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European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Denise Chircop (1st edition),

Junge Leute stehen im Kreis und stapeln Hände für Teamentwicklung und Teambuilding

© Robert Kneschke / Fotolia

The financial allocation for the European Commission proposal for a European Solidarity Corps programme is €1 260 million at current prices. Projected to offer opportunities for 350 000 18 to 30 year olds from 2021 to 2027, the programme is included under Heading 2 ‘Cohesion and Values’ of the multiannual financial framework covering the same period. In its initial phases, the European Solidarity Corps suffered from unsuccessful branding and communication, as it came into direct competition with two similar programmes, the European Voluntary Service and the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative. The new proposal merges these programmes. The distinctive feature of the European Solidarity Corps today is that it brings together volunteering, traineeship and job opportunities for young people with a clear focus on solidarity projects and uses existing management structures to maximise focus on delivery and performance. In view of the importance of solidarity to the wider European project, and the potential of this programme to contribute towards this spirit, a report by Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee adopted in plenary points out that the definition of solidarity should be the unifying principle in the programme’s implementation.

Versions

timeline 10 steps trilogue with second reading

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/08/02/european-solidarity-corps-2021-2027-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Protection of small producers against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain [European Parliament impact 2014-2019]

The power of the European Parliament

The only directly elected European Union (EU) institution; the European Parliament’s (EP) power and influence in pursuit of citizens’ interests have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement at the heart of representative democracy, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity.
What are then the European Parliament’s main powers?

What difference does the Parliament’s work make to how Europeans live their lives? This series highlights some practical examples of EP impact during the 2014-2019 legislative term.

EP POWERS Law makingThe food supply chain ensures that food and drink products are delivered to the public. It affects all consumers in the EU. The final price paid by the consumer is impacted by the number of participants in the food supply chain. While the single market has brought benefits to operators in the supply chain, through more market opportunities and a larger customer base, it has also brought challenges. Structural changes have occurred, leading to different levels of bargaining power and imbalances between actors in the chain. The abuse of such differences may lead to unfair trading practices (UTPs).

Over recent years, the European Parliament has actively highlighted imbalances in the food supply chain. It has also made the case very strongly that there is a need to ensure adequate incomes for farmers.

To strengthen the position of smaller producers (such as farmers) in the food supply chain, in April 2018 the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on unfair trading practices. The proposal focuses on the protection of smaller actors in the food supply chain, and aims to protect them from trading practices imposed unilaterally.

The Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) welcomed the proposal as a long-expected legislative instrument to defend the position of agricultural producers in the food supply chain. Following AGRI’s consideration, the European Parliament priorities were to have a clear definition of what constituted an unfair trading practice, extending the scope of suppliers and buyers in the food supply chain and the scope of products to all agricultural products (i.e. not only food products). The Parliament also sought to deliver an increased list of prohibited unfair trading practices. In trilogue negotiations, Parliament and Council negotiators reached an agreement on 19 December 2018, after six meetings. Parliament’s negotiating team achieved important modifications to the legislative text, especially on widening the scope to agri-food businesses bigger than SMEs (up to a certain threshold) and an extension to the list of prohibited unfair trading practices from 8 to 15.

Directive (EU) 2019/633 of the European Parliament and of the Council on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain was signed on 17 April 2019.

Thanks in part to Parliament’s efforts, the new legislation will ensure fairness in the market and the food supply chain and will remove the ‘fear factor’ experienced by small-scale operators in the food chain and/or those with less bargaining power. It will lead to a more balanced distribution of consumer spending along the food supply chain and, finally, it will provide for a designated authority to enforce the new rules and sanctions where infringements are proven.

Law-making powers

a mapping of EP powers

Together with the Council, the Parliament participates in the shaping of European laws in what may be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. The nature of the Parliament’s involvement depends on the area in question and may mean Parliament being consulted (consultation procedure), giving its consent (consent procedure), or legislating on an equal footing with the Council (the ordinary legislative procedure, or co-decision).

The latter procedure consists of the joint adoption of an act by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of a proposal by the Commission. Here, both legislators need to agree on an identical text before it becomes law, which may take up to three readings in each of the two institutions. On average, it takes about 22 months for legislators to agree on a legislative file, starting from the Commission proposal until the signature of the final act.

The number of areas in which the Parliament co-legislates has expanded greatly over time and now includes the EU internal market, environment, consumer protection, food safety, regional development, agriculture, transport, energy and many others. Indeed, most legislative acts are now adopted following the ordinary legislative procedure.

Besides the power of consent with regard to legislative acts, the Parliament’s consent is required in many other instances not related to legislative acts in the strict sense. For example, it is needed before any new country joins the EU (Article 49, Treaty on European Union, TEU), but also before any withdrawal treaty can be concluded when a country decides to leave it (Article 50 TEU). The Parliament’s consent is also required before concluding agreements with third countries, for example association agreements, as well as before the Council determines that an EU Member State is breaching – or is about to breach – EU values (Article 7 TEU).

Read the complete study on ‘The power of the European Parliament: Examples of EP impact during the 2014-19 legislative term‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/08/02/protection-of-small-producers-against-unfair-trading-practices-in-the-food-supply-chain-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Erasmus+: more open for people from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as smaller organisations [European Parliament impact 2014-2019]

The power of the European Parliament

The only directly elected European Union (EU) institution; the European Parliament’s (EP) power and influence in pursuit of citizens’ interests have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement at the heart of representative democracy, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity.
What are then the European Parliament’s main powers?

What difference does the Parliament’s work make to how Europeans live their lives? This series highlights some practical examples of EP impact during the 2014-2019 legislative term.

EP POWERS Law makingEP POWERS BudgetErasmus+ is the European Union’s programme dedicated to education, training, youth and sport. It is one of the best-known EU initiatives, but many think Erasmus+ is only for university students who go to study for a few months in another European university. In fact, other learners and educators participate as well. It is also open to vocational education students, teachers, professors, entrepreneurs, apprentices and grassroots sports people, for example.

One of its special features is that Erasmus+ equips young people with soft skills that they do not necessarily develop in a classroom. These skills, such as adjusting to a different way of life and using a foreign language in day-to-day conversations, can make it easier for them to find a job, start their own business and take an active interest in society later on.

Erasmus+ also creates networks of education institutions, businesses and local authorities.

The European Parliament has monitored how Erasmus+ is put into action on the ground. In its October 2017 mid-term implementation resolution it recommended making the programme more accessible, especially to small organisations, by reducing bureaucratic obstacles’ and reintroducing school exchanges. It also called on the European Commission to recognise that mobility involving people with special needs and people from disadvantaged backgrounds needs additional facilitation.

A bigger budget is necessary given the benefits of this programme. When the Commission published its mid-term evaluation of the programme (2014-2020) in January 2018, it clearly reflected comments made by Parliament. Most notably, it identified simplification as an area that needed continued efforts. It also proposed stepping up mobility among school pupils, vocational education and training participants and young people. It also acknowledged that the programme needed to reach out to more vulnerable learners and smaller organisations with a view to making it more inclusive.

Crucially, the European Parliament secured an extra €240 million for the Erasmus+ budget in 2019, meaning that the programme can be made available to more people and make a bigger difference in helping young people to get an improved start in life.

In its May 2018 proposal for the new Erasmus programme (2021-2027), the European Commission incorporated the recommendations of the European Parliament to reach out more to people with fewer opportunities, including people with disabilities. It intends to become more inclusive, tripling the number of participants and making mobility for school pupils and vocational learners more mainstream. It will also simplify procedures further in order to be accessible to small organisations such as those active in grassroots sports. In its position adopted at first reading on 28 March 2019, the European Parliament proposes that the Commission draws up a strategy with guidelines, measures and indicators to ensure that inclusion is practised. The amendments adopted also seek to promote the excellence of the projects, to make sure that other EU programmes work with Erasmus and to introduce a way to help Parliament systematically monitor the implementation of the programme. While the European Commission had proposed a budget of just €30 billion in current prices for the whole period, the European Parliament proposes an increased envelope of €46.758 billion in current prices to ensure better inclusion. It allocates 83 % to education and training, 10.3 % to youth actions, and 2 % to sport.

Law-making powers

Together with the Council, the Parliament participates in the shaping of European laws in what may be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. The nature of the Parliament’s involvement depends on the area in question and may mean Parliament being consulted (consultation procedure), giving its consent (consent procedure), or legislating on an equal footing with the Council (the ordinary legislative procedure, or co-decision).

The latter procedure consists of the joint adoption of an act by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of a proposal by the Commission. Here, both legislators need to agree on an identical text before it becomes law, which may take up to three readings in each of the two institutions. On average, it takes about 22 months for legislators to agree on a legislative file, starting from the Commission proposal until the signature of the final act.

The number of areas in which the Parliament co-legislates has expanded greatly over time and now includes the EU internal market, environment, consumer protection, food safety, regional development, agriculture, transport, energy and many others. Indeed, most legislative acts are now adopted following the ordinary legislative procedure.

Besides the power of consent with regard to legislative acts, the Parliament’s consent is required in many other instances not related to legislative acts in the strict sense. For example, it is needed before any new country joins the EU (Article 49, Treaty on European Union, TEU), but also before any withdrawal treaty can be concluded when a country decides to leave it (Article 50 TEU). The Parliament’s consent is also required before concluding agreements with third countries, for example association agreements, as well as before the Council determines that an EU Member State is breaching – or is about to breach – EU values (Article 7 TEU).

Read the complete study on ‘The power of the European Parliament: Examples of EP impact during the 2014-19 legislative term‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/31/erasmus-more-open-for-people-from-disadvantaged-backgrounds-as-well-as-smaller-organisations-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Sustainable finance and benchmarks: Low-carbon benchmarks and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Stefano Spinaci (1st edition),

Money growing in soil, business success concept

© Cherries / Fotolia

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a package of measures on the financing of sustainable growth. The package includes three proposals aimed at establishing an EU taxonomy on sustainable economic activities, improving disclosure requirements and creating a new category of benchmarks to help investors measure the carbon footprint of their investments.

Financial benchmarks have an important impact on investment flows. Many investors rely on them for creating investment products, measuring their performance and devising asset allocation strategies. The Commission proposes to create a new category of benchmarks comprising low-carbon and positive-carbon-impact benchmarks, by amending the Benchmark Regulation.

As the regulation is directly applicable, amending it would restrict the possibility of divergent measures being taken by the competent authorities at national level. Parliament voted in plenary on 26 March 2019 to approve the compromise text agreed in trilogue negotiations. However, due to the tight timeline for finalisation before the end of the parliamentary term, the Council has not yet adopted the text at first reading as Parliament will first have to approve, through a corrigendum procedure, the final revised text.

Versions

Stage: Voted in plenary

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/29/sustainable-finance-and-benchmarks-low-carbon-benchmarks-and-positive-carbon-impact-benchmarks-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Stricter CO2 emission standards for new cars and vans [European Parliament impact 2014-2019]

The power of the European Parliament

The only directly elected European Union (EU) institution; the European Parliament’s (EP) power and influence in pursuit of citizens’ interests have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement at the heart of representative democracy, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity.
What are then the European Parliament’s main powers?

What difference does the Parliament’s work make to how Europeans live their lives? This series highlights some practical examples of EP impact during the 2014-2019 legislative term.

EP POWERS Law makingRoad transport is responsible for around 20 % of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Transport is the only sector in the EU that did not record any significant decline in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. In 2016, EU transport emissions were 26 % above 1990 levels.

The European Parliament has played an important role in shaping EU legislation to respond to this challenge and in pushing for ambitious but realistic targets. Mandatory CO2 standards for new passenger cars in the EU were introduced in 2009 and strengthened in 2014. Similarly, CO2 standards for vans were introduced in 2011 and reinforced in 2014. Since September 2018, new cars sold in the EU must pass more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions and an improved laboratory test (WLTP).

In November 2017, the European Commission proposed that average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans registered in the EU would have to be 15 % lower in 2025, and 30 % lower in 2030, compared to their respective limits in 2021.

Parliament put forward a number of amendments to the proposal, which were then the subject of trilogue negotiations with the Council and Commission. Thanks to Parliament’s insistence, the text finally agreed in trilogue negotiations in December 2018 sets a 37.5 % target for reducing EU fleet-wide emissions for new cars by 2030. This is far above the 30 % initially proposed by the Commission and close to the 40 % demanded by the Parliament. For new vans, the 2030 target is raised to 31 %, compared to the 30 % level proposed by the Commission and supported by the Council.

In order to encourage the sale of more zero- and low-emission vehicles, a manufacturer that meets a benchmark of 35 % for cars by 2030 will be rewarded with less strict CO2 targets. This benchmark corresponds to the Parliament’s position and, again, is well above the 30 % benchmark originally proposed by the Commission. With respect to the benchmarks for 2025 and incentives for zero- and low-emission vans, the Commission proposal remained unchanged.

As advocated by the Parliament, there are now specific provisions on in-service conformity testing and on detecting strategies that would artificially improve the CO2 performance of cars and vans.

The agreed text requires the Commission to analyse the measures suggested by Parliament concerning the introduction of real-world CO2 emissions tests using portable equipment, like the one recently introduced for NOx, and to put forward legislative proposals, if appropriate. Parliament’s suggestion that this be done in conjunction with a review of the effectiveness of the regulation in 2023, rather than 2024 as proposed by the Commission, was also taken on board.

The agreed text also includes a requirement for car-makers to report the lifecycle CO2 emissions of new cars put on the market from 2025, and allows for the use of excess emissions premiums for the qualification and reallocation of workers affected by changes in the automotive sector.

As proposed by Parliament, by 2020 the Commission will have to review Directive 1999/94/EC on ‘car labelling’ in order to improve information to consumers, and evaluate options for introducing a fuel economy and CO2 emission label for vans.

Also in line with the Parliament’s position, the Commission must identify a pathway for further CO2 emission reductions after 2030, possibly revise the emission targets for 2030, and introduce new targets for 2035 and 2040 onwards.

The final act – Regulation (EU) 2019/631 of the European Parliament and the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles – was signed on 17 April 2019.

Law-making powers

Together with the Council, the Parliament participates in the shaping of European laws in what may be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. The nature of the Parliament’s involvement depends on the area in question and may mean Parliament being consulted (consultation procedure), giving its consent (consent procedure), or legislating on an equal footing with the Council (the ordinary legislative procedure, or co-decision).

The latter procedure consists of the joint adoption of an act by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of a proposal by the Commission. Here, both legislators need to agree on an identical text before it becomes law, which may take up to three readings in each of the two institutions. On average, it takes about 22 months for legislators to agree on a legislative file, starting from the Commission proposal until the signature of the final act.

The number of areas in which the Parliament co-legislates has expanded greatly over time and now includes the EU internal market, environment, consumer protection, food safety, regional development, agriculture, transport, energy and many others. Indeed, most legislative acts are now adopted following the ordinary legislative procedure.

Besides the power of consent with regard to legislative acts, the Parliament’s consent is required in many other instances not related to legislative acts in the strict sense. For example, it is needed before any new country joins the EU (Article 49, Treaty on European Union, TEU), but also before any withdrawal treaty can be concluded when a country decides to leave it (Article 50 TEU). The Parliament’s consent is also required before concluding agreements with third countries, for example association agreements, as well as before the Council determines that an EU Member State is breaching – or is about to breach – EU values (Article 7 TEU).

Read the complete study on ‘The power of the European Parliament: Examples of EP impact during the 2014-19 legislative term‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/29/stricter-co2-emission-standards-for-new-cars-and-vans-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Revising the Taking of Evidence Regulation [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Rafał Mańko (1st edition),

back of layer talking to attorney on courtroom . The law adjustment concept

© Yanukit / Fotolia

On 31 May 2018, the Commission proposed a proposal for a new regulation on taking of evidence in civil proceedings. It takes stock of the existing regulation (from 2001), but provides for a number of changes to remove legal uncertainty and to promote electronic communications. Parliament adopted its legislative resolution on the proposal on 13 February 2019. The main points of Parliament’s position include modifying the definition of the term ‘court’, to mean any authority in a Member State that is competent under the laws of that Member State to take evidence according to this regulation (i.e. not only judicial bodies). Parliament also considers that any decentralised information technology (IT) system for cross-border communication of evidence must be based on e-CODEX, and that the use of videoconferencing or any other appropriate distance communication technology should be subject to the consent of the person to be heard. Any electronic systems used to take evidence must also ensure that professional secrecy and legal professional privilege (lawyers’ secrets) are duly protected. The discussion in Council is ongoing, thus trilogue negotiations on the proposal have not yet been able to commence.

Versions

timeline 10 steps trilogue with second reading

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/26/revising-the-taking-of-evidence-regulation-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Appointment of the President of the ECB

Written by Christian Scheinert,

During the September 2019 plenary sitting, the European Parliament is expected to vote on a resolution on the candidate (Christine Lagarde) for the position of President of the European Central Bank (ECB), to succeed Mario Draghi, whose term is due to end on 1 November 2019. The President is appointed by the European Council, while Parliament and the Bank’s Governing Council are consulted. Prior to the vote, the candidate will receive a series of questions for written answer, and be invited to a hearing before the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON). The ECB President is a key figure within the Eurosystem when setting monetary policy for the euro area.

Appointment procedure

EP plenary session - European Central Bank Annual report 2017

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

Article 283(2) TFEU stipulates that the ‘President … shall be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, from among persons of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters, on a recommendation of the Council, after it has consulted the European Parliament and the Governing Council of the European Central Bank.’ The article also sets the term of office, which is not renewable, at eight years, and limits membership of the Executive Board to EU nationals.

The Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (RoP), as applicable from the start of the 2019-2024 term, set out the procedure within Parliament in relation to the appointment. Rule 130 provides that the candidate is invited to make a statement before the committee responsible (ECON) and to answer questions put by its Members. In addition, prior to that hearing, it is the ECON committee’s practice to send the candidate a series of questions for written answer. These answers are normally used as a source of inspiration when Members question the candidate. In principle, a candidate is not obliged either to respond to the written questions, or to appear at a hearing. But as good practice, all candidates to date accepted the invitation of the ECON committee – not only to promote themselves and their ideas, but also to build up a sustainable and solid relationship with the Parliament. Rule 130 specifies that the committee responsible makes a recommendation to Parliament as to whether the nomination should be approved, and the plenary vote takes place within two months of receipt of the nomination, unless Parliament, at the request of the committee responsible, a political group or Members reaching at least the low threshold (38 members), decides otherwise. The plenary votes by secret ballot. In case of an unfavourable opinion, the President would ask for the withdrawal of the nomination and for a new nomination. In the latter case, with this being a consultation procedure, the Treaties would not require the Council to recommend a new candidate.

The power to select and appoint a candidate lies de jure (Article 283 TFEU) within the exclusive remit of the European Council which acts in this case by qualified majority. Yet, de facto, the consultation procedure provides significant weight to the European Parliament, due to the visibility of the process and the type of institutional actors involved, to the point that it would be unlikely that the European Council would proceed with an appointment in the case of a rejection vote from Parliament.

On 9 July 2019, the Council of the EU submitted to the European Council, in accordance with Article 283(2) TFEU, a recommendation on the appointment of Christine Lagarde as President of the ECB.

Duties of the ECB President and tasks of the ECB

The ECB President chairs several central bank constellations. They chair the ECB’s Executive Board, which also comprises a Vice-President and four other members (Article 283(2) TFEU). They also chair the Governing Council of the ECB, which comprises the Executive Board of the ECB as well as the governors of the national central banks of Member States whose currency is the euro (Article 283(1) TFEU). Probably most important of all, they chair the Eurosystem, the body that sets monetary policy for the euro area. The Eurosystem comprises the ECB and the national central banks of euro-area Member States (Article 282(1) TFEU). Although the Treaties provide for the possibility of a vote (Article 10, Protocol No 4), it is the practice within the Eurosystem to seek consensus on monetary decisions, and thus, if possible, avoid a formal vote. It is for the President to establish consensus, putting them in a privileged position in monetary decision-making.

Presidents of the European Central Bank (ECB), and its predecessor, the European Monetary Institute (EMI)

Presidents of the European Central Bank (ECB), and its predecessor, the European Monetary Institute (EMI)

According to Article 128 TFEU, the ECB alone may authorise the issue of the euro. According to Article 127 TFEU, the basic tasks of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) comprise, amongst others, to define and implement monetary policy, to conduct foreign-exchange operations, to hold and manage the official foreign reserves of the Member States, and to promote the smooth operation of payment systems. Further, it may also be conferred tasks relating to the supervision of credit institutions (Article 127(5) TFEU). According to Articles 127(1) and 282(2) TFEU, the primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability, in addition it supports the general economic policies of the Union on condition that price stability is not jeopardised. According to Article 282(3) TFEU, the ECB is independent in the exercise of its powers. Article 130 TFEU extends that independence to national central banks and any member of their decision-making bodies, and stipulates that they are forbidden to seek instructions from Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body. Similarly, the article states that those same institutions, bodies, offices and governments undertake to respect this independence and do not seek to influence the members of the decision-making bodies in the performance of their tasks. Article 123 TFEU prohibits overdraft facilities or any other type of credit facility with the ECB or national central banks in favour of any level of national government, national authorities or EU institutions and bodies, and prohibits the direct purchase of government debt instruments, thus ruling out the monetisation of public debt.

Two principles set in the Treaties, price stability and independence, are central to the ECB’s duties. However, in 2010, financial supervision powers were conferred on the ECB in the framework of banking union, with the ECB President chairing the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). This complicates ECB independence, as institutions carrying out financial supervision duties are subject to democratic accountability. This is somewhat mitigated, as Article 7 of the ESRB Regulation stipulates that ESRB members perform their supervision duties impartially and without seeking instructions.

Obligations towards the European Parliament

According to Article 284(3) TFEU, the ECB shall address an annual activity report, including on monetary policy, on both the previous and the current year, to the European Parliament and to several other institutions. It is stipulated that the President of the ECB shall present this report to the Council and to the European Parliament (Rule 135 RoP). Apart from this, there are no formal Treaty-based obligations towards the EP, in line with the principle of central bank independence. Article 284(3) TFEU specifies that the EP may hold a general debate on the basis of that annual report, and that the President of the ECB and other members of the Executive Board may be heard by the competent committees of the EP. Most interaction with the European Parliament is therefore dependent on voluntary acceptance by the ECB.

Four times a year, the President of the ECB appears before the ECON committee for testimony known as ‘monetary dialogue’, also covered by Rule 135, which is now an integral part of the ex-post scrutiny process. After an introductory speech by the ECB President, Members have the opportunity to ask questions relating to decisions already taken. Similar meetings on specific topics are held with other members of the Executive Board. Once a year, in December, a small EP delegation travels to the seat of the ECB in Frankfurt (Germany), for an informal in camera meeting with the President of the ECB and other members of the Executive Board. According to Rule 140 RoP, MEPs can introduce, via the chair of the committee responsible, up to six written questions per month to the ECB, for written answer. Both questions and answers are published on Parliament’s website. To stay in line with the requirement of independence, the ECB President needs to carefully avoid even creating the impression that they are taking instructions from, or negotiating with, MEPs.

During the monetary dialogue, debates in plenary or when drafting written questions, MEPs speak in a personal capacity, while Parliament’s official position on the ECB and on monetary policy is expressed through own-initiative reports, most notably Parliament’s report on the annual report of the ECB.


Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Appointment of the President of the ECB‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/25/appointment-of-the-president-of-the-ecb/

Parliamentary hearings of the Commissioners-designate: A decisive step in the investiture process

Written by Maria Diaz Crego,

Joint ITRE CULT Committees - Hearing of Mariya GABRIEL, Commissioner-designate for the Digital Economy and Society portfolio

© European Union, 2017; Source EP – Pablo Garrigos

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament’s committees are a necessary ingredient in informing Parliament’s decision to give its consent to, or reject, the proposed College. Each Commissioner-designate appears before a single hearing, involving one or more parliamentary committees, after responding to a written questionnaire and presenting his or her declaration of interests.

In past hearings, the main points of criticism were some candidates’ lack of specialist knowledge of their portfolio, their vague answers and reluctance to make commitments, the existence of possible conflicts of interests in relation to the assigned portfolio and concerns regarding the integrity of the candidate. From the 2004 investiture on, Parliament has used its role in the appointment of the Commission to press for the replacement of certain controversial candidates and to force adjustments to certain portfolios, although it can only reject or accept the College as a whole.

Whilst some experts warn of excessive politicisation of the hearings, others welcome the increased accountability of the Commission to Parliament, and see the deepening political link between the two as a step towards further democratisation of the EU decision-making process. Hearings have become critical for Parliament’s holding the Commission to account, and are gaining in significance as a means for Parliament to take a greater role in agenda-setting at EU level.

This is an updated and expanded version of a 2014 briefing by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.


Read the complete briefing on ‘Parliamentary hearings of the Commissioners-designate: A decisive step in the investiture process‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/25/parliamentary-hearings-of-the-commissioners-designate-a-decisive-step-in-the-investiture-process/

Annual EU budgetary procedure: An introduction to the steps in the EP

Written by Sidonia Mazur,

Budget

© Marco2811 / Fotolia

The European Parliament (EP) and the Council are the budgetary authority of the European Union. The two institutions, assisted by the European Commission, decide on the budget in the annual EU budgetary procedure.

The annual EU budget funds EU policies and programmes following the Union’s political priorities and legal obligations. The financial year starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December.

The European Parliament amends the Council position through the work of its Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and the specialised parliamentary committees. The EP then adopts the Parliament’s reading in plenary session.

This briefing presents possible scenarios set in the EU Treaties for adoption or non-adoption of the annual budget. It explains differences between the Treaty calendar and the ‘pragmatic calendar’.

The key actors in establishing the Parliament’s position are: the Committee on Budgets and EP specialised committees, in particular the BUDG chair, the annual budget rapporteurs and their shadows, BUDG coordinators and budget rapporteurs in specialised committees.

An amendment to the Council’s position is a tool enabling Members of the European Parliament to modify the annual budget draft. This briefing sketches the life cycle of such an amendment.

The European Parliament and the Council work out an agreement on the annual budget through negotiations consisting of trilogue meetings and conciliation.

Last but not least, this briefing explains what happens if there is no agreement on the EU annual budget.


Read this briefing on ‘Annual EU budgetary procedure: An introduction to the steps in the EP‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/22/annual-eu-budgetary-procedure-an-introduction-to-the-steps-in-the-ep/

3 Key Questions on Nuclear applications and ballistic missiles

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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/07/20/3-key-questions-on-nuclear-applications-and-ballistic-missiles/