News from Parliaments

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Hellenic Parliament: Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Alternate Koumoutsakos briefed competent Committees of the Hellenic Parliament

17/10/2019
Members of the Hellenic Parliament jointly competent Committees on European Affairs and Public Administration, Public Order and Justice were briefed on migration-refugee issue recent developments by the Greek Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, mr. Dimitrios Avramopoulos and the Minister Alternate of Citizen Protection, responsible for Migration Policy, Mr. George Koumoutsakos.

During the Committees’ joint meeting, the First Vice President of the Hellenic Parliament and Chairman of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs, Mr Nikitas Kaklamanis, stressed the failure of reaching agreement on a balanced and capable of coping with future challenges reform of the Union’s framework on migration, resulting to EU being led in regression, in fields such as in the operation of the Schengen area. He also referred to Turkey's unlawful and provocative behavior, both managing at will migration flows and invading Syria, with serious impact on wider region stability and civilian security, moreover causing further displacement of populations.

Mr. Avramopoulos, taking stock of his mandate to the European Commission, noted that EU cohesion and unity have been seriously challenged by the refugee-migration crisis, as Europe found itself unprepared, lacking an immigration and security policy , which was formulated within a few months from his appointment. He recalled that Greece received full financial, operational and practical assistance from the EU in shouldering responsibility for managing the Eastern Mediterranean common European borders. However, he attributed problems occurring in the last five years and resulting from the phenomenon’s exacerbation to state mechanism malaise. He also disclosed that, on two occasions, the possible exit of Greece from the Schengen zone was brought to discussion. Closing , he stressed that Greece is certainly under pressure but does not stand alone, reminding that the problem is not Greek, nor Greek-Turkish, but European and global.

Mr Koumoutsakos briefed committee members on the Greece-Cyprus-Bulgaria “Eastern Mediterranean Migration Route Initiative” (EMMI, presented at the recent EU Council of Ministers, as well as on the Greek government's actions towards UNICEF and the UNHCR regarding unaccompanied children. At a country level, the Greek government, in order to respond effectively to the new increase in migratory flows in the Aegean, has convened twice the KYSEA and the Council of Ministers. Mr Koumoutsakos announced that relevant legislative initiatives will be shortly submitted to the Parliament.

Source: Hellenic Parliament

German Bundestag discussed application of the Republic of North Macedonia and of the Republic of Albania for accession to the EU

08/10/2019
At its 115th sitting, held on 26 September 2019, the German Bundestag established agreement with the Federal Government concerning the application of the Republic of North Macedonia and of the Republic of Albania for accession to the EU. The Bundestag called on the Federal Government to make its consent in the European Council on 17 and 18 October 2019 subject to a number of prerequisites. The English version of the decisions can be found here on in the IPEX data base: COM(2019) 260.

https://www.bundestag.de/ipex008
https://www.bundestag.de/ipex007

Source: German Bundestag

Finnish Ambassador to Greece briefs the Parliamentary Committees on European Affairs and National Defense-Foreign Affairs on the priorities of the Finnish Presidency

27/09/2019
The priorities of the Finnish Presidency comprised the agenda of the joint meeting of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs and the Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament. The MPs and MEPs were briefed by the Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to Greece, Mr Juha Markus PYYKKÖ. In his introductory remarks, mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis, First Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament and Chairman of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs, said that this meeting launches a circle of contacts with the diplomatic authorities of the countries holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. He noted that Finland is taking over the Presidency at a delicate moment for the EU, namely the start of the European Parliament’s new Parliamentary term and with significant challenges lying ahead, such as the conclusion of negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework. Ambassador Juha Markus PYYKKÖ, routing from the Finnish Presidency's motto "Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future", outlined its priorities, summarized in titles as follows: strengthening shared values and the rule of law, policies for a more competitive -yet socially cohesive- Europe, how Europe can become a pioneer in halting climate change, protection and security for European citizens. He made special reference to the comprehensive response to the migration issue and the conclusion of negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework. A lively debate followed, with Greek MPs and MEPs focusing especially to the migration issue and the budget of the European Union. 

​Source: The Hellenic Parliament

Austrian National Council’s EU-subcommittee rejects the Mercosur Free Trade Agreement

20/09/2019
The free trade agreement negotiated by the European Union with the South American Mercosur market was the subject of discussion in the Standing EU subcommittee of the National Council of the Austrian Parliament on 18 September. Based on two documents from the European Commission the discussion concentrated on the text of the draft trade agreement reached last June after almost two decades of negotiations. The Mercosur Agreement covers Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

The current Minister of Economy, Ms Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl and the Minister of Sustainability and Tourism, Maria Patek, were invited to the committee to discuss the agreement. Both underlined the strategic importance of a political and economic partnership with this region. According to Ms Udolf-Strobl, the agreement offers opportunities for export-oriented SMEs in Austria, as the majority of customs duties will be on EU exports to the South American region. The products that have been subject to high tariffs so far include automobiles, auto parts, machines, chemicals, and medicines. The Minister of Economy stressed the fact that the agreement must also ensure that environmental protection is guaranteed and that the interests of consumers and sensitive economic sectors in the EU are safeguarded. Furthermore, she recalled that Austria had always advocated a bilateral safeguard mechanism in order to be able to ward off excessive imports, which could endanger its own agricultural production, for example. According to Sustainability Minister Patek, some of the points that still need to be clarified include the question of how the agreement takes into account the interests of agriculture, the precautionary principle and the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. Hence, both agreed that a final assessment would be possible only once the final text of the agreement had been submitted.

Nevertheless, all five parliamentary groups in the National Council have expressed serious reservations about the Mercosur Agreement, leading to a broad rejection of the agreement by issuing two binding opinions, which means that the Austrian government is obliged to follow the decision of the subcommittee at EU level. All parties, except the NEOS, voted against the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement. The invoked reasons diverged widely.
For most of the EU committee members Mercosur Agreement does not provide sufficient answers to important questions such as environmental and climate protection, social and labour standards or the validity of the precautionary principle. Also, serious concerns were expressed regarding the fires in the Amazon rainforest and the politics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as maintaining high EU standards in the area of food quality, protection of the environment and animals, protection of child rights, protection of indigenous populations, conservation of forests, respect for workers' rights and the promotion of responsible business practices as well as the consequences for agriculture in Austria.

For further information, see the press release

Source: The Austrian National Council

Swedish Riksdagen delegation to JPSG on Europol visits Europol HQ

13/09/2019
The Swedish Parliament’s delegation to the JPSG ( Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group) on Europol visited the Europol headquarters in The Hague on 12-13 September. The aim of the delegation’s visit is to learn more about the organisation and the work of Europol.

Source: The Swedish Parliament

ITALIAN PARLIAMENT HEARING OF ITALIAN MEPS ON THE PRIORITIES OF THE NEW EP

30/07/2019
On 30 July 2019, the Committees of the European Union Policies of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate jointly held the hearing of Italian members of the European Parliament on the priorities of the new EP legislature. Before the event, the EU Affairs Department of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate Research Service published a joint Dossier, which is available at the following link http://documenti.camera.it/leg18/dossier/pdf/AT022.pdf?_1564493190607. A video recording of the sitting is also available on the website of the Italian Chamber of Deputies https://webtv.camera.it/evento/14900.

Source: Italian Chamber of Deputies

ITALIAN PARLIAMENT: HEARING OF ITALIAN UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE ON UPCOMING AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES COUNCIL OF THE EU

12/07/2019
On 11 July 2019, the hearing of the Italian Under Secretary of State for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, Franco Manzato, was held in a joint sitting of the Chamber and the Senate Committees on Agriculture and European Union Policies. During the hearing, which took place at the Chamber of Deputies premises, the Under Secretary gave a statement on the upcoming Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the European Union, due on 15 July 2019. Before the event the EU Affairs Department of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate Research Service published a joint Dossier, which is available at the following link http://documenti.camera.it/leg18/dossier/pdf/AT019.pdf?_1562844077120. A video recording of the sitting is also available on the website of the Italian Chamber of Deputies https://webtv.camera.it/evento/14783.

Source: Italian Parliament

ITALIAN PARLIAMENT: HEARING OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ON THE OUTCOME OF THE SPECIAL EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING

10/07/2019
On 9 July 2019, the hearing of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Moavero Milanesi, was held in the Italian Parliament. Mr Moavero Milanesi updated MPs about the outcome of the special European Council meeting, which was held between 30 june and 2 july. The hearing took place at the Chamber of Deputies premises in a joint sitting of the Chamber and the Senate Committees on European Union Policies. A video recording is available on the Chamber website (https://www.camera.it/leg18/1132?shadow_primapagina=9311#guarda)

Before the event the Chamber EU Affairs Department published a Dossier on the renewal of the main offices of the EU institutions (https://temi.camera.it/leg18/dossier/OCD18-12180/rinnovo-principali-cariche-istituzioni-ue.html).

Source: Italian Parliament

 

ITALIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES APPROVES FINAL DOCUMENT ON THE COMMUNICATION “BETTER REGULATION: TAKING STOCK AND SUSTAINING OUR COMMITMENT”

10/07/2019
On 10 July 2019 the Committee on European Union Policies of the Italian Chamber of Deputies ended the scrutiny of the EU communication on “Better regulation: taking stock and sustaining our commitment” (COM(2019)178), issuing a final document.

Source: Italian Chamber of Deputies

The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of Cyprus continues the discussion on the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020

04/07/2019
At its meeting on 2nd July 2019, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of Cyprus continued its discussion on the new developments regarding the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020 in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus
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