News from Parliaments

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Plenary Debate in the Swedish Riksdag on the Commission Work Programme 2020 and the Conference on the Future of Europe

On 19 March 2020, the Swedish Riksdag held a plenary debate on a statement from the Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the Communication on the Commission Work Programme 2020 and the Communication on the Conference on the Future of Europe. In its statement, the Committee on Foreign Affairs welcomes that the Commission is presenting a Work Programme with specific initiatives, as it will allow the Member States to efficiently plan ahead for EU related work as well as provide enhanced transparency of the Commission priorities. The Committee emphasises how important it is that the Commission is clear in its priorities so that the committees’ resources can be used effectively and the national parliaments can perform their tasks in an appropriate way. At an overall level, the Committee stresses the fact that the EU must fulfil its obligations in the areas in which the Union has pledged itself to act and where there is a clear European added value. The relevant summary of the Committee’s statement can be found here.

Regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Committee Affairs considers that the European Council’s conclusions from December 2019 should serve as a basis for future developments of the conference, stating that priority should be given to implementing the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 and achieving concrete results for the benefit of the citizens. The Committee emphasises that national parliaments need to be closely involved with the work on the conference and that it is the national parliaments and elected party representatives who ultimately represent the citizens in political decision-making. The ambition of the conference should therefore not be to change this, but rather to serve as a complement to representative democracy. Furthermore, the Committee disagrees with the Commission’s ambition to raise a discussion on the “Spitzenkandidaten” system of “lead candidates” for the election of the President of the European Commission and transnational lists in the elections to the European Parliament. The relevant summary of the committee’s statement can be found here.

Source: The Swedish Riksdag

EP Extraordinary Plenary Session on the European Coordinated response to the COVID-19 outbreak, 26 March, 2020

Opening the extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament today in Brussels, President David Maria SASSOLI expressed his solidarity, support and gratitude for all citizens of the EU who are facing the unprecedented situation with trust and patience. He insisted on the duty of the EP to maintain its functions for they respond to the need of all to grant democratic continuity. In her ensuing speech, EC President Ursula Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU institution had to show solidarity to people who were on the frontline in hospitals, doctors, nurses, paramedic and everywhere in the EU by keeping working and ensuring that democratic functioning of institution will prevail. The following debate concentrated on the crisis, the reaction by the EU and the Member States, the steps to be taken in the hours ahead. The main object of the debate were three urgent measures undertaken by the European Commission to face the severe economic, social, medical disruptions all MS are now facing. For the first time the EP adopted its position via a remote voting system. The participation to the voting on the urgent procedures was massive, with a total amount of 687 casted votes on each of the three demands for urgent action proposals. The Plenary will vote on amendments to the proposals and adopt them later today (26 March, 2020). Because we believe that the EP is equally the Parliament of all citizens of all MS, we think it is important to share this. As one of the speakers mentioned, the principle of solidarity must work hand in hand with the principle of subsidiarity. A link to the EP Plenary Session website and all relevant information is available here.

  Source: The European Parliament

Senate of Romania: The Role of Romania in redefining the European foreign policy

On February 25, 2020, the Committee on European Affairs organized the round table “The role of Romania in redefining the European foreign policy. The event brought together Government representatives, former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, researchers and members of the diplomatic corps.

During this meeting, the participants presented and debated on the results of the survey on Romanian Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities in 2020, conducted by the Center for Foreign Policy and Security Studies (CFPSS), in partnership with the EURISC Foundation and the Middle East Political and Economic Institute (MEPEI).
At the end of the conference, the chair of the Committee on European Affairs launched the proposal to set up a working group with the aim of providing views, including alternative solutions. “Parliament is the best place to reflect together”, said the chair, Mrs Gabriela Cretu.

Source: Senate of Romania

Senate of Romania: The educational program, the Youth Senate

On February 11, 2020, the Senate of Romania organized the first edition of the educational program, the “Youth Senate”. High school students from the capital analyzed and debated their own legislative proposals on the topic, "Bullying in schools and media" together with senators from the parliamentary committees. They experienced how it feels to be a politician and how it is like to debate political issues. The teenagers demonstrated the ability to engage in political discussions.

The main objectives of the project are to familiarize students with the legislative process and the direct interaction between the representatives of the legislative forum and young people.

Source: Senate of Romania

Commissioner Schmit presents the EU Commission’s work programme to the Luxembourg Parliament

Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, advocated for a “successful ecological transition without neglecting the social dimension”. This is the key message of the work programme of the European Commission that was addressed to all the MPs assembled in the plenary hall on the morning of the 2nd March 2020.

During his presentation, Nicolas Schmit stressed out that the “green deal” foresees investments of at least 1000 billion euros over the next 10 years. Other topics that were discussed were the challenges related to the digitalization, the blocking of some Member States around the discussions for the multiannual budget and the economic impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Nicolas Schmit shared the Speaker’s desire to bring European politics closer to its citizens. Next week the parliamentarians will have the opportunity to meet with Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President and EU Commissioner for democracy and demography, as well as with Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for health and food safety. In the beginning of February, the MPs had a first exchange of views with Michel Barnier, Head of the task force for the relations with the UK.

Source: The Luxembourg Parliament

Commissioner Kyriakides addresses the plenary of the House of Representatives of Cyprus

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Ms. Stella Kyriakides, visited the House of Representatives of Cyprus on Friday 21st February 2020 and, addressing the plenary, delivered a speech on the consultation launched by the European Commission on 4th February 2020, which will help shape Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

Source: House of Representatives of Cyprus

Romanian Parliament announces the creation of the Working Group on Combating Cancer – a necessary initiative for improving national health

On 4th February 2020, with the occasion of the World Cancer Day, the Romanian Parliament announces the creation of the Working Group on Combating Cancer – a joint working group of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, having as purpose accelerating innovation in the field of prevention, combating and treating cancer in Romania. The Group is composed of senators and deputies from all political parties, who joined in the common goal to contribute, on parliamentary level, on reducing cancer incidence and improving the potential of the Romanian health system.
The issue of cancer is a national priority. The parliamentary initiative is based on the data regarding the state of health of the population, according to which cancer is the main cause of mortality after cardiovascular diseases. The Group aims to produce an accurate picture of the cancer incidence in Romania and to centralise the most relevant data and information on the current oncologic infrastructure. As a result of this evaluation, in collaboration with relevant public and private institutions and the best specialists in the field, a framework strategy on cancer will be developed for the next 10 years – an innovative public policy alternative that will propose effective measures to modernise the quality of cancer medical care and introduce preventive education mechanisms at population level.
Among the most important measures to be taken are the improvements of the current legislative framework, the introduction of smart screening, diagnostic and treatment tools, the extension of cancer infrastructure through the creation of new integrated regional treatment centres, ensuring interoperability of already existing IT systems, shortening medical investigation periods, updating treatment protocols according to European directives and tailoring therapies according to the needs of each patient and, last but not least, supporting all education and awareness campaigns against cancer.
The Working Group on Combating Cancer answers the call of the European Union for combating cancer at European level, being one of the first parliamentary groups constituted in this purpose. Working with the institutions of the European Union will be a focal point, constantly on the group’s agenda.
To ensure the most effective communication of this initiative, but also to be in contact with as many stakeholders as possible, the Group is also present on social networks, namely Facebook (Luptă pentru viață page) and LinkedIn (Grupul pentru combaterea cancerului | Parlamentul României).
The Working Group for Combating Cancer is composed of:
- Carmen-Ileana Mihălcescu – PSD deputy – Group coordinator
- Nicolae Bănicioiu – PRO Europa deputy
- Dorel Florian Bodog – PSD senator
- Gabriel-Emanuel Botnariu – unaffiliated senator
- Florin-Corneliu Buicu – PSD deputy
- Petronela-Mihaela Csokany – Minorities deputy
- Bianca-Miruna Gavrilița – PSD deputy
- Laszlo Attila – UDMR senator
- Petru Movilă – PMP deputy
- Daniel Olteanu – ALDE deputy
- Nicoleta Pauliuc – PNL senator
- Gabriel-Marilen Pirtea – PNL deputy
- Rareș Tudor Pop – USR deputy
- Ana Adriana Săftoiu – PNL deputy
- Florin-Vasile Stamatian – PNL deputy
- Cristina-Mariana Stocheci –PSD senator
- Emanuel-Dumitru Ungureanu – USR deputy
- Levente Vass – UDMR deputy
- Adrian Wiener – USR senator

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Commissioner Johansson on official visit in the Swedish Riksdag

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson visited on Thursday 6th February the Swedish Riksdag to meet with members of the Riksdag. Commissioner Johansson gave a presentation of the Commission’s work programme 2020 and her responsibilities in the areas of migration and internal security, on which the members of the Riksdag got the chance to ask questions about her plans in the Commission.

Source: Swedish Riksdag

Commissioner Gentiloni and the Greek Minister of Finance briefed members of Committees of the Hellenic Parliament

The EU Commissioner, responsible for Economic Affairs, Mr. Paolo GENTILONI, briefed the members of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs and the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament on the European Commission's strategy for a green and fair economy with a view to achieving sustainable development. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Christos Staikouras.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, Mr. Stavros Kalogiannis, noted that Greece is in the lead of European effort to reduce the dependence on lignite, undertaking important initiatives in the context of the national plan for energy and climate. Mr Kalogiannis called for tangible support from the European Union, in order for Greece to secure significant resources from the Just Transition Fund, so that it can support local employment and a new development model for the areas that are likely to be affected by this transition.

The European Commissioner, whose visit to the Hellenic Parliament was the first of his visits to national parliaments, stated his intention to work closely with national MPs during his term. Mr. Gentiloni noted the great progress that has been achieved in the Greek economy. He said the government's ambitious program is a positive step, paving the way for using the profits of central banks bonds (SMPs and ANFAs) for investment.

He then summarized the new Commission's key priorities for his portfolio as follows: a successful climate transition, through the implementation of the European Green Deal, which could be a great economic opportunity for Europe as a whole and especially for Greece; Adjusting economic governance in the new era through the revision of the framework of financial supervision; The integration of EMU in order to ensure stability of the single currency and to boost investment.

Mr. Staikouras noted, inter alia, that the government has set the priority of achieving green and fair development by seeking adequate funding from the Just Transition Mechanism as part of its plan to end the country’s dependency on lignite. Mr. Staikouras added that the government combines economic efficiency with social justice, noting that its work is positively evaluated not only by European institutions, but mainly by Greek citizens. He pointed out that the economy has entered a growth trajectory, since growth projected for 2020 is more than double the European average. Finally, referring to the government's goals for the coming months, he noted that Greece is seeking the necessary financial space to implement growth-friendly policies by lowering taxes on households and businesses.

Source: Hellenic Parliament

The European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted on 29 January 2020 a Political Opinion concerning the use of the French language in European institutions, which was sent to the European Commission in the context of the political dialogue

The European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted on 29 January 2020 a Political Opinion concerning the use of the French language in European institutions, which was sent to the European Commission in the context of the political dialogue.


Source: French Senate
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