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The ‘Inter-Parliamentary Summer Camp on Youth, Democracy and Change’, to be organized jointly by Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) and the EU, was held in Izmir from the 3rd to the 5th of July 2013 with the participation of Mr. Egemen Bağış, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator.

Among the 90 participants who are invited to the Symposium there were more than 20 of the young members of parliaments from Turkey, EU Member States, who along with political party and civil society representatives, academicians and journalists, they discussed topics such as: “Youth Politics as a Leverage for Change”, “Youth, Identities and Transnational Flows”, “Tackling Youth Employment”, “E-Politics: New Paths of Youth Participation”.

The proceedings of the ‘Inter-Parliamentary Summer Camp on Youth, Democracy and Change’ were concluded on the 5th of July with a brunch during which young politicians discussing Youth Policies in their countries.

In the opening speeches of the symposium, the Chair of the Committee on Youth and Sports of the Lithuanian Parliament, Mr. Juras POŽELA underlined that “Turkey needs the EU as much as the EU needs Turkey; we are ready to do our best for Turkey to be part of the EU, where it belongs.”

The Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Mr. Egemen BAĞIŞ reveals that many politicians of the EU have realized the strategic importance of Turkey. BAĞIŞ further claimed that our citizens are aware of the importance of EU criteria; however, their faith in accession is fading. He also highlighted that as the EU is a project of togetherness and peace, and as Turkey is “the most eastern country of the west and the most western country of the east”, Turkey should be the part of EU.

The Chair of the Committee on EU Harmonization, Prof. Dr. Mehmet TEKELİOĞLU remarked that the change in Turkey will continue and shall progress towards the level it deserves.

As part of the social program, the participants had the opportunity to see the Ephesus which was an ancient Roman city, on the coast of Ionia, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province; The house of the Virgin Mary; Şirince, a village acquired world-wide fame when tourists flocked to the village in December 2012 to witness the Mayan Apocalypse, as New Age mystics believed its "positive energy" would aid in weathering the catastrophe, during the 2012 phenomenon.

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

President Van Rompuy's Visit to Malta

His Excellency President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy addressed the Maltese Parliament during a special afternoon sitting on 11 July 2013.

The Speaker of the House, Anglu Farrugia, welcomed H.E. President Van Rompuy and thanked him for once again visiting our island.

The Speaker referred to the issue of irregular immigration that Malta is facing and urged for greater solidarity and support, emphasizing the importance of said support in order for the people to maintain and strengthen their belief in the institutions.

The Speaker noted that unbridled progress can be counterproductive, and that we must pursue it with balance, as economic growth should not come at the expense of life.
Hon. Farrugia referred to the EU decision making process and to role of the Maltese Parliament when, together with the intervention of other European Parliaments, the yellow card process was triggered for the first time on a Commission’s proposal, stressing that the value of consultation should never be sacrificed.

In his address, President Van Rompuy praised Malta for its success in promoting new business and setting new infrastructure, as well as for introducing better education and job opportunities. He recalled how each country, no matter its size, has its part to play in the Union, and can have its voice amplified regionally and worldwide, vastly increasing its negotiating power as part of a Union of 500 million citizens.

President Van Rompuy stressed that coordination is vital on financial affairs, budget matters and economic policy, and that the banking union remains a priority, in order to achieve a genuine Economic and Monetary Union, noting Malta’s active participation in this regard. He noted how financial stability is only one ingredient in the recipe to economic prosperity, stimulating employment and encouraging growth across the continent.

President Van Rompuy made reference to a single European energy market and a single grid, noting that progress was being made in this area.

On the immigration issue, President Van Rompuy assured Malta that the EU would continue supporting the country, and that the Union was engaged in structural and operational efforts including a common asylum system, a border system and a new regulation on the surveillance of sea borders. He added that these efforts needed to ensure tangible support. He also mentioned the establishment of a European Asylum Support Office in Valletta.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat thanked President Van Rompuy for his visit and assured that Malta would strive to be a bridge between the EU and North African countries, but emphasized that this effort needs the support of the EU. He stressed that clear and concrete solidarity was needed as well as a better coordinated and concentrated effort from all concerned. He informed the President that discussions with Libya had already started.

The Prime Minister agreed with President Van Rompuy’s remarks on the energy sector and the challenges that lie ahead . He also stressed the need to strike a balance between EU governance and national sovereignty, especially in matters of taxation.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Simon Busuttil, remarked how membership in the Union had proved positive for Malta, particularly in relation to education and job opportunities in Europe. In reference to the issue of illegal immigration, Hon. Busuttil noted that dialogue is always the best course of action, and agreed that solidarity was essential for progress. He promised that the Opposition would back the government in seeking solidarity while respecting human rights, urging President Van Rompuy to provide his assistance in this regard.

Source: The Parliament of Malta

“Parliamentary Exchange And Dialogue” Project’s Exchange Visits Continue In Full Speed During June 2013

Following a busy May with three exchange visits scheduled under the joint GNAT-EU ‘Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue’ Project, (a Lithuanian Delegation to Turkey between 13-17 May, a Belgian Delegation to Turkey between 18-22 May and a GNAT Delegation to Netherlands between 20-24 May) another five exchange visits have already taken place during June 2013.

Between 2-6 June, the GNAT received a Delegation of Spanish MPs and between 3-7 June, a Delegation of Czech MPs visited Ankara and Istanbul, while two delegations from the GNAT visited Lithuania and Slovenia between 3-7 and 4-7 of June respectively.
In particular, Spanish MPs -Mr Jose Maria Beneyto Perez (Spokesperson of People's Party to Committee on Foreign Affairs), Mr Alexandre Saez (MP from the Socialist Party) and Ms Yolanda Luisa Melul Lozano (Parliamentary Staff)- and Czech MPs -Mr Vaclav Zemek (Member of the Committee on Constitution and Law), Ms Gabriela Peckova (Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations) and Ms Jana Fischerova (Member of the Committee on the Honoring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe)- who visited Ankara and Istanbul were received by the Deputy Speaker of the GNAT, held consultation sessions with members of the Committee on EU Harmonization, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Health, Family, Labour and Social Affairs 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. They also had consultation meetings in the Ministry for EU Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economy (Spanish Delegation).

The outgoing GNAT Delegation to Lithuania -Ms Sermin Balık (Chair of Turkey-Lithuania Parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of the Committee on Internal Affairs), Mr Osman Çakır (Clerk Member of the Committee on National Education, Culture, Youth and Sport), Mr Münir Kutluata (Member of Turkey-Lithuania Inter Parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of the Committee on National Defense)- during their visit to the Lithuanian capital had the chance to meet with the Deputy Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, the members of the Lithuanian-Turkish Inter Parliamentary Friendship Group, the members of the Committee on EU and Foreign Affairs of the Lithuanian Parliament and were briefed on the Committees’ legislative function by the Chair of the Committees Bureau, while the outgoing GNAT Delegation to Slovenia –Mr Ercan Candan (Spokesman of the Committee on EU- Harmonization) and Mr Ali İhsan Köktürk (Member of the Committee on Justice) had the chance to meet with the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, the Chair of EU Affairs Committee, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Slovenian-Turkish Inter Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Director of International Middle East and Balkan Research Institute (IFIMES)

In addition, another delegation from the GNAT consisting of Mr Ali Şahin (Member of the National Defense Committee, Committee on EU Harmonisation, Turkish-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee) and Mr Ali Uzunırmak (MP from Aydin) was received in Copenhagen between 17-20 June to hold meetings at the Danish Parliament with representatives from the Speaker’s Bureau, members of the EU Affairs Committee, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and leaders of local NGOs.

The exchange visits organised under the “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue” Project are expected to continue with the same intensity after the summer recess of the parliaments in the EU countries. Already, from September onwards there are scheduled parliamentary exchange visits of from the GNAT to Belgium, the Czech Republic, the UK, Estonia and Germany as well as incoming MP delegations to Turkey from Poland, Germany, Sweden, France and Finland.

For more information on “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project”, upcoming events and exchange visits, please visit:

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Commissioner Andor´s speech on "Greece on the road to recovery and job creation"

Speech by EU Commissioner Mr. Laszlo Andor at the joint meeting of the Committee on European Affairs, the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs and the Standing Committee on Social Affairs.

Mr. Laszlo Andor , EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, delivered a speech on " Greece on the road to recovery and job creation”, at , a joint meeting of the Committee on European Affairs , the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs and the Standing Committee on Social Affairs which took place on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at the Hellenic Parliament.

The Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs, Mr Ioannis Tragakis, in his introductory speech raised the issues of high unemployment (27,2% of the total manpower are jobless and 64% of the young people), brain drain and deteriorated living standards that Greece suffers, as a result of the prolonged recession.

Mr Andor presented to the Committees the actions and financial instruments of the European Commission on youth unemployment, spoke about the need to tackle social inequalities across the EU and praised the reform efforts of Greece. He also emphasized on the urgent need to effectively implement the European Youth Guarantee and answered thoroughly to all questions raised by the Committees’ members.

Source: The Hellenic Parliament

Croatia 28th Member State of the European Union and present in IPEX

On Monday 1 July Croatia became the 28th Member State of the European Union. Croatia's accession marks another milestone in the construction of a united Europe. It also provides fresh evidence of the transformative power of the European Union: torn by conflict only two decades ago, Croatia is now a stable democracy, capable of taking on the obligations of EU membership and of adhering to EU standards.
Source: European Commission

The website of the National Parliament of Croatia in IPEX can be reached at:

Consideration of the European Semester by the Danish Parliament

The European Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament has together with the Finance Committee, adopted a Report on the consideration of the European Semester.

In order to ensure democratic legitimacy and a control of the process, the Report aims at adapting procedures so as to enable the Danish Parliament to ensure parliamentary control of the European Semester.

The full text of the Report can be found here.

Source: The Danish Parliament

Discussion on Council Recommendation on Slovenia's 2013 National Reform Programme and of the Council Opinion on Slovenia's Updated Stability Programme, 2012-2016 by the Committee on EU Affairs

Within the framework of the European semester, the European Commission carried out an extensive analysis of Slovenian economic policy. On the basis of the Stability programme for Slovenia and the National Reform Programme, it prepared the In-depth review for SLOVENIA in accordance with Article 5 of the Regulation (EU) No. 1176/2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances.

The National Assembly is actively involved in the discussion of all EU policies. The competent committee and the working bodies dealt with the National Reform Programme and the Stability Programme in accordance with the statutory provisions and the Rules of Procedure while this year, the Committee on EU Affairs for the first time discussed and took note of the Commission Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on Slovenia's 2013 national reform programme and of the Council opinion on Slovenia's updated stability programme, 2012-2016.

At its 66th meeting of 14 June 2013, the Committee on European Affairs invited the Minister of Finance and representatives of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia. Following the debate, the committee members agreed that Slovenia is in a difficult financial situation but nevertheless the implementation of the reforms in recommended areas continues and the recommendations do not represent a deviation from the set direction, but rather a technical confirmation that the implementation of reforms proceeds in the right direction. Slovenia is on the way to regain trust so that in the future it will solve problems upon its own consideration before they even incur. The Committee took note of the recommendations and the position of the Republic of Slovenia thereon.

Source: The Slovenian National Assembly

Van Symposium On Eu-Turkey Relations: Future Prospects

The ‘Symposium On EU-Turkey Relations: Future Prospects’ organized jointly by Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) and the EU, was held in Van on the 27th and 28th of May 2013.

Among the 90 participants for the first day and 77 of the second day, there were members of parliaments from Turkey and from EU Member States (Ireland, France, Portugal, Hungary, Poland), who along with political party and civil society representatives, relevant public authorities, representatives of the European Parliament, the Head of the EUD in Turkey, representative of the Ministry for EU Affairs, ambassadors academicians and journalists, discussed topics such as: EU-Turkey: From Past into Future, EU-Turkey: Common Values, “Europeanness” and Cultural Identities, Effects of the Financial Crisis on Turkey and the EU, Civil Society and Youth on the Way to the European Union.

Throughout the sessions Turkey-EU Relations were intellectualized from different perspectives. Also, problems occurred between Turkey and EU due to the economic crises; Turkey’s position within the EU according to the concepts such as European Identity, Europeanness, Common Values; the importance of civil society and youth throughout the negotiation process of Turkey to the EU were discussed thoroughly.

The Symposium on EU-Turkey Relations: Future Prospects was the fifth –out of six- symposia to be organised under the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project whose aim was to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding between Turkey and the European Union through building up civil society dialogue between Turkey and the EU and through the establishment of better structured and well informed political channels for powerful civil society participation in Turkey’s political life.
In order to follow the next project meetings, the official web site, Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Project are the following:, and

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Exchange Visits Of The Parliamentary Exchange And Dialogue Project May 2013

Within the scope of the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project, three exchange visits took place during May 2013, namely delegations of Lithuania and Belgium travelled to Ankara and Istanbul respectively from 13-17 May, 18-22 May and a Turkish Delegation paid a visit to the Netherlands between 20-24 May.

The members of the Lithuanian delegation (Ms. PAVILIONIENĖ Marija Aušrinė, Member of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture, Member of the Committee on EU Affairs, Chair of the Women Group to the Parliament; Ms. PETRAUSKIENĖ Milda, Vice Chair of the Committee on Public and Local Administrations; and Ms. RAGALIAUSKIENE Rūta, Advisor to the Committee on Human Rights), and the Belgian Delegation (Ms. PEHLİVAN Fatma, Senator; De CROO Herman Dr. MP, Minister of State, Member of the EU Affairs Committee; Mr. TANS Philip, Director to Secretary General of Chamber of Deputies) were received by the Presidency of the GNAT, held consultation sessions with members of the Committee on EU Harmonization, the relevant inter-parliamentary friendship groups, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Lithuanian Delegation), had meetings with high representative form the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 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. The Lithuanian Delegation also met the Mayor of Fatih Municipality in Istanbul and Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER).

The Turkish Delegation that visited the Dutch Parliament (Mr. DİŞLİ Şaban, Chair of Turkish Dutch Parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Member of Turkish Delegation to the PACE; Mr. DEĞİRMENDERELİ Kemal, Member of the Turkey-the Netherlands Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of the Committee on Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology) had the chance to meet Deputy Clerk of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, to attend the weekly question hour of the Dutch Parliament (followed by an explanation of the proceedings) and to listen to a welcoming speech by the Speaker of the House. In addition, the Delegation from the GNAT met the Director of the European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of Turkish NGOs and media institutions.

In order to follow the next Project meetings, the official web site, Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Project are the following:, and

Source: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Lords Committee Publishes report on the UK opt-in to Europol

The House of Lords EU Committee calls for the UK Government to opt-in to the proposal for a Europol Regulation. In its report, the Committee considers the proposal, including concerns raised by the Government regarding some of its provisions, and concludes that the Government should opt-in to the Regulation so that it can play a full and constructive role in the negotiations.

Commenting on the report, Committee Chairman, Lord Hannay of Chiswick,

"Europol provides the UK's law enforcement agencies with crucial information, analysis and coordination functions, which helps them fight organised crime and terrorism in the UK and beyond. We therefore believe that the Government should exercise its right to opt in to this Regulation, thus removing Europol from the list of pre-Lisbon measures covered by the block opt-out decision.

"While we agree with the Government that some areas of the proposed Regulation need to be clarified, we consider that the UK's continued participation in Europol is an important part of ensuring the safety and security of British citizens, and that these concerns will best be addressed in the forthcoming negotiations.

"We also believe that the Commission needs to make a more convincing case for the proposed merger of Europol and CEPOL. While the Government also seems to have concerns about this, they appear unconcerned about the possible relocation of CEPOL to The Hague, following their announcement that the agency's lease at Bramshill will come to an end in March 2014. Our report asks for further information about their position in this regard."

Source: UK House of Lords
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