News from Parliaments

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EP Study on Better Regulation practices in National Parliaments

The European Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) recently published a Study on Better Regulation practices in National Parliaments. The study, produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation (EVAL) Unit within DG EPRS, maps the capacities and experiences of the national parliaments of all 27 EU Member States and of 11 further Council of Europe countries in the field of ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation. The study reveals that roughly half of the surveyed parliaments engage in Better Regulation activities beyond classical parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms, in very diverse ways, spanning from passive scrutiny to an active use of impact assessment and evaluation. The present study would not have been possible without the substantial input from national parliaments. It draws on a survey conducted via the ECPRD network.

The study is available on the European Parliament’s webpage

Source: European Parliament

House of Representatives of Cyprus: Meeting on the effect of Covid-19 on agriculture and fisheries sector - Exchange of views with of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment

On 26th of May 2020, the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of Cyprus had a meeting in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, on the effect of Covid-19 on the agriculture and fisheries sector and on the government measures for mitigating the impacts incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the meeting, the members of the Committee expressed their concerns on different issues regarding the problems that the agriculture and fisheries sector are called to face due to this unprecedented pandemic.
The members of the Committee discussed the implementation on the EU scheme of direct support to farmers and rural areas [loans or guarantees for operational costs, state aid to farmers and food processing companies (‘de minimis’ aid)], the temporary derogation from EU competition rules in particular on private storage aid and the problems arising from the lack of seasonal workers. The extension of the measure on private storage to other sectors such as pigmeat, poultry & eggs was also discussed. The members of the Committee also welcomed the European Commission measures for the extension of the deadline for CAP payment applications.
They also noted that any relevant measures adopted by the government, should take into consideration the new EU initiation “farm to fork”, the new roadmap for further initiatives on preserving and protecting biodiversity and on designing a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.
Finally, the Committee noted the measures taken so far and expressed their willingness to support any further government measures and actions that mitigate the impact of this unprecedented pandemic on the agriculture and Fisheries sector.

Source: House of Representatives of Cyprus

EP Weekly Agenda 2-5 June 2020

Another week of Committees meeting at the European Parliament, including an exchange of views in AGRI on 2 June with Commissioner Johannes Hahn, responsible for Budget and Administration, on the new MFF proposal and the recovery plan after the outbreak of COVID-19 with special focus on the future CAP and agricultural matters. Meeting on 4 June, AFET members will have an In camera - Exchange of views with Miroslav Lajčák, EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues (in compliance with the Declaration on Political Accountability of the HR/VP) and a discussion on Latest developments in EU-China relations: a geostrategic outlook, Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, EEAS. On 5 June DROI members will have an Exchange of views on The use of digital surveillance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full list of meetings, with their agenda can be found here:

Source: European Parliament

European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted on 6 May 2020 a Political Opinion on monitoring respect for the rule of law in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

The European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted on 6 May 2020 a Political Opinion on monitoring respect for the rule of law in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The text of the political opinion can be found here (FR)

Source: French Senate

Remote voting in the EP

A new ‘Plenary-voting’ application, developed in-house by EP services DG
ITEC and PRES, makes a bridge between existing applications to allow
for remote voting by Members during plenary sittings.To use the new
system, Members can connect from anywhere with a hybrid computer
provided by the European Parliament or via a personal device using a
physical or SMS token.
From the technology side, EP
standards (such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript) were used for the
development of the applications. The system is accessible from the most
popular browsers (Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and
Opera). As it is accessible from everywhere, there was a focus on the
reactivity, reliability, availability, resilience and security.
Moreover, all Members, including those present in Parliament’s premises,
vote in the same way.

Before deploying the new application in
the plenary, MEPs were invited to try the application in a series of
small test voting sessions. Moreover, a simulation where all MEPs voted
together was executed.

The May plenary session saw the successful
new remote-voting application used by MEPs. More than 350 votes were
processed in a swift and safe manner. This was a seminal moment,
showcasing technology’s contribution to the European Parliament's
democratic mission.

How does it work?

To access the
Plenary-voting application, Members go through a two-step authentication
process using a personal token (either physical or SMS) that was
provided by the MEP IT Support Unit prior to the voting. In addition,
MEP IT Support provides on-site support during the plenary, while
respecting the social distancing measures put in place, as well as
remote support for Members that are attending the plenary from their

When the President opens the vote, Members
receive a link to an online ballot form, which is accessible for the
duration of the voting time. Once Members finalise their vote on the
application, they receive an email with a ballot paper in PDF format,
pre-filled with their votes, which they must print, sign, scan and send
back for their votes to be taken into account.

Staff from DG PRES
who are in charge of preparing the votes, checking and registering the
votes were much involved in the definition of the requirements, working
in a pragmatic way with a collaborative spirit. They are now managing
the votes (preparation, verification, publication of results) with the
new application.

Source: European Parliament

EP Weekly Agenda, 25-29 May 2020

This week in the European Parliament will see ten Committees meeting, a plenary session and the European Youth Event.

On Monday 25 May AFET and INTA will hold a joint meeting to discuss the Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

ECON will have an Exchange of views with Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, on the economic impact and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday 26 May, AFCO members will have an exchange of views on the Conference on the Future of Europe and the role of the European Parliament.

EMPL Committee will host a Structured Dialogue with - Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality and an Exchange of views with :
- Jürgen Siebel (Executive Director of Cedefop), Presentation of the Centre’s activities regarding the labour market, vocational training and skills intelligence in the context of the COVID-19 crisis
- Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, updates of the European Commission work programme and the MFF proposal as well as the social dimension of the recovery plan
- Josip Aladrović, Croatian Minister of Labour and Pension System, Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and Jordi Curell Gotor Interim Executive Director of the European Labour Authority.
The members of the BUDG committee on 27 May will vote on the Guidelines for 2021 EU budget and on the EU solidarity package for Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria.

In a joint meeting, EMPL-ECON organise an Economic Dialogue on the
- Country-specific recommendations of the 2020 European Semester with:
- Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People,
- Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy and
- Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.
In a short Plenary session on Wednesday 27 May, EP members will debate the EU Recovery Package.

The meetings agenda, documents and links for webstreaming can be found here:

Source: The European Parliament

French Senate EAC political opinion on CAP

The European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted on 30 April 2020 a Political Opinion requesting the reinforcement of the exceptional measures in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to address the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and affirmation of the effective primacy of the CAP objectives over European competition rule.

The text of the opinion can be found here

Source: French Senate


Nine EP Committees will meet this week in Brussels. Several EU Commissioners will be participating to these meetings. IMCO in its 18-20 May meetings will exchange with Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, on the EU Exit Strategy and Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy - on the EU response to the to the COVID-19 outbreak. On 19 May, ITRE will hold an Exchange of views with Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, on energy-related aspects of European recovery after COVID-19. - On 19 May, Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, will have an exchange of views with AFETon the Eastern Partnership policy, on COVID19 related EU support in the Neighbourhood, and Turkey, and on the future external financing instruments.

On Monday 18 May, ENVI will have an exchange of views with Guido Rasi, Executive Director of European Medicines Agency (EMA), on EMA activities on COVID-19 and prospects for the future.

The LIBE committee will meet on 18 May to hold exchanges of views, among other things, on EASO operational support to Member States in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, notably in Greece
- Europol’s work in combatting Covid-19 pandemic-induced criminal behaviour

Post Brexit relations with the UK will also be on the agenda of several Committeees this week, including PECH 18 May (in camera), ECON, IMCO.

PETI in its meeting on 19 May will hold and exchange of views on
- Management of cancelled flights and trips by airline carriers and travel agencies during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Exemption of VAT for goods and services donated in the fight against and management of the pandemic due to Covid-19
- Defending the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in times of Covid-19 emergency

The full calendar of EP Committees activities can be found here:

Source: European Parliament

Finnish Grand Committee adopted Parliament position on EU financial support mechanisms

​​On Friday, 8 May, the Grand Committee adopted the Finnish parliament’s position on the negotiations on new financial support mechanisms for the EU, aimed at supporting member states and businesses in the economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus.

The statement of the committee (SuVL 2/2020, in Finnish) concerns the European Investment Bank’s proposal for a guarantee fund, the Commission’s proposal for a temporary SURE initiative to prevent unemployment related risk, and changing the conditions of the European Stability Mechanism’s precautionary financial assistance.

Parliament accepted with remarks the Government position. These remarks are included in the Grand Committee’s statement and the statements of the sector committees. The Grand Committee emphasised the constitutional observations of the Constitutional Law Committee as normative for the Government.
Three dissenting opinions were appended to the Grand Committee’s statement.
The committee noted that the Constitutional Law Committee found the Government’s evaluation of financial risk for Finland to meet the constitutional requirement of precision.

The planned measures are necessary to ensure the fiscal stability of the Eurozone, even though the benefits for Finland of the SURE initiative and the changes to the criteria of the ESM financial support are marginal, the committee states.

The current situation requires securing funding for member states. However, Finland cannot accept measures that would undermine Finland’s budgetary sovereignty or financial standing. Even in exceptional circumstances, countries must still be ​responsible for their own economic policy. Joint and several liability of all member states for debt should not be introduced.
Measures to curtail the economic crisis are exceptions to the Treaties and should thus be temporary, necessary, and contain necessary conditionality as to the use of funds and the debtors’ fitness. Funds must be allocated according to the impact of the crisis, and efficacy of their deployment.

The Grand Committee underlined the Constitutional Law Committee’s observation that the constitutionality of the corona arrangements depend on how they impact on Finland’s total stock of liability.

Source: Finnish Parliament

Weekly agenda of EP Committees meeting 11-15 May, 2020

The week will see several EU Commissioners attending committees meetings.

Vice-President Frans Timmermans will attend TRAN Committee meeting on 11 MAY, Commissioners Adina Vălean and Virginijus Sinkevičius will participate to the works and debates of ENVI Committee on 11-12 May; Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will attend the AGRI meeting on 12 May.

The consequences of the outbreak of COVID and the EU responses will of course be on the agenda of all committees in the framework of their respective competences. Meanwhile, EP committees carry on their normal workload while coping with the difficult situation that the current crisis provoked.

ON 11 May, the DROI Sub-committee will hold an Exchange of views on the Human rights impacts and policy responses in places of detention in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On 12 May, the LIBE committee will have an Exchange of views on

Internal border controls within the Schengen area

- Tanja Fajon on the work of the LIBE Working Group on Schengen Scrutiny

- Terezija Gras, State Secretary for European and International Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Croatian Presidency

- Monique Pariat, Director-General, DG HOME, European Commission

 The full list of Committees meetings and their relative agendas can be found here:

Source: The European Parliament
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