News from Parliaments

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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

Cyprus House of Representatives, Standing Committees on Agriculture and Natural Resources and Environment joint discussion on the EU’s long-term strategy for a cleaner planet

04/07/2019
At a joint meeting held on the 2nd July 2019, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Standing Committee on the Environment of the House of Representatives of Cyprus held a discussion on the EU’s long-term strategy for a cleaner planet in the presence of the Director on Climate Strategy of the European Commission, Mr. Artur Runge-Metzger. The debate focused on EU efforts to decarbonize the European economy in order to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, as well as ways in which each sector of the economy can contribute to the said process. Furthermore, the challenges that each sector poses were discussed, as well as ways in which the EU can assist member states in implementing the appropriate emission reduction measures to enable them to attain the objectives set.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus

Italian Chamber of Deputies, Hearing of Minister before Council of the EU meeting

04/07/2019
On 3 July 2019, the hearing of the italian Under Secretary of State for Labor and Social Policies, Claudio Cominardi, was held at the Chamber of Deputies in a joint sitting of the Commissions Public and Private sector Employment and European Union Policies. The Under Secretary gave a statement on the upcoming Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of the European Union, due on 8 July 2019. 

Before the event the Chamber EU Affairs Department published a dossier which is available at the following link https://temi.camera.it/leg18/dossier/OCD18-12410/consiglio-occupazione-politica-sociale-sanita-e-affari-consumatori-epsco-bruxelles-8-luglio-2019.html.
A video recording of the sitting is also available on the website of the Italian Chamber of Deputies https://webtv.camera.it/evento/14729. 

Source: Italian Chamber of Deputies

Cyprus House of Representatives, Plenary debate on the Future of Europe and Brexit

02/07/2019
The Plenary of the House of Representatives of Cyprus held a debate on the Future of Europe at its meeting held on the 28th June 2019. The debate, in which all political parties presented their views on the Future of Europe, included references to the five scenarios of the White Paper on the Future of Europe presented by the European Commission.

This constitutes the second debate on issues related to the Future of Europe, following the debate on Brexit held by the Plenary of the House of Representatives at its previous meeting, which focused on the impact of Brexit on the citizens, especially those living within the British Military Bases in Cyprus. The said matter has also been debated by the Standing Committee on Foreign and European Affairs in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus
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