News from Parliaments

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Chair of the Committee on European Affairs of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, Mr Angel Tîlvăr: Joint efforts are necessary for the smart and efficient development of the Danube Region, with the parliamentary dimension playing an important role as a facilitator of a broad regional policy dialogue

The Palace of the Parliament hosted on 21st March 2019 the 6th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians, an event organized on the margins of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region ( EUSDR).

Addressing to the participants as moderator, Mr Angel Tîlvăr underlined that „Danube countries can only support sustainable regional development through cooperation. The themes proposed for debate today are not randomly chosen, both research and innovation and promoting culture and tourism having a huge potential in developing economic and social territorial cohesion and in reducing disparities between States participating in the EUSDR”.

Considering that the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is a key factor in political cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, Romania has contributed with a number of initiatives to the Danube Strategy.

„Around 30% of the Danube basin is on Romanian territory and this requires a lot of responsibility in the implementation of the regional strategy. Geography is stronger than any ideology. Is encouraging to see that decision-makers, experts and inhabitants of the Danube Region are increasingly aware of the importance of regional cooperation” said Mr Tîlvăr, highlighting the role of the Danube in the cooperation between the countries through which it passes.

Key speakers included Mr Veroljub ARSIĆ, Vice-President of the National Assembly of Serbia, Mr István JAKAB, Vice-President of the Hungarian National Assembly, and Deputy Minister for Tourism from Bulgaria, Mr Luben Kanchev.

The event was attended by representatives of the Government, parliamentarians, ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps.

The conclusions of the meeting were included in a Joint Statement, submitted to the representatives of Croatia, which will hold the EUSDR Presidency in 2020 and will organize the 7th edition of the Conference of Danube Parliamentarians.

Source: The Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Speaker of the Croatian Parliament participated in the XVI Conference of Parliaments AII

Speaker of Croatian Sabor Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday, 19th March that during its chairmanship of the Council of the European Union Croatia would strongly advocate the EU integration of Western Balkan countries, based on individual merit and fulfilment of membership criteria. "In less than a year Croatia will for the first time chair the Council of the European Union, and enlargement will be one of our four priorities, along with economic growth and employment, connectivity and security," Jandroković said at a conference of parliament speakers of Adriatic-Ionian Initiative member states in the Montenegrin coastal town of Budva.

The Adriatic-Ionian Initiative was launched in Ancona in 2000, bringing together nine countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia. It serves as a forum for exchanging political views and promoting multilateral cooperation in areas such as transport, maritime affairs, tourism, education, protection of the environment and cultural heritage, and combating all forms of organised crime.

On the margins of the conference, Jandroković met with Albanian Parliament Speaker Gramoz Ruci, expressing support for Albania's EU membership bid and reform efforts. He said that Croatia was willing to continue to provide Albania with professional and technical assistance, especially through parliamentary cooperation, inviting Ruci to visit Croatia. The two officials agreed that the initiative was a good framework for cooperation in the Adriatic-Ionian region.

"Albania is important to us because we share the Adriatic region and we have a problem with refuse coming from Albania. This forum is a chance for us to discuss environmental protection in the Adriatic because the Adriatic is a very important resource that ensures tourism development and it won't remain this way unless we look after it ecologically," Jandroković said.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković said in his opening remarks that dialogue was a necessary precondition for strengthening the partnership and promoting cooperation in tourism, culture, sustainable fisheries and clean energy in the Adriatic-Ionian region.

Source: Croatian Parliament/Croatian news agency HINA

Italian Parliament: Prime Minister's Statement On The European Council

On 19 March 2019, the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, gave a statement to the Parliament on the upcoming European Council, to be held on 21 and 22 March.

A debate took place and resolutions were approved in both Houses of Parliament.

At the Chamber of Deputies, resolution n. 6–00055 (Scerra, Giglio Vigna) was approved whereas three further were rejected (6-00057, Del Rio; 6-00059, Fornaro; 6-00061, Gelmini; 6-00063 Lollobrigida; 6-00065, Fusacchia). For details see the minutes of the Chamber of Deputies.

At the Senate, resolution n. 6-00050 (Patuanelli, Romeo) was approved whereas nine further texts were rejected (6-00051, Marcucci; 6-00052, Pucciarelli; 6-00053, Marcucci; 6-00054, De Petris; 6-00055, De Petris; 6-00056, Bernini; 6-00057, Gasparri; 6-00058, Ciriani; 6-00059, Ciriani). For details, see the minutes of the Senate meeting.

The Senate Research Service and the EU Affairs Department of the Chamber of Deputies published a joint Dossier before the event.

Source: The Italian Senate and Chamber of deputies

Commissioner Cañete visits the Hungarian National Assembly

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner responsible for Climate Action and Energy held exchange of views with the members of the Committees on European Affairs, Economics and on Sustainable Development of the Hungarian National Assembly on 14 March 2019.

Besides giving essential information on the state of play of the current issues of his portfolio, Commissioner Cañete provided overview about the European Commission’s long term strategy for a prosperous, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for all. It was highlighted that the Commission's vision for a climate-neutral future fulfils the Paris Agreement objective to keep temperature increase to well below 2°C. The Commissioner underlined that the EU must play a global leading role in climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research.

It was also pointed out that that these objectives would undoubtedly require joint commitment in the field of the deployment of renewable resources, infrastructure development, transport, competiveness and interconnectivity. The Commissioner also made reference to the ongoing discussions on the post 2020 Multi Annual Financial Framework, which should allocate approximatively 25% of the total expenditure to climate and energy related purposes. Following several interventions of the Members of the Hungarian National Assembly he held that by 2050 85 % of EU electricity should come from renewable energy sources and the other 15 % from nuclear power plants. He also stressed that energy import dependence should be significantly reduced by 2050 and called for ambitious energy efficiency targets and low greenhouse gas emission strategies.

Source: Hungarian National Assembly

Romanian Parliament ratified the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to NATO

On 27th February 2019, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted the draft law on the ratification of the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to the NATO, forwarding it to the Senate for adoption as decisional Chamber.

On 13th March 2019, the Senate of the Romanian Parliament ratified by unanimity the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia in the NATO, in the presence of the Speaker of the Parliament of North Macedonia, Mr Talat Xhaferi.

More information here:

Romanian Chamber of Deputies
Romanian Senate

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Austria prepares for unregulated Brexit - Visit of Chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Vienna – Brexit debate in the EU committees of the Parliament

Mr Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator on Brexit, visited Vienna on 28 February to discuss the current state of the Brexit with members of the Austrian Parliament. Mr. Barnier recapitulated the different stages of the Brexit negotiations, the progress achieved so far, as well as the different scenarios for the United Kingdom to leave the EU.

In his introductory presentation, he detailed the content and structure of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom. The withdrawal agreement consists of six parts: citizens' rights, financial matters, transition period, institutional affairs and dispute settlement, the question of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and finally a part dedicated to various aspects of the transition. Concerning Northern Ireland, Mr. Barnier discussed the issue of this particular geographical area and explained the proposed solution (Backstop) to avoid a new hard border between the entities. The Political Declaration on the other hand is divided into four chapters (trade, socio-economic cooperation, police and legal cooperation, external affairs, security and defence)

Subsequently, Mr. Barnier addressed the current state of the negotiations as well as the possible Brexit scenarios while specifying that the agreement negotiated with Prime Minister Theresa May would not be reopened again even in the event of a postponement of the exit date.
In a second phase, members of the National and Federal Council took the floor to discuss various topics, such as the discussion on the postponement of the exit date of Brexit and the likelihood of a second referendum, the consequences of Brexit on the Erasmus and Horizon 2020 programmes, the holding of European elections in the United Kingdom for European citizens, citizens' rights in the event of a hard Brexit and the unity of the twenty seven during the negotiations. The MEPs finally thanked Mr Barnier for his second visit to Vienna, for the quality of his speech and for the work accomplished so far.

On the eve of this visit, on 27 February, the Austrian National Council had adopted the
“Brexit-Begleitgesetz”, a new law with which Austria is preparing itself for a possible unregulated withdrawal from the EU. In particular, it deals with the residence status and labour market access of British citizens living in Austria and their family members and regulations for students as well as transitional regulations for British companies with administrative headquarters in Austria. The legislative package was adopted by the National Council by a large majority, with only the SPÖ (Social Democrats) voting against.
The forthcoming Brexit was also a topic of discussion during the last week in the EU committees of the National Council and the Federal Council. Like Austria, the EU is also making provision for a "no deal" scenario. The Brexit debate took place due to a communication from the Commission in which the remaining member states are urged to prepare themselves in the event of a disorderly withdrawal or all other possible scenarios. This "emergency action plan" takes into account issues such as the right of residence, social security entitlements, financial services, customs duties and movement of goods.

- Press release of the visit of Michel Barnier
- Press release of the vote “Brexit-Begleitgesetz”
- Press release of the Brexit debate in the EU committees
- Law of “Brexit-Begleitgesetz”

Source: Austrian Parliament

Italian Parliament, Hearing of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

On 5 March 2019, the hearing of EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager was held in the Italian Parliament. Ms Vestager outlined the recent developments and future perspectives of European competition policy.
The hearing took place at the Senate premises in a joint sitting of the Senate and Chamber Committees on Foreign Affairs, Finance, Industry and EU Policy. 

The Senate Research Service and the EU Affairs Department of the Chamber of deputies published a joint Dossier before the event.

Source: Italian Parliament

Romanian Chamber of Deputies, 6th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians

On March 21st, 2019, the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Romania will organize the 6th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians.

The Conference will gather MPs from Republic of Austria (State of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Wien, Burgenland), Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany (State of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria), Hungary, Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia (Autonomous Province of Vojvodina), the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Slovenia and Ukraine and will be hosted by Mr. Angel TILVAR, chairman the EU Affairs Committee and Mr. Iulian IANCU, chairman of the Industry and Services Committee.

The main topics on the agenda relate to Priority Area 3- Promoting culture and tourism, people to people contacts and Priority Area 7 - Developing the knowledge society through research, education and information technologies. In the end, the Conference of Danube Parliamentarians will adopt a final joint statement.

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Parliament of Romania, Conference on the Future of the European Union on 1 - 2 April

On 1 - 2 April, the Parliament of Romania, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, will organize the Conference on the Future of the European Union, in Bucharest.

The objective of this Conference is to launch an interparliamentary dialogue on the relevant issues regarding the future of the European Union, with focus on defending European values, reforming the monetary system, ensuring cohesion, and the future enlargement of the EU. Furthermore, this Conference aims to adopt a common declaration in order to provide a parliamentary input for the informal meeting of the heads of state or government to be held on 9 May 2019, in Sibiu.

More information and the meeting documents can be found here

Source: Romanian Senate

Belgian House of Representatives presents its priorities

The priorities of the Belgian House of Representatives in accordance with the Commission Work Programme 2019 [COM(2018)800] are available.

The list can be found here.

Source: The Belgian House of Representatives
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