and sunflower oil supplies.
V4+5: Farmers’ lobbies from the four Visegrád countries — Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland — plus Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania, met in Bratislava earlier this month to forge a united agriculture policy response to Russia’s invasion.
Document here: In a joint declaration obtained by Eddy and dated April 1, they called for the new CAP — set to be implemented next year — to be pushed back to 2024.
One more year: “The governments in countries near the border with Ukraine must particularly deal with the consequences of the war and … the timeframe for implementing new CAP rules is already very demanding,” the groups stated. The reformed CAP has already been delayed by two years.
Other eye-catching demands: The countries said they “appreciate” the European Commission’s farm policy proposals that include freeing up fallow land for food production, but called for further exemptions from green rules, such as the ban on plowing up permanent grassland and on using pesticides on leguminous crops in space meant for nature on farms. There should also be “temporary” exemptions for the environmental or climate incentive schemes that CAP funds, they said.
Pillar 2.0: The lobbyists also said more funds should be repurposed from the EU’s budget to swell the coffers of CAP’s rural development and investment pot. A majority of EU agriculture ministers last week backed a Croatian-led proposal to provide more flexibility in using those funds.
**What can the EU expect from a new French government: continuity or change of course? Tune in to hear what our expert panel has to say at POLITICO Live’s event “After the French election: change or disruption?” on April 28 at 1:00 pm CEST. Register now!**
LOBBYING THE EU
GEOTHERMAL PUSH: A group of businesses has called on the European Commission to establish a strategy to unlock geothermal energy’s potential.
“Europe rests on a vast amount of geothermal energy that can provide permanent supplies of renewable heating, cooling, power as well as sustainably sourced lithium and other raw materials, everywhere,” wrote Philippe Dumassecretary general of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) in a letter co-signed by 150 businesses and associations.
“Both the International Energy Agency and ADEME — the French energy agency — found it to be the most cost-effective solution for it is used,” Dumas wrote in his letter, which was addressed to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “Yet it remains underdeveloped and often out of sight for EU policy makers. This situation must change now,” he said, calling on the Berlaymont “to prepare and issue Europe’s strategy on geothermal energy and sustainable raw materials extraction, by 2023.”
The strategy’s purpose, according to Dumas, should be to “unlock geothermal energy’s potential as a major renewable energy source” through spotting barriers to production and “proposing measures to accelerate deployment.”
BANK MOVES: Foreign banks have embarked on an intense lobbying campaign in Brussels against a potential ban on their ability to sell services in the EU, my colleague Hannah Brenton reports.
The push comes after the European Commission included new restrictions in its banking package on non-EU lenders that provide banking and capital markets services within the bloc. The global banking industry has since been up in arms, with Japanese, Swiss and US banks actively campaigning against the restrictions.
Under the plans, foreign lenders would have to set up shop in an EU country if they want to offer banking, advisory or trading services in that market.
But to its industry critics, the EU’s efforts misunderstand the nature of global banking. “The industry has gone bananas,” said one EU diplomat. Read more here.
EXPANSION: SEC Newgate Group has acquired a stake in American public affairs firm Global Strategy Group (GSG), which has offices in Chicago, New York, Seattle and Washington DC
“There’s a flurry of interest from US clients and prospects seeking counseling on EU decision-making, particularly on sustainability and digital topics,” Victoria MainCEO of SEC Newgate EU, told EU Influence, adding that “we’re also excited to be able to offer the expertise of our new US colleagues to our clients and prospects.”
Dries Acke is joining SolarPower Europe as policy director, after over a decade leading the Energy Systems Program at the European Climate Foundation.
BCW Brussels has announced a host of moves. Sarah Debbiche Krichen was promoted to director; Gesa Winkens was promoted to senior account director; Elissa Chaiban was promoted to senior designer; Annamaria Konig was promoted to account manager; Jillian Gaborieau was promoted to account manager; Elisabeth Laird was promoted to account manager; Marta Bombelli was promoted to account manager; and Reto Schlegel was promoted to account manager.
more, Alessandra Menga has been promoted to senior account executive; Alexia Koroloff Lanier was promoted to senior account executive; Ana Rivas Valero was promoted to senior account executive; Cécile Huard was promoted to senior account executive; Georgina Unsworth was promoted to senior account executive and Matthias Peschke was promoted to senior account executive.
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