News from Parliaments

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Polish Senate debates the Commission Work Programme 2013

21/02/2013
On 21st February 2013 the EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski will present the Commission Work Programme (CWP) for 2013. This will be an opportunity for the senators to discuss key EU policy areas, e.g. EU’s economic and monetary governance, as well as the outcomes of the MFF European Summit.

Mr Edmund Wittbrodt, chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee’s (EUAC) has noted that the presentation of the CWP for 2013 at the Senate’s plenary sitting will enable the senators to get acquainted with the Commission’s policy initiatives and related legislative proposals. Moreover, an analysis of the CWP allows the EUAC to plan its work for the whole year by identifying the most important proposals to be put on the committee's agenda for scrutiny.

For more details, see the related dossier.

Source: The Polish Senate

Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project “The Symposium on Terrorism”

20/02/2013
“The Symposium on Terrorism”, the fifth activity of the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project organized by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) and the European Union, was held on 16th-17th February 2013 in Antalya, Turkey. The Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue is a joint project organized by the GNAT and the EU aimed at maximizing the role of the GNAT in the process of the EU membership negotiations by promoting dialogue among the MPs in Turkey and the EU member states. The Project aims to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding between Turkey and the EU.

Among the 120 participants of the Symposium on Terrorism, there were 21 MPs from the EU member states parliaments and European Parliament and 16 MPs from Turkey and the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Prof. Dr. Beşir ATALAY and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ömer ÇELİK along with political party and civil society representatives, bureaucrats, academicians and journalists. Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Beşir ATALAY, in his speech, emphasizing the essentiality of dialogue and integrated terrorism strategy, underlined that "Support of the EU is very important during this process".

Topics such as "Terrorism: Perspectives from EU and Turkey", "Security versus Freedom”, "Media and Terrorism: the Right to Security and the Right to Information", and "Trans-border Cooperation Countering Terrorism" were discussed in the Symposium.

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: Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Luxembourg Parliamentary Delegation visits Turkey

20/02/2013
Luxembourg Parliamentary Delegation Paid a Visit to Turkey within the context of the Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project

The inter-parliamentary exchange visits within the context of “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project”, a joint project by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) and the European Union, have continued with the visit of the Luxembourg Parliamentary Delegation to the GNAT on 11st-15th February, 2013. The Luxembourg Parliamentary Delegation consisting of Mr. Serge Wilmes, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, from the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), Mr. Félix Braz, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, from Green Party and Mr. Charles Hurt, Parliamentary Advisor of CSV was granted an audience by HE Mehmet Sağlam, Vice Speaker of the GNAT and held high level meetings with the political party groups of the Justice and Development Party, the Republican People’s Party, the Nationalist Movement Party and the Peace and Democracy Party, the Committee on EU Harmonization, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry, Turkey-Luxembourg Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry for EU Affairs.

Mr. Serge Wilmes, made the following statement in the press conference: "We believe that Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project is very important. This visit has provided us with the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with different perspectives of different parties on Turkey-EU relations.” Mutual exchange visits will continue taking place throughout 2013 between the GNAT and parliaments of EU Member States.

For more information on “Parliamentary Exchange and Dialogue Project”, upcoming events and exchange visits, please visit: http://pecs.tbmm.gov.tr/

Source: Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Turkey - EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Meeting

20/02/2013
Turkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Meeting, co-chaired by Mr. Afif Demirkıran and Ms. Helene Flautre, was held in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) the Ceremony Hall on February 14th-15th with the participation of related MP’s from the GNAT and the European Parliament.

The topic of the first session of the meeting was “Turkey-EU Relations and State of Play in the Accession Negotiations”. On behalf of the Government of Turkey, Mr. Egemen BAĞIŞ, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator; on behalf of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Maurice RIPERT, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Turkey, on behalf of the Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union, Mr. Kenneth THOMPSON, Ambassador of Ireland to Turkey, participated as guest speakers to the session.

The second session was held on Thursday afternoon on the subject matter “New Constitution in the framework of Fundamental Rights and Freedom.” Members from each political party group serving in the Constitutional Reconciliation Committee and the President of the Venice Commission, Mr. Gianni BUQUICCHIO attended as guest speakers.
The last session was held Friday morning with the participation of Mr. Ahmet DAVUTOĞLU, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The agenda item for this session was “The situation in Syria and its impact on Turkey and the EU.” Mr. Davutoğlu gave a speech on the matter, pointed out the dramatic situation in Syria, criticized the international powers for ignoring Syria and demanded immediate humanitarian aid for Syrian people.

Source: Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Seimas decision on the Roadmap for the Completion of the Economic and Monetary Union

14/02/2013
The Committee on European Affairs of the Seimas,

Having considered the report Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union prepared by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy together with the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup on 5 December 2012,

In view of the European Parliament resolution of 20 November 2012 with recommendations to the Commission on the report of the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union, the Communication from the Commission of 28 November 2012 A Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union Launching a European Debate and the Conclusions of the European Council of 13–14 December 2012,

Realising that the proposals on a genuine Economic and Monetary Union will inevitably have an economic and legal effect on all the Members States and the implementation of some of them will require amendments to the EU treaties,

Noting that the process of the creation of the Economic and Monetary Union should not be regarded in the light of the economic policy only, in order to properly take into account the expectations of all the citizens of the EU, a wide and exhaustive political and legal discussion is needed,

Underlining that effective solution to economic and financial problems should be based on the concept of the EU as a solid economic union,
Having considered the opinion of the Committee on Budget and Finance of the Seimas of 16 January 2013 on the Roadmap for the Completion of the Economic and Monetary Union Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union,

Hereby decides to:

1.Endorse the position of the Republic of Lithuania (P_EST-634) on the Roadmap for the Completion of the Economic and Monetary Union and recommend the Government to consider with caution the establishment of a new special fiscal instrument for the euro area based on the centralised insurance system and scheduled for phase three (after 2014) pursuant to the decision of the Committee on Budget and Finance of 16 January 2013 on the Roadmap for the Completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (Minutes of the Meeting No 109-P-2(RN));
2.Emphasise that the proposals on the creation of a genuine Economic and Monetary Union have to properly reflect the interests of all the Members States, which calls for parliamentary scrutiny, as provided for in Protocol No 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
3. Stress the need to look for means, on the EU level, of systematically involving national Parliaments in the process of EU decision making with a view to ensuring democratic legitimacy and accountability;
4.Request the Government to regularly, at least once every six months, present information to the Committee on the progress of the implementation of the Economic and Monetary Union;
5.Conclude that, at this stage, it is too early to express an opinion on the long-term proposals on a genuine Economic and Monetary Union and note that specific measures for the implementation of the proposals should be based on the extensive analysis of impact assessment and wide consultations with all the stakeholders.


Andrius Mazuronis
Deputy Chairman of the Committee
6 February 2013, Vilnius

Source: Lithuanian Seimas

EU Affairs Committee of the Polish Senate on the EP’s right of inquiry

14/02/2013
On 6th February 2013, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Senate of the Republic of Poland adopted an opinion on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament’s right of inquiry and repealing Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, and sent it to the European Parliament.

The European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) in general supported the adoption of the new regulation, but remarked on a few important issues. It called for a clarification of the circumstances in which the committee of inquiry would have to suspend its work on account of legal proceedings under way before a Member State court or the European Commission. Furthermore, it called for an additional provision which would impose the obligation to inform a Member State of any request to disclose documents concerning that Member State and contain a potential list of grounds enabling the Member State in question to request for documents not to be disclosed. At the same time, EUAC was of the opinion that the list of grounds authorising a Member State to refuse to forward documents to a PE committee of inquiry should not be narrowed down compared to the present decision. Finally, in EUAC’s opinion, executing Article 19 of the proposed regulation may cause certain procedural difficulties in Member States.

The text of the opinion in English:
http://www.senat.gov.pl/gfx/senat/userfiles/_public/k8eng/ksue/e30a.pdf

Source: Polish Senate

Secretaries' General Meeting - Press Release of the House of Representatives of Cyprus

14/02/2013
The Meeting of Secretaries General of EU Parliaments, hosted by the House of Representatives on 10 and 11 February 2013, within the framework of obligations arising from the parliamentary dimension of the recently concluded Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, completed its proceedings on the 11th of February. The Meeting was presided over by the Acting Secretary General of the House of Representatives, Mr. Socrates Socratous. Participants included Secretaries General of EU Parliaments, of Parliaments of acceding and candidate countries, as well as the Secretary General of the European Parliament.

A meeting of Secretaries General of the Troika, comprising Poland, Cyprus and Lithuania (the Parliaments of which are host to the previous, the forthcoming and the next Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments), as well as the European Parliament, preceded the official opening of deliberations. The Troika approved all items on the agenda of the Meeting of Secretaries General unanimously and discussed other procedural issues.

The Meeting was opened by the President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yiannakis L. Omirou (speech in separate press release). It dealt mainly with the preparation of the upcoming Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments, to take place in Nicosia, from 21 to 23 April 2013.

In the first session of the Meeting, the progress of work on the implementation of the conclusions of the last Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments (Warsaw, April 2012), was discussed. Introducing the topic, Mr. Socratous made extensive reference, inter alia, to the results of the First Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy, held in Paphos, on 9 and 10 September 2012. Mr. Socratous also noted that, during the next Conference in Dublin, on 24 and 25 March 2013, the House of Representatives, in the framework of realizing the objective of continuous monitoring of the process of democratization in the countries of the Southeastern Mediterranean, will present a proposal for a fact-finding mission to Arab Spring countries.

In the second part of the Meeting, Mr. Socratous presented the draft programme of the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments for 2013. The proposed programme includes a session on the role of EU National Parliaments in enhancing democracy and human rights in third countries, emphasizing on the Mediterranean region, one on bringing citizens closer to the Union and a third one on the role of National Parliaments in enhancing social cohesion in times of austerity. Moreover, in the course of implementation of the conclusions of the previous Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments, the House of Representatives introduced in the proposed agenda a debate on Article 13 of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, aiming to discuss the form that an interparliamentary conference dealing with issues relevant to the said Treaty could take.

The final part of the Meeting dealt with issues pertaining to the Platform of Interparliamentary EU Information Exchange (IPEX). The IPEX annual report for 2012 was presented, followed by the appointment of the new IPEX Chair, Secretary General of the German Bundestag, Dr Horst Risse and the appointment of the new IPEX board. Finally, conclusions on IPEX were adopted and it was agreed that the next meeting of IPEX correspondents will be hosted by the Belgian Parliament.

The programme of the day concluded with a visit to the “Filoxenia” Conference Centre, where the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments is expected to take place, next April.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus

Romanian Parliament votes new budget

11/02/2013
Only few hours before the European Council budget talks in Brussels, the Romanian Parliament passed, on February 7, after three days of debates, the draft Law of the state budget for 2013 initiated by the Cabinet, with 309 votes to 108. MPs adopted the draft Law of the budget of social insurances, as well, with a score of 310 to 109, only one amendment being accepted to this draft law, the one eliminating the provision concerning the obligation of the approval of the Ministry of Finances, within 30 days from the enforcement of this law, of “the positions-based detailed structure, of the maximum number of posts budgeted by the present law and the base net salary per jobs, in 2013.” The standing committees for budget of both Senate and the Chamber of Deputies explained that the amendment was accepted “for thorough legal information and with the main purpose to comply with the law making norms provided by Law 24/2000”.

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

First edition of the European Parliamentary Week

25/01/2013
From 28 to 30 January 2013, Members of the European Parliament and national Parliamentarians will meet in Brussels to debate the European semester for economic policy coordination. More than 100 national Parliamentarians will attend this meeting which is organised by the EP Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Budgets. Speakers include European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the President of the Irish Dáil, Sean Barrett, EP Vice President Othmar Karas, and many more.

Further information is available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/webnp/cms/lang/en/pid/1796

Source: European Parliament

German Bundestag and French Assemblée Nationale celebrating 50th anniversary of the German-French Élysée Treaty

23/01/2013
On Tuesday, 22 January 2013, the German Bundestag and the French Assemblée Nationale celebrated together the 50th anniversary of the signing of the German-French Élysée Treaty having a joint plenary session held in the premises of the Reichstag building in Berlin. The addresses given by President François Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel were followed by a common debate of French and German members of Parliament. The deputies approved a joint declaration whose text in German and French can be found here.

For further information follow the link

Source: German Bundestag
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