News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

German Constitutional Court on "ESM / Euro-Plus Pact"

Jugdement of the Federal Constitutional Court referring to rights of the German Bundestag

In its judgement of 19 June 2012, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the action
brought by the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group, which cited an infringement of the
rights of the German Bundestag to be informed by the Federal Government in connection with the
European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Euro-Plus Pact.

The Federal Constitutional Court’s Second Senate ruled that the Federal Government had infringed
the German Bundestag’s right to be informed, as laid down in Article 23 (2), second sentence of the
Basic Law, with regard both to the European Stability Mechanism and to the agreement on the
Euro-Plus Pact.

Article 23 (2) of the Basic Law gives the German Bundestag far-reaching rights of participation and
rights to be informed on matters of the European Union. This stronger involvement of Parliament
in the process of European integration is intended to counterbalance the shift brought about by the
Europeanisation process in the balance of powers at national level towards the executive arm, i.e.
the Member State governments. European Union affairs include changes to the treaties and
corresponding changes at the level of primary law (Article 23 (1) of the Basic law), as well as
legislative acts of the European Union (Article 23 (3) of the Basic Law). The Court was of the view
that international treaties are also part of European Union affairs where they supplement
European law or are particularly closely related to it.

Read more in German

German Bundestag calls for Translation of EU documents

On 14 June the German Bundestag adopted a motion in which it calls for provision to be made for the translation of documents required by national parliaments in the multiannual financial planning of the European Union covering the years 2014 to 2020. The motion calls on the Federal Government to raise the issue of the translation of EU documents at the negotiations on this next financial framework and, in so doing, to bear in mind that national parliaments need these translations.

Read more…

IPEX following national debates on Monti II initiative - COM (2012) 130

For the first time since the introduction of the Treaty of Lisbon, national Parliaments have triggered the "yellow card mechanism".

As a result of very consistent debates, a number of 12 national Parliaments and Chambers have found that the Commission's legislative proposal COM (2012) 130 is breaching the subsidiarity principle, issuing 12 reasoned opinions and launching the yellow card, as laid down in Protocol 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon, art. 6. and 7, par.1. and 2.

The next steps were described by Mr. Jose Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC, in a letter sent to the national Parliaments, dated 1st of December 2009. The procedure consists of:
1. The Commission services analysing the reasoned opinions received and, where necessary, translating them;

2. The reasoned opinions will then be submitted to the College of Commissioners, which at its next meeting will take note and, should the conditions for triggering of the yellow card be met, confirm this at political level. National Parliaments, the legislator and IPEX will be duly informed;

3. If the yellow card is confirmed at political level, the Commission will decide on the next steps as regards maintaining, amending or withdrawing the legislative proposal, including a timetable for action.

Follow IPEX in order to stay informed on the unfolding events!

German Bundestag debate on the Development Policy of the EU

On 26 April 2012, the German Bundestag debated the Development Policy of the European Union and approved a motion published as printed paper 17/9424.

Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments, Warsaw, 19-21 April 2012

Find more information and documents on the Polish Presidency website

Italian Senate introduces the balanced budget principle in the Constitution

In the presence of the Prime Minister and Life Senator Mario Monti, at fourth and last reading, the Senate passed the Constitutional Bill nr 3047-B introducing the balanced budget principle in the Constitution, with 235 votes in favour, 11 votes against, and 34 abstentions.

As the Bill was passed with a two-third majority of Senate members, the resulting consitutional amendment cannot be submitted for popular referendum.

Portuguese Parliament approves the Fiscal Compact

The Portuguese Assembleia da República approved the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (“Fiscal Compact”) and the Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism (“ESM Treaty”).

The Portuguese Parliament has approved for ratification, at today's plenary session (13th April 2012), the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (“Fiscal Compact”) and the Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism (“ESM Treaty”). The treaties were approved with a large majority (more than 80% of the Parliament Members voted in favour).

Following the procedure for ratify international agreements as established in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, after the approval of the Parliament, the two treaties will be sent to be ratified by the President of the Portuguese Republic.

The German Bundestag approves financial assistance programme for Greece

On Monday, 27 February 2012, the German Bundestag gave its consent to a motion, tabled by the German Ministry of Finance, for an agreement to be concluded on the “granting of an emergency measure”, in the form of loans, by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) for the benefit of Greece. The legal basis is Section 3 of Germany´s Stabilisation Mechanism Act (see link below). 

Greece will receive up to 130 billion euros in loans. In addition, the remaining 24.4 billion euros from the first programme for Greece will also be disbursed by the EFSF in future, according to the motion. Germany’s share of the coordinated bilateral loans which made up the first programme was channelled via the KfW-Bankengruppe. Accordingly, a portion of the guarantees assumed by the German state for these loans under the Act on Financial Stability within the Monetary Union remains unused.

The Ministry’s explanatory memorandum states that on 8 February Greece requested emergency loans from the EFSF in a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg), the President of the Eurogroup (composed of the finance ministers of the eurozone states). On 21 February, the Eurogroup stated that, in its view, the necessary elements were now in place for the Member States to carry out the relevant national procedures to allow funds to be provided to Greece for a second programme.

The basis for the programme was established by the eurozone heads of state and government on 26 October 2011, when they agreed to make up to 30 billion euros available to facilitate the success of the voluntary bond exchange.

The loans are intended to enable Greece to arrange a voluntary restructuring of debt held by private sector bondholders and thus to pave the way for a sustainable debt path. Up to 35.5 billion euros is earmarked for this purpose.
Up to 94.5 billion euros is earmarked for a multi-year assistance programme to ensure Greece’s long-term solvency. And finally, the remaining 24.4 billion euros from the first programme for Greece is to be transferred to the EFSF and lent to Athens as part of the second programme.

The Ministry states in its explanatory memorandum that these “emergency measures” are intended to safeguard stability in the eurozone, and that the conditions for the assumption of guarantees set out in the Stabilisation Mechanism Act have been met. Once the amount to be contributed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been decided, the current figure of 94.5 billion euros to be provided by the eurozone will decrease accordingly.

On Friday, 24 February, a majority of the members of the Bundestag’s Budget Committee had endorsed the outcome of the Eurogroup’s negotiations, welcoming the fact that it would result in a reduction of Greek debt to 120 per cent of GDP. The committee also welcomed the higher level of private sector involvement, now due to be 53.5 billion euros, and the fact that the ceiling of 130 billion euros for the second package had been maintained.

Germany´s Stabilisation Mechanism Act

Slovenian National Assembly debate on ACTA

Committee on EU Affairs organized a public presentation of opinions about ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) on Friday 17 February 2012.

The Committee on EU Affairs adopted the position on the signing Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement at its 39th meeting of 28 September 2011. However, after critical voices had been raised against this signing, the Committee in EU Affairs adopted the conclusion to organize public presentation of opinions on this issue at its 4th meeting of 3 February 2012.

The public debate on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) held in parliament on Friday 17 February 2012 heard opinions by several public office holders as well as by representatives of the civil society and experts, who mostly criticised the agreement.

Virtually all participants shared the view that regulating this field was necessary but required a broad public discussion which must address all open issues, examine the consequences of any agreement reached, and make sure that there is a balance among different rights.

Parliamentary EU Affairs Committee chair Roman Jakič, who hosted the public presentation as an attempt to clarify a number of issues regarding ACTA, said that the citizens deserved a better agreement. He believes Slovenia should not only freeze ratification but also withdraw from the agreement altogether.

Anders Jessen, the head of the Unit for Public Procurement and Intellectual Property at Directorate-General of the European Commission, was the only one who presented a pro-ACTA position. He underlined the significance of ACTA for the EU's economy in the field of intellectual property.

Economic Development and Technology Minister Radovan Žerjav reiterated that the government would freeze ACTA ratification, as the agreement did not strike the right balance between the economy and human rights. The government will not change its mind about the agreement until this balance is reached, he said.

The agreement was signed on 26 January in Tokyo by representatives of the European Commission and 22 of the 27 EU member states, including Slovenia.

The French Senate in favour of the enhancement of the parliamentary control over the EU economic governance

The French Senate is about to adopt a draft resolution of its Europan Affairs Committee on the enhancement of the democratic control over the EU economic and budgetary governance. This document advocates that the interparliamentary Conference foreseen notably by the new Treaty should meet before every European Council Spring meeting, in order to allow a political dialogue between national parliaments and the EU institutions. This Conference could also meet, if necessary, according to a "Eurozone" format. It should be able to adopt resolutions. In addition, the draft resolution of the Senate states that the EU budgetary discipline should go together with an EU support to growth.

The draft resolution (in French) is available on:
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