News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

Finland: The Grand Committee adopted Parliament’s position on the European Rule of Law Mechanism

On 20 November, the Grand Committee discussed the European Rule of Law Mechanism which aims to protect EU budget and values. The Committee decided to adopt the Government position which supports the agreement on the mechanism reached between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The mechanism would allow the suspension of budget payments to a member state violating the rule of law.

Source: Finnish Parliament

German Bundestag Adopts Opinion on Animal Welfare

On 19 October 2020, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopted conclusions on the Commission´s “Farm to Fork“ strategy that was published in May 2020. The Farm to Fork strategy aims at making food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly and is one key element of the European Green Deal. One objective of the strategy is the improvement of animal welfare. To contribute to that goal the European Commission announced that it “will consider options for animal welfare labelling“ (COM/2020/0381). In its Conclusions, the Council invited the Commission to assess the impact of an EU regulatory framework for animal welfare labelling taking the national experiences of the Member States and the administrative costs into account (Council of the EU 12099/20).

On 03 July 2020, the German Bundestag, at the request of the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups, adopted an opinion on animal welfare. The Bundestag called upon the Federal Government to work towards the introduction of EU-wide binding labels on animal husbandry and origin during the German Council Presidency.

Source: German Bundestag

Mr. Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-president of the European Commission, debates with members of Belgian parliamentary assemblies

On October 12th 2020, the Belgian House of Representatives hosted an Interparliamentary Climate Dialogue. Representatives of the committees responsible for climate-related topics of the House of Representatives, the Flemish Parliament, the Walloon Parliament, the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region and the Parliament of the German-speaking Community heard Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans on the European Commission’s Green Deal.

The Executive Vice-President gave a presentation and replied to questions.

For more information: please see (Dutch, French, German) (prov.)

Source: The Belgian House of Representatives

Portuguese Parliament EAC to hold MFF 2021-27 and Own Resources Decision hearing

The European Affairs Committee of the Portuguese parliament Assembleia da República will hold a hearing with the European Parliament’s co-rapporteurs Margarida Marques and José Manuel Fernandes on the MFF 2021-27 and the Own Resources Decision. This hearing will take place on the 13th October, at 2:30 pm (Lisbon time) and can be followed live at the link

Source: The Portuguese Parliament

Finland: The Grand Committee adopted Parliament's position on the EU own resources system

On 30 September, the Grand Committee agreed on behalf of Parliament with the Finnish government regarding the proposal for Council decision on the system of own resources of the European Union. The government proposed that Finland accepts the European Council president's draft decision as it is based on the conclusions of the European Council meeting in July.

Three dissensions were appended to the committee statement.

The draft Council decision would, for example, introduce a new national contribution based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste as a new revenue source and authorise the Commission to proceed with borrowing EUR 750 billion for the COVID-19 recovery instrument.

Source: Finnish Parliament

Europol’s work in times of COVID : the fight against extremism and future challenges

MEPs and members of national parliaments will take stock of Europol activities in the midst of the pandemic, the fight against right-wing extremism and terrorism and its future role.

The seventh meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol (JPSG) will take place on 28-29 September 2020 in Brussels. The group will also look into the challenges related to Brexit that the EU police agency faces.

Europol Executive Director Ms Catherine De Bolle, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ms Ylva Johansson and Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community of Germany, Mr Horst Seehofer, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council, will present their views to MEPs and national parliamentarians.

On Monday, the JSPG will focus on Europol activities in the context of Covid-19 crisis, with participation of the European Data Protection Supervisor Mr Wojciech Wiewiórowski. There will also be a debate on the fight against right-wing extremism and terrorism, with among others representatives from the German police. On Tuesday, the discussions will focus on the future role of Europol and Brexit related challenges.

When: Monday, 28 September, from 14.00 to 18.30, and Tuesday 29 September, from to 10.00 to 12.00.

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, SPAAK 3C50, and remotely.


The JPSG was established in 2016 and provides a joint forum for Members of national parliaments and the European Parliament to carry out the scrutiny and oversight of Europol’s activities, with particular attention given to questions related to the fundamental rights.

The meetings take place at least twice a year and are chaired together by the European Parliament and the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Due to COVID-19 pandemic the meeting of the 6th JPSG planned for 22-23 March 2020 in Zagreb had to be cancelled, however contributions were received in writing.

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Source: European Parliament

7th Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol (JPSG) meeting, remote from Brussels 28-29 September 2020

The seventh meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol (JPSG) will take place on 28-29 September 2020 in Brussels and via remote participation due to the pandemic. The JPSG brings together Members of national parliaments and the European Parliament to fulfil the scrutiny and oversight on the activities of Europol including on fundamental rights.

The JPSG meets at least twice a year. It is Co-Chaired by the European Parliament and the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The agenda includes interventions by Europol Executive Director, Ms Catherine De Bolle and keynote speeches by Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community of Germany, Mr Horst Seehofer and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ms Ylva Johansson. JPSG will hear also a presentation by the European Data Protection Supervisor, Mr Wojciech Wiewiórowski. High profile discussions include topics such as the Europol activities with a special focus on Covid-19 crisis, the Fight against right-wing extremism and terrorism and the future role of the Europol and the Brexit related challenges.

Source: The European Parliament

The handling of EU’s recovery package in the Finnish Parliament

The European Council reached an agreement on the EU recovery package on 21 July. EU’s recovery package includes the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-27 and a recovery instrument called Next Generation EU or NGEU. The overall amount of commitments to the seven-year Financial Framework is EUR 1,074 billion. The total amount of the non-recurrent recovery instrument will be EUR 750 billion. EUR 360 billion of this will consist of loans and EUR 390 billion will be issued in the form of grants. The recovery instrument will remain in force until 2023.

Based on government communications, Parliamentary committees discussed the Finnish position on the recovery package before the European Council meeting. The Grand Committee formulated the Finnish position in the different phases of the negotiations. Before adopting the final position on 16 July, the Grand Committee received statements from the Constitutional Law Committee and Financial Committee.

What next?


Parliamentary committees continue to handle proposals for EU regulations based on government communications in advance of meetings of the Council and its working groups, until the Council of the European Union, European Parliament and European Commission have finalised the legislation in tripartite negotiations. The role of the sector committees is to provide contributions relating to their areas of competence to the Grand Committee, which formulates the Finnish position.

Once adopted, EU regulations will regulate the practical implication of the EU recovery package also on a national level.

Plenary sessions

Prime Minister Sanna Marin made an announcement to Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework and Next Generation EU recovery instrument in plenary session on 9 September. Prime Minister’s announcements are not sent to committee for consideration nor do they lead to any decision.

In the Grand Committee on the same day, Prime Minister Marin said that a government report on the national recovery plan will be submitted to the Parliament. The national plan will guide the use of European recovery funds in Finland.

The decision on the system of own resources must be ratified by the Parliament and will be handled in a plenary session as a government bill in due time.

Parliament and the EU

The Finnish Parliament plays a strong role in decision-making on EU matters, compared to many other member states. Parliament decides what position Finland should take in EU decision-making on matters that fall within Parliament's competence.

Source: The Finnish Parliament

EP Weekly agenda of meetings, 31 August - 4 September 2020

Over 20 Committees’ meeting will take place this week in the European Parliament in Brussels.

the sub-Committee on Human Rights will start on Monday with an Exchange of views with Dr Denis MUKWEGE, Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2018 and Sakharov Prize laureate 2014 and an Exchange of views on the human rights situation in Democratic Republic of Congo.

On 1 September, AFCO members will continue Consideration of the Amendments to the Rules of Procedure in order to ensure the functioning of Parliament in extraordinary circumstances.

Also on 1 September, AFET members will debate, among other things, about The situation in Lebanon, with EEAS Deputy Managing Director for MENA, Carl Hallergard, and European Commission (DG NEAR) Deputy Director-General Maciej Popowski; - Gilles Bertrand, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim to Syria; - EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, with the European External Action Service and the European Commission; - The situation in Venezuela, with the European External Action Service

On 2and 3 September, LIBE will discuss, among other topics, about The Establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, and will have several exchanges of view, including on the European Court of Justice judgement on the Case-311-18 (Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Ltd and Maximillian Schrems). Invalidity of the Commission decision 2016/ 1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield, with Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice.

The full list of meetings with documents and links to the web streaming cab be found here.

Source: European Parliament

EP: Extraordinary AFET Meeting on Belarus

AFET Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 25 August, 11.00-13.00 (remote participation via Antall 6Q2) dedicated to the situation in Belarus.

On Thursday 27, the members of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) will also meet.

Source: European Parliament
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