Месечни архиви: август 2019

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between EU and Canada [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 Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada entered into force on a provisional basis on 21 September 2017, and most of the agreement now applies. The ratification process is still ongoing at the Member State level.

CETA aims to increase trade in goods and services, as well as investment between the EU and Canada. Among other things, it improves EU companies’ public tendering opportunities in Canada, provides a framework for the mutual recognition of qualifications in certain professions in the EU and Canada (for example architects or crane operators) and removes customs duties on 98 % of tariff lines of products traded with Canada, except for certain sensitive agricultural products such as poultry and eggs. Statistics from the first period of provisional application of CETA (October 2017 to June 2018) showed that EU exports to Canada were up by over 7 % compared to the previous year.

The CETA negotiations started in May 2009, shortly before the Treaty of Lisbon extended the European Parliament’s competences in trade to require its approval of trade agreements. CETA became one of the early negotiations where the Parliament exercised its stronger monitoring function, tracking the talks actively and voicing its concerns throughout the process.

In June 2011, the European Parliament adopted a resolution setting out its position on key chapters of the CETA negotiations, including investment disputes, the right to regulate, regulatory differences and agriculture. The Parliament was particularly concerned about the investment protection provisions under CETA. With mounting opposition to the investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) system, the Parliament maintained in its resolution that ‘a state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism and the use of local judicial remedies are the most appropriate tools to address investment disputes’, given the highly developed legal systems on both sides. In its resolution of July 2015, in the context of the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the European Parliament went a step further and asked for the replacement of the ISDS system with a new system that would be more transparent, with independent judges, and respecting the jurisdiction of EU courts. In a letter to European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, in November 2015, Parliament’s International Trade Committee Chair, Bernd Lange (Germany, S&D), welcomed the fact that the Parliament’s concerns were taken on board in the Commission’s new Investment Court System (ICS) proposal, while suggesting some further changes to the system. In part thanks to the European Parliament’s demands, even after the conclusion of the CETA negotiations, the controversial ISDS system was replaced with a permanent, transparent and institutionalised ICS. The Parliament went on to approve CETA in February 2017.

In its resolution of July 2016, the European Parliament also reiterated the need for a multilateral solution to investment disputes and considered CETA’s ICS as a stepping-stone to this end. Today, this process has been taken even further and active negotiations for the establishment of a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) are ongoing. CETA also contains a commitment of both the EU and Canada to work towards the creation of the MIC.

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/2019/08/12/comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-ceta-between-eu-and-canada-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Telecoms reform: a new European Electronic Communications Code [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 last overhaul of EU telecommunications rules took place in 2009, which is a very long time ago in a modern digital world that is increasingly reliant on rapid technological development. Given the urgent need to meaningfully adapt the framework so that European businesses can compete globally and citizens have stronger rights and are better protected in the virtual world, in September 2016 the European Commission proposed the directive establishing the new European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). The aim was to boost the infrastructure investment, increase connectivity and bring telecom rules up to date with technological developments and changing consumer demands and habits. This proposal represented a profound overhaul of the telecom framework. The negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council were complex, with the part on spectrum management agreed in March 2018 and the consensus on the rest reached in June 2018. The directive was formally adopted in December 2018.

The European Parliament was successful in achieving important modifications in key areas of the proposed legislation. The overview of the main ones starts with those regarding investment: Parliament has been a long-standing supporter of coordinated spectrum management at the EU level and its ideas were reflected in the EECC proposal. Before the Code, there was no EU harmonisation, but now the Member States must provide operators with regulatory predictability over a period of at least 20 years on spectrum licensing and will release spectrum bands in a timely and coordinated manner. Parliament strengthened the role of national competition authorities and reinforced competition safeguards in the new co-investment model, which encourages agreements between operators based on risk- and cost-sharing, as well as increased use of civil engineering infrastructure such as towers and wiring.

Important amendments to bring the 5G networks to Europe and improve connectivity include the obligation of the EU Member States to make spectrum available for the 5G by 2020. Small cell deployment will become easier by being subject to uniform national level legislation rather than as presently decided on different government levels. The cells will also be deployed on public infrastructure such as on street lamps and traffic lights.

The European Parliament also secured many advantages for European consumers. From May 2019, contacting another Member State will be much cheaper: intra-EU fees have been capped at 19 cents for phone calls and 6 cents for text messages. All consumers are to have guaranteed access to affordable broadband internet. Stronger protection and specific measures are provided for users with disabilities. Providers are obliged to ensure network security and deploy advanced methods, such as encryption, as well as inform users of significant threats. New measures increase transparency of tariffs and available offers, as well as facilitating their comparison. Switching operators and terminating contracts are made easier and, in the case of the former, there will be compensation if problems arise. The EU Member States are obliged to introduce by June 2022 a ‘reverse 112 system’, based on improved geo-localisation tools, which will alert citizens on their mobile phones in case of imminent or ongoing serious emergencies or disasters.

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/2019/08/09/telecoms-reform-a-new-european-electronic-communications-code-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Sustainable finance – EU taxonomy: A framework to facilitate sustainable investment [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Stefano Spinaci (2nd edition),

Businessman presenting a sustainable development concept with office buildings backgrounds

© NicoElNino / Fotolia

In March 2018, under its capital markets union project and as part of a broader initiative on sustainable development, the European Commission presented an action plan on sustainable finance, in order to facilitate investments in sustainable projects and assets across the EU. On 24 May 2018, the Commission put forward a package of three proposals, including measures to create a sustainable taxonomy for the EU; provide clarity on how environmental, social and governance factors can be taken into account for investment decisions; and establish low-carbon benchmarks.

The first proposal focuses on establishing a common language for sustainable finance (e.g. a unified EU classification system, or taxonomy) through a framework of uniform criteria, as a way to determine whether a given economic activity is environmentally sustainable. On 11 March 2019, the ECON-ENVI joint committee adopted a report on the Commission proposal, calling for a number of changes. On 28 March 2019, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading. On the other hand, the Council is continuing to review the Commission’s proposal.

Versions

timeline 10 steps trilogue with second reading

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/08/07/sustainable-finance-eu-taxonomy-a-framework-to-facilitate-sustainable-investment-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Cost of non-Europe in robotics and artificial intelligence

‘I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world. That it can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for the consequences well in advance’

Stephen Hawking, speech at the Web Summit on 6 November 2017.

Written by Elodie Thirion,

Human and Robot Hands Reaching Artificial Intelligence Concept 3

fotolia

One of the most pressing issue for researchers, consumers, manufacturers and stakeholders concerning the rise of the robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors lies in the uncertainty surrounding liability and the potential for damages to be incurred.

This ‘Cost of non-Europe’ report on liability and insurance related to robotics and AI aims to provide an insight into the regulatory gaps and challenges of the current liability and insurance frameworks in this field, as well as the potential benefits and opportunities of a harmonised EU regulatory framework. It has been prepared by the European Added Value (EAVA) Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) for the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) in support of its legislative initiative resolution on civil law rules on robotics (Rapporteur: Mady Delvaux).

This study starts by providing a brief introduction to robotics and AI. It sets out the definition(s) used for these concepts and presents their emergence and their social potential in the EU, before describing recent EU initiatives in the field. These include recent legal and policy initiatives, from the framework programme for research and innovation ‘Horizon 2020’ to the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI.

Second, the study outlines the current regulatory frameworks regarding liability and insurance applicable to robotics and AI in the EU. The lack of specific EU or national regulatory frameworks regarding liability and insurance in the context of robotics and AI is noted. At EU level, in particular the Product Liability Directive is reviewed. At national level, both civil law and common law regimes are discussed.

Third, the study highlights the existing regulatory gaps and challenges in the current liability and insurance frameworks. In particular, robotics and AI are prevented from reaching their full potential in the single market owing to the absence of a specific regulatory framework regarding liability and insurance in the context of robotics and AI, at EU level as well as at national level, and the consequent need for actors within the field of robotics and AI to fall back upon the Product Liability Directive and national civil law rules regarding liability and insurance.

Several EU policy options are considered in response to the regulatory gaps and challenges identified. First, there could be no additional intervention, entailing the application of the existing regulatory framework to current robotics and AI issues. Second, the EU could intervene by enlarging the scope of the Product Liability Directive to tackle the barriers of the current regulatory framework identified in the limited scope of the Product Liability Directive. Third, a new specific regulatory framework at EU level could be introduced to avoid fragmentation of the single market in robotics and AI. In this context, two policy options are considered: (i) an ‘electronic personhood’ could be created, or (ii) a new specific regulatory framework based on the existing regulatory framework could be introduced, allowing a tailor-made approach to robotics and AI.

The advantages of policy options aimed at introducing a harmonised, EU regulatory framework are to a large extent confirmed by the possible economic benefits and opportunities. A harmonised EU regulatory framework would stimulate greater research and development (R&D) activity by producers and increase the speed of uptake of these two essential new emerging technologies by consumers, resulting in a potentially positive impact in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2030, EU GDP could be 0.04 % higher than it would otherwise be under the current regulatory framework.

However, the quantitative impact on the EU economy of harmonised regulation in the markets considered is highly uncertain, with some factors providing a positive effect and others negative. Overall, analysis of the scenario suggests that harmonised regulation would increase EU trade competiveness, bring a small increase in GDP and employment through increased R&D efforts, and bring a small decrease in GDP and employment once the wider economic impacts of robotics and AI are taken into account.

It is important to note that robotics and AI are wide and multi-faceted domains, crossing multiple legal disciplines. In order to provide EU citizens with an adequate EU regulatory framework relating to robotics and AI, as well as to promote the rise of robotics and AI in the EU, enabling it to become a global leader, coordinated legal action at the EU level would seem to be necessary.


Read the complete study on ‘Cost of non-Europe in robotics and artificial intelligence‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/08/07/cost-of-non-europe-in-robotics-and-artificial-intelligence/

Promotion of renewable energy in the EU after 2020 [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 makingIn June 2018, the EU institutions reached agreement on a substantial revision of the Renewables Directive (RED), which sets an ambitious framework for the promotion of renewable energy sources in the EU over the 2021-2030 period. This includes a 32 % binding headline target for the share of renewables in EU energy consumption, as well as more stringent criteria for the environmental sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions savings of biofuels. After formal approval in December 2018, the revised RED entered into force on 24 December 2018. Member States are required to transpose all of its provisions into national law by 30 June 2021.

During the negotiations, the European Parliament pushed for greater ambition in the RED and succeeded in achieving many of its key objectives. As a result, the RED includes: a binding EU headline target of a minimum 32 % share of renewables in EU final energy consumption by 2030 (this is well above the 27 % target set in October 2014 by the European Council, and reiterated in the 2016 European Commission’s original proposal); a 14% target for the share of renewables in the transport sector (a target which the Commission had proposed to remove entirely from the directive). Furthermore, Parliament introduced a review clause in the RED that would allow the Commission to submit a new legislative proposal in 2023 with more ambitious and binding targets. These could be justified on three likely grounds: i) in order to meet global climate change goals, ii) if renewable technologies generate significant cost reductions, or iii) if greater efficiency leads to a substantial decline in energy use.

Parliament also had considerable influence in shaping the details of the revised RED, particularly in: encouraging the decentralised production of electricity from renewable sources; pushing for a detailed enabling framework that would allow the principles of renewable self-consumption and renewable energy communities to be effectively realised; shortening to just one year the permit-granting period for small scale electricity installations, and exempting them from certain market requirements. EU Member States are now required to draw up long-term schedules of their renewable support schemes, and provide information about their contributions on an EU Renewable Development Platform.

Parliament also pushed to phase out the use of certain biofuels such as palm oil that are environmentally unsustainable and lead to natural habitat destruction. It succeeded in obliging the Commission to rapidly develop a certification scheme for biofuels, and phase out entirely the use of biofuels from crops that are damaging for the natural environment.

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/2019/08/07/promotion-of-renewable-energy-in-the-eu-after-2020-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

Online shopping: banning unjustified geo-blocking and discrimination practices [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 makingAt the beginning of 2016, two in three cross-border shopping attempts in the European Union were still failing because of unlawful geo-blocking practices preventing online customers from accessing and purchasing a product or a service from a website based in another Member State, or automatically re-routing them to a local site with different conditions applicable. In November 2017, the EU institutions agreed a new regulation banning unjustified geo-blocking and discrimination practices to foster e-commerce and cross-border access to goods and services in the EU.

The European Parliament has been instrumental in forging the comprehensive and balanced legislation that is applicable since December 2018. Online traders are today prohibited from blocking or limiting access to online interfaces and from re-routing online customers to a different website without their consent for reasons related to the nationality, place of residence or place of establishment of the customer. Furthermore, geo-blocking practices are banned (i) when customers buy tangible goods (e.g. clothes) online to be delivered or collected at a specific location, (ii) when they receive electronically supplied services (e.g. cloud services, web hosting), or (iii) when they receive a service outside their place of residence (e.g. hotel booking, car rental). In these situations, online sellers cannot discriminate between customers on the basis of their nationality or place of residence, for instance by blocking some customers on the basis of their IP addresses or charging additional fees to customers from different Member States.

At the insistence of the European Parliament, the regulation clarifies that the regulation is not a one-size-fits all law, and that, in objective circumstances, online traders remain free to differentiate between customers on a specific territory within a Member State or to specific groups of customers on a non-discriminatory basis.

Parliament also had considerable influence on setting the conditions of revision of the regulation. As proposed by the European Commission, the regulation excludes from its scope services provided in various sectors including financial, transport, electronic communication and healthcare. Furthermore, in line with the traditional territorial protection of copyright, the new regulation does not apply to audio-visual services. Less stringent rules are also imposed on non-audiovisual electronically supplied services protected by copyright (such as ebooks, online games and online music) for the time being. However, after lengthy negotiations, Parliament’s negotiators achieved the inclusion in the regulation of a more stringent review clause requiring the Commission to assess (within two years of the entry into force of the regulation and then every five years) whether to extend the new rules to all services, including digital content and audiovisual services subject to copyright protection.

The review clause enhances the Parliament’s oversight of the implementation of the new rules, with the Commission being required to report on the evaluation of the regulation and to amend the geoblocking rules in light of legal, technical and economic developments – especially the increasing expectations of consumers for accessing copyright-protected services. Importantly, at the express request of the Parliament, a very detailed ‘Statement by the Commission’ committing it to perform a substantive and reasoned analysis of the feasibility of amending the regulation already by March 2020, was annexed to the published legislation. This could give the Parliament leverage to push for banning unjustified geoblocking and discrimination practices arising in the field of copyright-protected services including audiovisual services.

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/2019/08/05/online-shopping-banning-unjustified-geo-blocking-and-discrimination-practices-european-parliament-impact-2014-2019/

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/