Questions and Answers: The 2019 Commission Work Programme


What is the Commission Work Programme?

Every year, the European Commission adopts a Work Programme which sets out its key initiatives for the year ahead. The Commission Work Programme informs citizens and our institutional partners and staff how we will deliver on our political priorities and turn them into concrete action.

This is the fifth Work Programme to be presented by the Juncker Commission, and it sets out initiatives to complete the work on the 10 priorities set out in President Juncker's Political Guidelines by the end of the Commission's five-year mandate, as well as more long-term initiatives with a view to shaping the EU's future for 2025 and beyond.

How is the Work Programme prepared and adopted?

This Commission was elected by the European Parliament on the basis of clear Political Guidelines, which also reflected the European Council's Strategic Agenda. The 10 priorities set out in these Guidelines continue to act as the framework for the Commission's annual planning.

Every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers his State of the Union address in the European Parliament. Together with the Letter of Intent, which is sent the same day by the President and the First Vice-President to the President of the European Parliament and the Council Presidency, it outlines the key priorities of the Commission for the year ahead.

The State of the Union speech kick-starts the dialogue with the Parliament and Council to prepare the Commission Work Programme for the following year. This dialogue serves to ensure a shared understanding of the priorities ahead between the Parliament, Member States and the Commission.

The Commission also hears the views of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions in the preparation of the Work Programme.

How is the Commission Work Programme structured?

The Commission Work Programme consists of a political Communication and five annexes.

  • Annex I includes the key initiatives to be presented in the year ahead, which focus on concrete actions to implement the ten political priorities of the Juncker Commission and actions and initiatives that have a more forward-looking perspective, as the new Union of 27 shapes its own future for 2025 and beyond;
  • Annex II contains 'REFIT' initiatives, where we will review existing legislation in the coming year;
  • Annex III lists the priority pending legislative files where we want the co-legislators in the European Parliament and Council to take swift action ahead of the European elections;
  • Annex IV contains a list of intended withdrawals of pending proposals;
  • Annex V contains a list of existing legislation which the Commission intends to repeal.

What is REFIT?

REFIT is the European Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme. Its objective is to review the existing stock of EU legislation to ensure it remains fit for purpose and delivers the results intended. It aims to keep the body of EU law lean and healthy, remove unnecessary burdens and adapt existing legislation without compromising on our ambitious policy objectives.

The Juncker Commission continues to update and improve existing legislation so it can achieve its objectives effectively and without undue burdens. In identifying REFIT priorities, the Commission has taken into account the Opinions of the REFIT Platform.

Is this Work Programme a comprehensive list of everything the Commission will do in 2019?

The Commission Work programme highlights the new political initiatives planned by the Commission for 2019. The Commission also has ongoing obligations to ensure that existing legislation or programmes are well implemented and deliver concrete results on the ground. The Commission can also take unplanned initiatives in response to events throughout the course of the year which require urgent action at European level.

Does the Commission Work Programme cover Brexit preparedness?

Yes. While significant efforts are being made to ensure the conclusion of an agreement on an orderly withdrawal, and a framework for future relations, certain measures will be necessary to adapt the EU acquis irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations. The Commission will table legislative proposals in November 2018 to address the visa status of UK nationals and to adjust the figures in EU energy consumption and energy efficiency legislation. The Commission will also present a number of delegated and implementing acts, and it will monitor developments closely and propose other measures if and when necessary.

When will the Commission implement the proposals set out in the Work Programme?

In line with the commitments under the new Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, the Work Programme indicates the envisaged timetable to the extent possible. The Work Programme also gives details, as far as available and on an indicative basis, on the intended legal base, the type of legal act and any other relevant procedural information, including information on impact assessment and evaluation work.



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