Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU
On Friday 1 July 2022, the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) began. On the day of their inauguration, the Czech Republic has published its programme for the duration of their presidency. The programme covers the priorities and main directions of the presidency and can be divided into two parts: Priorities of the Czech Presidency, and Programme of the Czech Presidency under the EU Council formations.
The first part of the programme defines five priority areas:
- Managing the refugee crisis and Ukraine’s post war recovery
- Energy security
- Strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities and cyberspace security
- Strategic resilience of the European economy
- Resilience of democratic institutions
Following these political priorities, the second part of the programme contains the priority sectoral agendas. This includes the legislative and non-legislative proposals that the Czechia Presidency will focus on under the relevant Council formations. The programme is based on the EU strategic documents and complements the European Commission’s six highlighted priorities for the period 2019 to 2024, among which A European Green Deal and A Europe fit for the digital age.
In terms of digital priorities, Ivan Bartoš (Deputy Prime Minister for Digitisation and Minister of Regional Development) communicated to the European Parliament´s committees that the Presidency will work on the digital agenda, communication resilience, sustainable digital ecosystems, cybersecurity in the EU, security of ICT supply chains, and digitalisation of public services.
Moreover, he affirmed that there is also a clear aim to secure a Council position on the AI Act, a general approach on the eID regulation, and to continue work on the Data Act. A first compromise text of the latter legislation was circulated in July, proposing definitions based on EU data protection law, broader exemptions for medium-sized companies, a stricter division between provisions regulating Business-to-Business and Business-to-Customer relations, trade secret safeguards and a bans.
At the beginning of August, a new partial compromise on the Data Act was put forward to clarify the conditions for which public entities can demand access to privately held data. In fact, this particular chapter was criticised by various businesses to give excessive power to public bodies. The modified scope and safeguards addressed in the new document will be discussed on 5 September in a meeting of the Telecom Working Party, the technical body of the EU Council in charge of the file.