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News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

Extraordinary informal summit of Speakers of Parliaments of the EU "Bratislava Parliamentary Summit", Bratislava 6/7 October 2016

The Chancellery of the National Council of the Slovak Republic is preparing an extraordinary informal summit of Speakers of Parliaments of the EU "Bratislava Parliamentary Summit" on 6 - 7 October 2016. The Bratislava Parliamentary Summit, under the motto "Let's get to know each other better", was initiated by Mr. Andrej Danko, Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, who also wants to react this way to the dynamic development of the European and world scene over the recent weeks. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has already been formally requested by the National Council of the Slovak Republic to include the meeting into the official calendar of events of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, as one of the events with the highest priority.

The Speaker of the National Council, Mr. Andrej Danko, has invited 41 foreign parliamentary delegations headed by the Speakers of the Parliamentary Chambers of the EU member states, to Bratislava, including the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz.

The program of the extraordinary informal summit is divided into two days. Thursday, October 6, an informal dinner will be held in the representative premises of Bratislava Castle, associated with a cultural program focused on the presentation of the Slovak Republic.

The program of the informal summit of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the EU will be held on Friday, October 7 at the premises of Reduta and is divided into two panel discussions. The topics of the first part of the summit are the current threats to European unity and bridging the gap between the European Union and its citizens. In the second part the parliamentary leaders will discuss the role of national parliaments and the internal cohesion of the European Union and globally operating Europe.

This initiative was publicly presented for the first time on July 7, 2016 by the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Andrej Danko, and it follows on the idea of an informal summit of Heads of States and Prime Ministers of the EU member states, which will take place in Bratislava on September 16, 2016.

Source: The National Council of the Slovak Republic

EC on Posting of Workers directive, subsidiarity breach

On 26 July, the EC's College of Commissioners has adopted a Communication re-examining its proposal for a revision of the Posting of Workers Directive ( COM (2016) 0128)in the context of the subsidiarity control mechanism that several national Parliaments triggered in May, deciding to maintain the proposal.

The EC press release can be found here

Source: IPEX

Austrian National Council's EU Standing Subcommittee debates CETA: CETA as mixed agreement needs consent by national Parliaments

In its meeting on June 22 the Austrian National Council's EU Standing Subcommittee again debated CETA and issued a binding opinion. It called for the consideration of CETA as a mixed agreement and therefore the rejection of an EU-only agreement. Furthermore the Committee referred to concerns expressed by the Federal Provinces, as outlined in the common opinion presented by the Provincial Governments on 11 May 2106.

The delegates in a communiqué also agreed to publish the two expert opinions of the Legal, Legislative and Research Services of the Austrian Parliament and of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

The Austrian Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economy Reinhold Mitterlehner, underlined that Austria considers CETA a mixed agreement and that he had already informed the European Commission about Austria's point of view several times. In case the EC suggests a draft EU-only-agreement Austria would opt against this proposal, Mitterlehner pointed out.

Also the EU-Committee of the Austrian Federal Council in its meeting on May 31 issued an opinion in which it calls for the continued consideration of the concerns expressed by the Federal Provinces, as outlined in the common opinion presented by the Provincial Governments on 11 May 2016. In the same meeting the Committee issued a communication on the EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling expressing their concerns about principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, such as the proposed financing of projects bundling individual projects into bigger investment packages. Another communication was issued on a mandatory Transparency Register on the occasion of the EC’s current public consultations. In general the Committee supports the EC' efforts towards more transparency but expressed concern about the fact that the EC might extend the scope of the regime to regional authorities and their representatives, thus including the regional parliaments.

Source: The Austrian Parliament

The Swedish Riksdag issues a reasoned opinion regarding the new CPC regulation

A reasoned opinion on the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws, was adopted by the Swedish Riksdag on 22 June.

The Riksdag does not question the need for a new CPC regulation. It does, however, have objections to some of the new powers proposed regarding investigation and enforcement and to the proposal on common actions to counteract widespread infringements with a Union dimension. The Riksdag's overall view is that a number of proposals exceeds what is necessary to achieve the given objectives and that they thus conflict with the principle of subsidiarity.

Courtesy translation of the reasoned opinion

Source: The Swedish Riksdag

Italian Senate: Resolution on Circular Economy Package adopted by Environment Standing Committee

In the framework of the political dialogue with EU institutions, the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Environmental Properties and the Land adopted a resolution on the Commission's circular economy package on 14 June 2016. The document also reflects the contributions received as part of a public consultation, conducted by the Environment Committee from January to 31 March 2016. Fifty-five contributions were received from public and private sector representatives and stakeholders. For further information, see the Senate Research Service Dossier and its Annex (in Italian).
The comprehensive resolution adopted considered the five European Commission documents that are part of the package (COM(2015) 614, COM(2015) 593, COM(2015) 594, COM(2015) 595 e COM(2015) 596). Qualifications were expressed and a number of specific amendments were proposed.

The resolution is currently available in Italian but it is being translated for publication on the IPEX website.

Source: The Italian Senato

The Italian Senate participates in the European Commission's public consultation on "Science with and for Society", as part of Horizon 2020

The Italian Senate's Standing Committee on Education, Cultural Properties, Scientific Research, Entertainment and Sport will participate in the public consultation launched by the European Commission on the 2018-2020 Work Programme of 'Science with and for society' (SWAFS), which is a specific section of Horizon 2020 aimed at building "effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science, and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility".

The consultation, which will stay open until 4 July, will collect views and opinions on the strategy, objectives and expected impact of the SWAFS 2018-2020 Work Programme, the content of which will be elaborated by the Commission based on contributions received.

In order to define its contribution to the consultation the Committee will debate the various issues at hand and may conduct hearings on the matter. A resolution should then be put to the vote by the end of June and sent to the Commission within the framework of the political dialogue between national parliaments and European institutions.

For further details please see

Source: The Italian Senate

All-party committee of inquiry on the Swedish Riksdag’s work with EU matters

On 8 June, the Riksdag Board decided that an all-party committee of inquiry will examine the Riksdag’s work with EU matters. The inquiry will be led by First Deputy Speaker Tobias Billström (Moderate Party).

The inquiry will examine the Riksdag’s work with EU matters. Some of the questions included in the inquiry concern what position the Riksdag should and can take regarding developments in the EU towards a reinforced role for the national parliaments. The inquiry will also examine whether the division of responsibilities between the Riksdag and the Government has changed.

“It is approximately ten years since the Riksdag last conducted a major all-party inquiry to review work with EU-related matters. Cooperation in the EU has changed during this period. For example, the crises in recent years have demanded rapid decisions at EU level. That is why it is important now to examine the Riksdag’s work with EU matters in order to ensure appropriate work procedures and tools”, says Tobias Billström.

A further eleven members representing all the parties in the Riksdag will be appointed. The committee of inquiry will start its work in September 2016, and is to present its report by 1 October 2017.


In April 2016, the Riksdag decided, on the basis of a proposal from the Committee on the Constitution, to direct an announcement to the Riksdag Board with the recommendation that it appoint an all-party committee of inquiry with the remit of examining the Riksdag’s work with EU matters, including what position the Riksdag should and can take regarding developments in the EU towards a reinforced role for the national parliaments. The Riksdag Board gave the Secretary-General of the Riksdag the task of preparing the terms of reference for such an inquiry. The proposal for the terms of reference was prepared together with the party group leaders.

Press release can be found here

Source: The Swedish Riksdag

Luxembourg Parliament on CETA negotiations

The Parliament is convinced that it is in the interest of all concerned parties to clarify all controversial legal questions, that a large democratic debate should take place in national parliaments and that the CETA is clearly a mixed agreement who needs the consent of national parliaments.

Invites the government:

• to support any initiative in Council to clarify the controversial legal questions;
• to vote against any decision proposal of the European Commission in case the EC would insist on an agreement falling within the exclusive competence of the European Union;
• to insist on the mixed character of the agreement so that parliaments have their word to say in terms of ratification;
• to insist on the vote of the EP before any potential provisional implementation of the agreement;
• to ensure the independence and impartiality of members of the permanent investment tribunal foreseen in the agreement . These need to have the same qualifications than members of the International Court of Justice and must be irreproachable from an ethical point of view in order to guarantee their total independence and impartiality. To that end, a binding code of conduct should be implemented for all members of the tribunal in order to prevent any potential conflicts of interest.

More information and the original text in French can be found here

Source: The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies

Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, new IPEX Board Chair

The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies has officially taken over the Chairmanship of the IPEX Board form the Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, at the end of the Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments.

According to the IPEX Guidelines, the one-year mandate of the IPEX Chair spans the periode between two consecutive EUSC meetings, following a rotating principle, based of the second semester presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The new IPEX Board is composed by representatives of the national Parliaments and chambers of Italy (Chamber of Deputies and Senate), The Netherlands (Chamber of Deputies and Senate), Slovakia (National Council), Austria (National Council and Federal Council), Belgium (Chamber of Deputies and Senate), Denmark (Folketing), France (National Assembly and Senate), Germany (Bundestag), Poland (Sejm and Senate), Greece (Hellenic Parliament), Portugal (Assembly of the Republic), Rumania (Chamber of Deputies and Senate), the United Kingdom (House of Commons) and the European Parliament.

Source: IPEX

Hearing at the German Bundestag on the proposals made by the European Commission to regulate online sales

On 11 May 2016, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection held a public hearing on two proposals made by the European Commission to regulate online sales. The Commission had already presented the proposals for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content (COM(2015)634 final) and for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods (COM(2015)635 final) in December 2015 in the framework of measures to strengthen the Digital Single Market.

At the beginning of the hearing, a representative from the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers informed the Members of the Bundestag about the aims of the proposals and the background to them.

Following that, seven legal experts gave their assessments of the proposals. They expressed a range of concerns about the content of the planned directives; the need for introducing such provisions at all was also called into question and the timing of the directives criticised.

The following points in particular were made at the hearing:
• Data as a currency: on the one hand, the improvements to customer rights were welcomed; at the same time, however, the right to retrieval of the data was viewed as difficult to enforce. Regulating these interests in the framework of data protection legislation was viewed as more sensible.
• Legal guarantees: criticism centred on the fact that different guarantee provisions would apply depending to online, as opposed to offline, purchases.
• Goods and digital content: the idea of regulating the two areas of goods and digital content separately was viewed as problematic. It was seen as unclear, for example, which of the directives would apply to products with built-in software.
• Extension of the reversal of the burden of proof to two years: the duration of the reversal of the burden of proof, which is six months in most Member States, was seen as completely adequate. Attention was drawn, however, to the positive experiences with a longer period in Portugal.

Most of the experts viewed language barriers, and people’s lack of confidence in the smooth processing of orders and the enforcement of their consumer rights in other countries as the real problems behind the low rates of cross-border sales. They felt that these problems would continue to exist even with a harmonised legal framework.
The statements of the experts and further information (in German) are available on the Bundestag’s website.

Source: The German Bundestag
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