News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

25/01/12 Italian Senate debate on European Policy

European policy: Declarations of the President of the Council of Ministers and approval of motions and resolutions

The Italian Senate debated recommendations on European policy ahead of the European Council meeting at the end of the month. After the presentation and discussion of motions, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Mario Monti, made a statement regarding recent developments in the crisis in the Euro zone and the ongoing negotiations for fiscal union.

The Prime Minister expressed his confidence in the current talks on fiscal union and said a solution was now in sight. He called for a joint effort to support the Italian approach of enforcing rigour on the public accounts, designing mechanisms for financial stability and framing development policies. With respect to the discussions on the fiscal compact, Italy, he said, was acting to promote the integrity of the EU, strengthen the community budget and enhance the tools for financial stabilisation.

Following a debate on the declarations made by the Prime Minister, the Senate approved a joint motion on European policy, presented by Senators from several political groups of the majority. The Senate then approved a proposal for a resolution presented by Senators from the Italia dei Valori (IdV) party, and three motions by Senator Bonino, the Coesione Nazionale group and the IdV group, respectively. Furthermore, the Senate approved parts of a motion by the Lega Nord.

The approved joint act includes among its objectives: a revitalisation of the “community method” and of Italy’s role in the process of political integration; the taking into account of the economic cycle, the pension system and private savings in the reduction of the public debt; a more active role for the European Central Bank; the issuance of Eurobonds; the joint management of sovereign debts; and the creation of a European rating agency. The Senate also adopted Resolutions nos. 2 and 23 approving the Prime Minister’s declarations.
The Chamber of Deputies also discussed and approved motions on Italy's European policy.

The motions (Italian text) are available on

The English version of the operative sections of approved motions is available on the attached pdf document.

Belgian Federal Parliament IPEX information session

On Friday, 16th of December 2011, the Belgian Senate organised an IPEX information session.

The European Affairs Department invited Mr. Calin Racoti, IPEX Information Officer, to introduce the new website to the civil servants of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, as well as to the members of the political staff.

01/12/2011 German Bundestag on negotiations with Republic of Montenegro

The German Bundestag has agreed that the Federal Government should give its consent to a decision of the Council to open negotiations on the accession of the Republic of Montenegro to the European Union. The Bundestag did, however, attach certain conditions to this agreement.

The translation into English of the decision of the German Bundestag will be published soon.

Read more in IPEX under:

26/10/11 The German Bundestag agreed by a huge majority about the further design of the EFSF


Dutch Senate replaces printed parliamentary documents with iPad

Starting on 13 September 2011, the Senate of the Dutch Parliament will distribute its meeting documents to its 75 Senators by tablet computer. At the start of the first session after the summer recess, the Senators each received an iPad with an application (App) designed especially for the Senate. The Members of the Senate can use this modern communication tool to consult and manage the complete information flow of calendars, legislative bills, parliamentary correspondence and other meeting documents.

With that, the Senate of the States General is the first house of parliament in Europe to switch completely to the digital provision of information. Although several parliaments throughout Europe are considering the further digitisation of their documents, the Dutch Senate is the first to switch to digital meetings with the support of a tablet computer.

In doing so, the Senate is breaking with an almost 200-year history of distributing bills, letters from the government, reports and other meeting documents in printed form. All of this post generates thousands of pages of printed matter per Senator per week, which had to be delivered to the homes of the Senators by courier until now. And since national parliaments have been allowed to state their opinions on policy proposals of the European Union, the amount of parliamentary post has grown even further. From now on, the 75 Senators will be able to view all documents directly on their iPads and add notes to meeting documents. The calendar ‘links’ directly to the national and European files. It is expected that the vast majority of Senators will use the iPad exclusively once accustomed to using the tablet computer.

Senate continues to takes the lead in digital innovation
The Senators received the iPads, which will remain the property of the Senate, prior to the first plenary meeting following the summer recess. In a brief speech, the Secretary General G.J.A. (Geert Jan) Hamilton referred to the introduction of the tablet computer as a defining moment in the history of the Senate. “The Senate is sometimes burdened with a ‘dull’ image, but besides quality and meticulousness, transparency and working efficiently are also held in high regard. This is why the Senate has continued to take the lead when it comes to digital information provision and rapid communication.” The Secretary General pointed out that the Senate was also quick to introduce new communication tools in previous decades, such as making parliamentary papers available via the Internet in 1994, and launching a user-friendly website in 1997. The websites of the Senate have won awards on several occasions for their excellent accessibility.

The President of the Senate G.J. (Fred) de Graaf launched the new working procedure with two official acts. First, he unveiled a work of art by artist Jos van den Berg and graphic designer Cees van Rutten. It concerns a relief, cut from pieces of glued parliamentary papers. The creation is called Pre-iPad Parliament, and marks the transition from the printed order of the meeting to the digital form. He then officially launched the new Senate App.

Reliable and sustainable
The introduction of the iPad was preceded by careful preparations, which included the development of software for the efficient management of calendars and complete bill dossiers. The decision was based partly on considerations concerning sustainability and cost efficiency. Practical advantages, such as efficient recordkeeping and continuous updating of calendars and files also played an important role.

The Senate developed the system in cooperation with the ‘Knowledge and Operations Centre for Official Government Publications’ (Kennis- en Exploitatiecentrum Officiële Overheidspublicaties) (a division of ICTU) and PDC Information Architecture. The application itself was designed and delivered by ICT service provider Sogeti. The App was tested thoroughly during the summer recess. This showed that the electronic publication of parliamentary papers is efficient, dependable and reliable. Wireless communication is supported by the 21 Wi-Fi transmitters located in the historic Senate building as of early September.

With the system, which is now operational, the Senate has taken the lead in the application of technology in the context of the paperless government. The introduction of the tablet computers and the development of the App are associated with an investment of €148,000. Much of this amount will be recouped in the first year through a fundamental reduction in the costs of printing and courier services for the Senate. These amount to €142,686 (price level 2010). In time, the savings on the Senate’s overheads can increase even further, as stated by Secretary General Hamilton in his explanation of the project.
Contact | Legal Notice | v2.3