News from Parliaments

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EP Committees agenda 29-06 02-07 2020

29/06/2020
Over 10 Committees will hold meetings this week at the European Parliament, using both direct physical presence of MEPs and remote participation. Among the others LIBE on 29.06 organises an Exchange of views on the Establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, with Věra Jourová, German Presidency, FRA, Venice Commission , ENCJ and on a Draft working document on the impact of COVID_19 prepared by LIBE Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group activities. DEVE will meet on 02-07 to hold an Exchange of views on EU humanitarian aid following the COVID-19 Crisis and prospects for the next MFF, with Commissioner Janez Lenarčič. SEDE on 02.07 will have an exchange of views with Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, France. On 03.07 DROI discusses  Human rights protection and the EU external migration policy and The effects of climate change on human rights and the role of environmental defenders on this matter. FEMM on 03.07 wil have an Exchange of views with German Federal Minister Franziska Giffey, Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

The list of all meetings with links to the webstreaming, agendas and other documents can be found here:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/agenda/weekly-agenda


Source: The European Parliament

Launch of the German Bundestag’s website and Twitter account about the parliamentary dimension of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

25/06/2020
To mark the start of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, the German Bundestag is expanding its online presence. On the website www.parleu2020.de, those who are interested can access information in German, English and French about the parliamentary activities as part of Germany’s six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU. At the same time, the Bundestag is launching its own Twitter account at @parleu2020de.

Source: The German Bundestag

Examination of the Climate and Energy Strategy of Cyprus 2021-2030 at the House of Representatives of Cyprus

25/06/2020
The Committee on the Environment of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, at a meeting held on the 24th June 2020, examined the Climate and Energy Strategy of Cyprus 2021-2030 in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works as well as representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry. Following a presentation of the emission reduction targets set for each sector, an exchange of views on the actions needed to attain these targets was held. Emphasis was given to the transport sector, the agriculture sector, waste management, the increase of the contribution of renewables in the energy and transport sectors as well as the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings in Cyprus.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus

EP Weekly agenda of meetings, 22-26 June 2020

22/06/2020
Almost all EP Committees will hold meetings this week. Among the others, on Monday 22 June BUDG will have an exchange of views with Commissioner Johannes Hahn on budget related issues, including the Negotiations on the next MFF, own resources and recovery plan. ENVI members will discuss a European strategy to accelerate the development, manufacture and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19, with Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides; ON Tuesday 23 June, JURI will hold a Structured dialogue with Commission Vice-President for a Europe Fit for Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager. The same day, LIBE members will discuss the implementation of the Dublin III Regulation. SEDE will have an exchange of views with Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, on 26 June. The full list of meetings, with the agendas and documents is available here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/agenda/weekly-agenda

Source: The European Parliament

EP Resolution on the Conference on the Future of Europe

18/06/2020
Following a debate with the European Commission and the Council, the European Parliament adopted on 18 June a Resolution on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The EP “Regrets that the Council has not yet adopted a position on the Conference”, “Urges the Council to include in its mandate a commitment to meaningful follow-up and the meaningful direct involvement of citizens, and to keep the scope of the Conference open to all possible outcomes, including legislative proposals, initiating treaty change or otherwise;” and “Stresses that despite the pandemic the direct engagement of citizens, civil society organisations, social partners and elected representatives must remain a priority of the Conference; is therefore looking forward to starting the Conference so as to build a more democratic, more effective and more resilient Union together with all EU citizens;”.  

The link to the debate can be found here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/debate-details.html?date=20200617&detailBy=date 

The full text of the resolution will be available here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/texts-adopted.html  

Source: The European Parliament

Romanian Chamber of Deputies: “The Conference on the Future of Europe should be launched as soon as possible, as the current COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the imperative need for stronger EU action”

18/06/2020
Mr. Angel Tîlvăr, Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, in the framework of COSAC: “The Conference on the Future of Europe should be launched as soon as possible, as the current COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the imperative need for stronger EU action”.

The Chair of the Committee on European Affairs attended on Tuesday, 16 June 2020, in videoconference format, the extraordinary meeting of the Chairpersons of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), organised within the parliamentary dimension of the rotating presidency of the EU Council, held by Croatia.

The discussions focused on the joint European response to the COVID-19 outbreak, its impact on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

In his speech during the session on the Conference on the Future of Europe, Mr. Angel Tîlvar called for “the launch of debates on the future of Europe as soon as possible, as the current crisis has posed a challenge to the foundations of the European Union, in particular the unity and solidarity of the Member States”.

A stronger Europe is a Europe where national parliaments are directly and actively involved in a spirit of European solidarity. In this respect, I believe that the EU institutions could interact more actively with national parliaments, systematically and directly connected with the needs of its citizens, at local and regional level.

Differences between Member States from a social and administrative point of view need to be taken into account and therefore an analysis of their preparedness should be carried out as soon as possible. Also, if we talk about the first results of the conference, 2022 is too long-term; Citizens must remain focused on this long process, which is why concrete results need to be presented as often as possible, as well as the impact of the conference on current EU legislation and policies", said Mr. Angel Tîlvăr.

On possible issues to be debated, the Chair of the Committee on European Affairs believes that “a strong education sector is a key condition for a stable and strong Single Market; therefore, environmental and digital transformation should support education as a whole, taking into account technical and scientific developments”.

The meeting also presented the 33rd half-yearly COSAC report, which includes contributions from 36 parliaments/rooms of EU Member States and the European Parliament on best practices in cooperation between national parliaments and EU institutions, bodies and agencies, as well as legal parliamentary oversight mechanisms.

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Finnish Grand Committee adopts initial parliamentary position on COVID-19 recovery plan

15/06/2020
On Friday, 12 June, the Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament adopted the Eduskunta’s position ahead of Member State negotiations on the European Commission’s updated draft multiannual financial framework and Covid-19 recovery plan.   The Grand Committee has no objections at this stage to the Government’s position that was submitted in document E 64/2020. The Grand Committee expects to develop its position during negotiations. The Grand Committee’s statement to the Government (SuVL 6/2020) and supporting documents can be read (in Finnish and partly in Swedish) on the Eduskunta’s web site.   In Finnish: https://www.eduskunta.fi/FI/vaski/KasittelytiedotValtiopaivaasia/Sivut/E_64+2020.aspx In Swedish: https://www.eduskunta.fi/SV/vaski/KasittelytiedotValtiopaivaasia/Sidor/E_64+2020.aspx   The Grand Committee observes that EU-level recovery measures enjoy wide support in the Member States and business circles and among experts. Disagreement concerns financing and the legal basis.   Referring to the opinions of the Finance and Commerce Committees, the Grand Committee notes that, if adopted, the recovery plan would have a beneficial effect on the Finnish economy, as exports are a large part of our economy.   The opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee states that “this is not about developing a federal state, but about exceptional and temporary recovery measures.” The opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee examines questions that might be constitutionally sensitive. The Grand Committee’s statement instructs the Government to clarify and, if needed, remove these items.   The Grand Committee consider that Finland should be prepared to consider developing the EU’s own resources system. Introducing a plastics charge or tax as a new own resource is seen as helpful to both the Finnish economy and to the environment.   The ratio of loans and grants in the recovery programme calls for reconciling Finland’s long-standing emphasis on national responsibility for economic policy with considerations of debt sustainability in the Member States, and thus the stability of the Euro, and the growth targeted by the recovery plan, say the Grand Committee.   The Grand Committee notes that the difference between today’s situation and the previous decade’s financial crisis has obvious implications for the conditions to be attached to recovery assistance. Care must be, taken, however, not to lose incentives for responsible economic policies and modernisation.   Directing the flow of funds through the multiannual financial framework promotes the transparency, legitimacy and scrutiny of the assistance. The arrangement means that also rule of law considerations, a Finnish priority, can be ensured. The Grand Committee adds that the opportunity should be taken to include measures to combat the grey economy in the assistance criteria.   The Grand Committee underlines that the recovery fund is temporary and linked to the Covid-19 crisis. It is important that the fund’s criteria and practice reflect the pandemic’s impact on the economy and employment in the Member States.   The Grand Committee agrees with the Government that the compatibility of the recovery instrument with European law, specifically articles 310 and 311 TFEU will need to be confirmed as negotiations progress.   The Grand Committee’s statement drew on opinions to the Constitutional Law Committee (PeVL 16/2020), the Finance Committee (VaVL 2/2020) and the Commerce Committee (TaVL 15/2020). 

Source: The Parliament of Finland 

Finnish Parliament supports the goal of strengthening the EU’s climate policy by means of legal measures

15/06/2020
On Wednesday, 10 June, the Grand Committee decided on the Parliament’s position on the processing of the European Climate Law. It agrees with the Government’s position and emphasises the considerations presented by the Parliament’s special committees.   The Grand Committee’s position SuVL 5/2020 vp and other documents related to the matter have been published on the Parliament’s website in Finnish and will be later published in Swedish.  

In Finnish: https://www.eduskunta.fi/FI/vaski/Lausunto/Sivut/SuVL_5+2020.aspx In Swedish: https://www.eduskunta.fi/SV/vaski/KasittelytiedotValtiopaivaasia/Sidor/U_11+2020.aspx 

  The objective of the European Climate Law is to create a framework for achieving climate neutrality in the EU by, among other things, setting a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and giving regulations about a new EU target for 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions as well as measures related to the adaptation to climate change.   The Grand Committee supports the goal of strengthening the EU’s climate policy by means of legal measures. Strengthening the binding nature of measures, even more ambitious emission reduction targets and developing the legislation accordingly also help Finland achieve its national carbon neutrality target by 2035 and carbon negativity soon after that.   Finland is one of the few EU Member States that has a national Climate Change Act with legal requirements. It is therefore in Finland’s interests to promote a development where climate policy is strengthened by means of legislation in the other Member States as well, the Grand Committee states in its position.   The Grand Committee finds that all EU Member States should do their part so that the climate neutrality target can be achieved and that the EU should, as a climate leader, seek to get global actors to commit themselves to even more ambitious targets. The European Climate Law is a part of the execution of the European Green Deal. The Grand Committee has discussed the European Green Deal previously in its position SuVL 3/2020.   The Grand Committee supports the Commission proposal’s principles of regular reviews and measuring of progress and emphasises the need to strengthen the scientific basis for climate law as well as the measures needed in order to adapt to climate change.   The Committee finds that emissions trading is the primary means of reducing emissions in energy production and the industry and supports its strengthening and investigating its expansion (SuVL 3/2020 vp).   Carbon reservoirs and carbon sinks in the land use sector should still be managed nationally in each Member State. The climate actions of countries implementing an ambitious climate policy should not benefit other countries. The emission reduction results in the land use sector should, however, be coordinated and evaluated on the EU level, the Grand Committee states.   Preparation of Climate Law must be open and participatory   The Grand Committee emphasises the significance of transparency and participation in the preparation of the matter. The EU’s climate policy is of great importance for society, and climate change cannot be mitigated or adapted to effectively through measures implemented by Member States solely. An open dialogue of the EU’s policy actions is important.   The construction of a climate neutral society requires major changes that are impossible without the support of citizens in order to ensure social justice and a fair transition, the Grand Committee concludes. 

Source: The Parliament of Finland

EP Weekly agenda 15-19 June 2020

15/06/2020
A week of committees’ meetings and plenary session at the European Parliament. Commissioner Jurova meets LIBE members for a structural dialogue in LIBE and ECON holds a public hearing on the economic consequences of the COVID outbreak on Monday afternoon. The plenary will take place on 17-18 June.  

Full list of meetings with agendas and link to webstreaming can be found here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/agenda/weekly-agenda

  Source: The European Parliament

Plenary Debate in the Swedish Riksdag on the Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence

12/06/2020
On 3 June 2020, the Swedish Riksdag held a plenary debate on the Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The debate was based on the statement by the Committee on Education.

In the statement, the Committee welcomes the Commission’s White Paper on AI and acknowledges the potential of the AI technology in areas such as welfare and competitiveness. It stresses the importance of a proportional regulatory framework that balances the risks of AI and safeguards the functioning of the internal market in connection with the introduction of new rules. The Committee considers that the White Paper contributes to the ongoing discussion on how the EU can benefit from AI and notes that AI will play an increasingly important role to both the lives of individuals and the economic development. The relevant summary of the Committee’s statement can be found here.

Source: The Swedish Riksdag
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