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The European Union's planned Nature Restoration Law, a key strand of Europe’s climate agenda which would introduce binding targets on member states to reverse the decline of Europe's flora and fauna, is facing growing resistance. In an unusual step, the European People’s Party (EPP) Group, the largest in the European Parliament, withdrew from negotiations on the legislation following opposition from some agricultural groups and member states. Although other parties reached a preliminary agreement on the text, the EPP’s boycott has raised questions about the outlook for the law ahead of a crucial vote by the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (ENVI) due on 15 June.
The rise of China to a global economic and military power has seen the European Union recalibrate its relationship accordingly in recent years. China represents both an important market and key manufacturing hub for European companies and a major investor in the bloc, but its approach to intellectual property, technological advances, and trade policies means it is also an economic rival. So too on geopolitical issues, China’s heft makes it a key partner in regional and global issues like climate change, but its domestic suppression of human rights, from the Uyghurs to Hong Kong, are anathema to the EU’s democratic principles. Its aggressive foreign policy and claims on Taiwan and the South China Sea also challenge the so-called rules-based global order that Europe espouses. More recently, Washington’s increasing rivalry with Beijing and China’s possible influence in Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised questions in the EU about whether China is more a cooperating partner, economic competitor, or systemic rival.
On 17 May 2023, the UK government published the Renters (Reform) Bill, which aims to enhance the rights of tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. The much-anticipated legislation promises to abolish so-called section 21 no-fault evictions, give tenants stronger rights to have pets in rented accommodation, improve housing standards, and make it easier for landlords to recover properties when tenants wilfully do not pay rent or to move in a close family member.
The Government’s Victims and Prisoners Bill was put up for its second reading in the House of Commons on 15 May. The legislation aims to ensure minimum levels of support that victims can expect from criminal justice agencies and gives the Justice Secretary powers to appoint public advocates to support bereaved families and victims of major incidents. It also includes proposals for a range of reforms to the parole system, including giving the Justice Secretary the power to overrule the Parole Board and decide when serious criminals can be released.
On April 27, the UK government published “High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age”, its long-awaited plan for the most comprehensive update of the regulatory framework for the industry since the Gambling Act in 2005. The white paper aims to address concerns about the dangers of online and virtual gambling, which enable punters to place a bet anywhere at any time of the day or night, while allowing millions of people to continue to play safely.
President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to boost France’s renewable energy production as part of his government’s multibillion euro “France 2030” investment plan, including a significant increase in onshore wind and solar power generation by the end of the decade.
The local elections across England on May 4 promise to be the first major electoral test for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak since he became party leader and a key indicator of whether the Conservatives can recover support to secure a fifth term in the next general election expected in 2024.
This report provides an update on the UK’s transition to EVs, including a timeline of key developments, overview of policy direction and progress, and examination of some of the key challenges.