News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

EC Vice-President Reding meets the Belgian Federal Parliament

20/05/2013
On May 14th 2013, Ms Viviane Reding, Vice-president and Commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, was received by the Belgian Parliament’s Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs where she presented the EU Citizenship Report 2013 - EU citizens: your rights, your future (COM(2013)269). In this framework, she deplored that quite a few EU-citizens still face serious obstacles when travelling to or working in a Member State which is not theirs. This may result in a lack of confidence and even in doubts on the use of taking part in the vote for European Parliament alltogether.

The representatives and the senators expressed their concerns and – in some cases – their disappointments regarding the European project. In her reply, Ms Reding stressed that the European Union is being built in small steps and that every single actor, on whichever level, has to make determined and continuous attempts to achieve this.

Source: The Belgian Federal Parliament

Accession of Croatia to the European Union

17/05/2013
The German Bundestag, approved, on 16 May 2013, the Bill on the Accession of Croatia to the European Union following a recommendation submitted to the Plenary by the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. In total, 583 of 589 Members of Parliament present at the Chamber voted in favour, six abstained.

More information (in German):
http://www.bundestag.de/dokumente/textarchiv/2013/44758917_kw20_de_eubeitritt_kroatien/index.html

Source: German Bundestag

SYMPOSIUM ON ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’, BERLIN, 29th - 30th OF APRIL 2013

06/05/2013
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) with the European Union under the framework of the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project organized a symposium on ‘good governance’ to raise awareness and promote dialogue on good governance both theory and practice between Turkey and the EU. The ‘Symposium on Good Governance’, organized jointly by the GNAT and the EU, was held in Berlin on the 29th and 30th of April 2013.

Around the 80 participants, including more than 20 members of parliaments from Turkey, EU Member States as well as the European Parliament, along with political party and civil society representatives, academicians and journalists, discussed topics such as the “Implementation of the Principles of Good Governance, Participation, Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness in Good Governance, Turkey and EU Perspectives on Good Governance and the Role of Media on Good Governance”.

The ‘Symposium on Good Governance’, is the fourth out of six symposia to be held in the context of the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project, aiming to maximize the role of the GNAT in the process of EU membership negotiations by promoting dialogue among the members of the parliaments in the EU Member States and in Turkey.

In order to follow the next project meetings, the official web site, Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Project are the following: http://pecs.tbmm.gov.tr, https://twitter.com/pexdproject and http://www.facebook.com/pexdproject

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

GNAT Delegation in France

26/04/2013
The inter-parliamentary exchange visits within the context of “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project”, realized to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding between Turkey and European Union, have continued with the visit of the GNAT Delegation to the French National Assembly and the French Senate on 8th-12th April, 2013.

The GNAT Delegation consisting of Prof. Dr. Mehmet Tekelioğlu, the Chair of the European Union Harmonization Committee, Mehmet Kasım Gülpınar, Chair of the Turkey- France Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Tülin Erkal Kara and Ayşe Gülsün Bilgehan, members of the Turkey-France Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Prof. Dr. Zühal Topcu, member of the European Union Harmonization Committee, and Assistant Expert on Legislation Ömer Faruk Kılıçkaya held high level meetings with the Secretary General of the French Senate, France-Turkey Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, the members of the French Senate Committees on European Affairs and on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces; the Secretary General of the French National Assembly, The French National Assembly Committee on European Affairs and the vice presidents of the National Assembly.

Turkey-EU relations; the opening new chapters in the EU membership negotiations with Turkey, bilateral relations about crucial issues are the main topics discussed during the visits. Turkish parliamentarians emphasized the determination of Turkey to attain the EU’s standards on human rights, civil liberty.

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Hearing on the European Semester held by the Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European Union

23/04/2013
The German Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European Union held a hearing on the European Semester on 17 April 2013. The European Semester is an annual process in which the European Commission analyses national reform programmes outlining economic and structural reforms, and then issues recommendations that the EU countries take into consideration in drawing up their budgets. Several experts from academia and think-tanks stated at the hearing that the European Semester offered opportunities to enhance the coordination of economic policies but failed to take social issues sufficiently into account, and that it was also resulting in a number of democratic problems.

The experts took the view that enhanced coordination of economic policies is not the preliminary stage of an ‘economic government’, but rather a form of support for individual countries in implementing policies. The experts said that the essential aim had to be to achieve balanced budgets. Reforms and new rules would have the intended effect, but patience was required regarding their implementation.

Social issues should not, the experts argued, be viewed solely in terms of reducing long-term unemployment. The reports produced within the framework of the European Semester should be supplemented by national social reports.

In democratic terms, the experts felt that the crisis had strengthened technocratic and intergovernmental decision-making, and undermined and in some respects reversed past steps to democratise the EU through progressive parliamentarisation. The experts said that coordination in the framework of the European Semester was taking place in the shadow of European decisions. No agreement has been reached about the role of the European Parliament in this context, according to the experts. Particularly at the end of the European Semester process, it is largely sidelined, meaning that it can only play a reactive role in terms of oversight. Further information in German can be found here:
http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ausschuesse17/a21/anhoerungen/17042013europ_semester/index.html

Source: German Bundestag

The German Bundestag intends to strengthen its participation in EU affairs

26/03/2013
The German Bundestag intends to strengthen its participation in EU affairs
26/03/2013
The five parliamentary groups represented in the German Bundestag have declared their intention to reform the possibilities for the Bundestag to participate in EU affairs, by amending the Act on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters concerning the European Union (EUZBBG). They stress that the ruling issued by the Federal Constitutional Court on 9 June 2012 has made more concrete Parliament’s rights to receive information and participate in this field. The relevant bill makes clear in particular that the German Federal Government’s obligations to provide Parliament with information “also apply to international treaties and intergovernmental agreements if they supplement, or are otherwise closely related to” EU law. The bill is available in German.
Source: German Bundestag

Ratification of the Fiscal Compact by the Hungarian National Assembly

26/03/2013
Ratification of the Fiscal Compact by the Hungarian National Assembly

On 25 March 2013 the Hungarian National Assembly ratified the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact). The figures of the votes at the Országgyülés are the following: 307 in favour, 32 against, 13 abstentions. The bill has to be promulgated by the President of the Republic.
The process of drafting of the Treaty was primarily followed up by the Committee on European Affairs. In February 2012 the Fiscal Compact was debated at numerous occasions by different committees (the Committee on European Affairs, the Economic and Information Technology Committee, the Committee on Audit Office and Budget). A parliamentary resolution empowering the Prime Minister for the signature of the Fiscal Compact was adopted on 20 February 2012 by the Hungarian National Assembly.

Source: Hungarian National Assembly

Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project’s Exchange - Visits Well Under Way

25/03/2013
Following the visit of the Turkish Delegation to Portugal, which marked the first in the series of the exchange visits and the Luxembourg Delegation which was the first to be received in Turkey, the exchange visits -scheduled under the joint GNAT-EU ‘Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue’ Project- are gaining momentum.
Within the scope of the Project, during March alone, another four visits took place. From the 11th-16th of March Portuguese Delegation visited Ankara and Istanbul and Turkish Delegation visited Hungary, while the following week Romanian Delegation (18-22 March) and Hungarian Delegation (19-24 March) visited Turkey.
In particular, the incoming delegations from the Portuguese Parliament (Mr. Rafael Adriano Moreira, MP, Mr. Raul Almeida MP, Ms Gloria Maria da Silva Araujo, MP), the Hungarian Parliament (Dr. Richard Horcsik, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs, Dr. Andras Kelemen, Chief Advisor to the Speaker on EU Affairs and Dr. Lazlo Huhasz, Chief Advisor, Secretary General of Committee on European Affairs) and the Romanian Parliament (Senator Ben-Oni Ardelean and Vice Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Natalia-Elena Intotero) were received by the Speaker and Vice Speaker of the GNAT, held consultation sessions with members of the Committee on EU Harmonization, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the inter-parliamentary friendship groups and had high level meetings with all political party groups represented in the GNAT, namely the Justice and Development Party, the Republican People’s Party, the Nationalist Movement Party and the Peace and Democracy Party.
In turn, the Delegation from the GNAT that visited the Hungarian Parliament (Ms Fato? Gürkan, MP and Mr. Recep Gürkan MP, Hikmet ?lhan ?REN, Assistant Expert on Legislation) had the chance to meet with Mr. László Kovacs, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Richárd Horcsik, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Mr. Tamas Hegedus, Chair of the Hungary-Turkey Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr. Tamás LUKÁCS Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Minority, Civic and Religious Affairs and had high level meetings with Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Human Resources.
The exchange visits are expected to continue with the same intensity in the coming weeks. Already there are arranged exchange visits to be held, involving a Turkish Delegation to Estonia (25-28 March), an Irish Delegation to Turkey (7-12 April), a Turkish Delegation to France (8-12 April) and a UK Delegation to Turkey (15-19 April).
For more information on “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project”, upcoming events and exchange visits, please visit:http://pecs.tbmm.gov.tr/

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Delegation of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee visited to the European Parliament

21/03/2013
On March 11th -14th, Co-chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Afif DEMİRKIRAN, Yıldırım Mehmet RAMAZANOĞLU and Ayşe Eser DANIŞOĞLU visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg. They paid visits to some of the members of Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the EP’s Rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten in order to convey Turkish standpoint on some vital issues which are included in the European Parliament 2012 Draft Progress Report on Turkey. Cyprus issue, new civil constitution of Turkey and the state of Syrians under temporary protection are the main topics discussed during the visits. Turkish parliamentarians assessed the amendments given to the draft report and demanded members of the European Parliament to come up with a fair and balanced report encouraging Turkey for further progress.

The Draft Progress Report on Turkey will be voted in AFET on 21 March and in the Plenary on 17 April, 2013.

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Romanian Parliament ratifies the Protocol on concerns of the Irish people on the Treaty of Lisbon

13/03/2013
The Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies agreed, during its joint session of March 12, to ratify the Protocol on the concerns of the Irish people on the Treaty of Lisbon, signed in Brussels, on June 13, 2012.

The decision followed the favorable reports of the referred standing Committees, adopted unanimously. Final vote is scheduled for the upcoming joint session. The draft law for ratification has been initiated after its signing. The history of this process started in 2009, in the perspective of the entering into force Treaty of Lisbon, when the Member States accepted certain guarantees for Ireland and the Czech Republic regarding potential modifications of provisions of the Treaty. The draft law introduces the present Protocol, as part of the EU primary law, in the domestic juridical order of Romania.

More details (in Romanian) on the parliamentary procedures of the draft law at: http://www.cdep.ro/pls/proiecte/upl_pck.proiect?idp=13024.

Source: The Romanian Chamber of Deputies
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