The European Commission has set out its 6 priorities for the year ahead in its annual work programme for 2021 which concentrates on how Europe will seize opportunity and deliver on its ambitions whilst, in parallel, managing the pandemic.

The priority is managing the crisis with care, caution and coordination whilst advancing the Union through the opportunities the crisis paradoxically represents.

The six pillars of ambition focus on recovery and propose measures relating to the green deal, digitalisation, economic growth and sustainability, strengthening the Union and European democracy.


The European Green Deal

Initiatives for the Green Deal include proposals for a carbon border adjustment mechanism, measures on smart and sustainable transport and the implementation of the circular economy action plan, the biodiversity strategy and the farm to fork strategy.



Proposals strive to ensure that Europe is fit for the digital age through a 2030 roadmap, legislative provision for those providing services through platforms as well as artificial intelligence and data, continued work toward an international agreement for a fair tax system, measures targeted toward a fair business environment; proposing both a digital levy and a legal instrument to level the playing field as regard foreign subsidies, review of competition rules and an update of the industrial strategy.


Economic growth & sustainability

Guided by The European Pillar of Social Rights, proposed measures to ensure the economy works for all are to reduce child poverty and inequality, deepen the Economic and Monetary Union, propose a health and safety at work strategic framework, an action plan for the social economy and legislation on sustainable corporate governance. The programme proposes to establish an EU green bond standard and increase the effectiveness of public administrations and services in order to reach these ambitions.


Strengthening the Union

The current health crisis has exposed the EU’s need to strengthen their ability to manage future crisis and propose measures to achieve this such as, establishing an agency for biomedical advanced research and development, a new strategy for the future of Schengen, continued work on the new pact on migration and asylum, a strategy on combating antisemitism and strengthening the Security Union. In the context of economic recovery, measures are focused on the acquirement of new skills for EU citizens to empower individuals to undertake training and manage their career.

Proposals to advance EU strategic interests include, a Joint Communication on strengthening the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism, a renewed partnership with Southern neighbours, a Communications on the Arctic and the EU’s humanitarian aid, new strategic approach to support disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants and a review of the consular protection Directive.


European democracy

Measures targeted at building a Union of Equality include presenting strategies on disability rights and the rights of the child, measures to combat gender-based violence, advance cross-border judicial cooperation, an assessment of the cohesion policy in the Member States, better, implementation and enforcement of EU law, a Communication on better regulation focused on burden reduction and a ‘Fit-for-Future’ platform.