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News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

Lithuanian Seimas on CETA and TTIP

21/09/2016
On 21 September 2016, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania approved the statements on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

On TTIP, the Committee stressed the role of the TTIP in enhancing transatlantic partnership and in facilitating the establishment of standards, norms and rules based on the principles and values of the EU and the US with a clear potential of becoming the norm on the global scale. Committee invited the European Parliament and other EU Member States to support the negotiations of the European Commission with the United States on the conclusion of the TTIP, with a view to promptly achieving an ambitious agreement.

O CETA, the Committee highlighted the importance of smooth and fast signature and ratification of CETA and invited the European Parliament and all the EU Member States to support the conclusion of CETA, also calling on the parliaments of the Member States to pay particular attention to the conclusion of CETA and its ratification process.

Source: The Lithuanian Seimas

Commissioner Malmström in Belgian Federal Parliament

20/09/2016
On 20 September 2016, Mrs Cecilia Malmström, EU-Commissioner for Trade, was received by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives. The members of the Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs were also invited to this meeting.

In her speech, Mrs Malmström stressed that, although substantial progress has been made, the TTIP negotiations are far from over. On CETA, she elaborated i.a. on the economic opportunities of this agreement and on the fact that the ICS system will be applied for the first time.

Subsequently, a representative from each political party was given the floor and Mrs Malmström replied to the questions and remarks.

Source: The Belgian Federal Parliament

Public Hearing of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy on CETA

08/09/2016
On 5 September 2016, the German Bundestag’s Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy held a hearing of experts on CETA. The first part of the hearing examined issues of constitutional and EU law, while the second part looked at the content of the CETA agreement. There was significant public interest in the hearing, reflecting the controversial discussion that has been going on in Germany in politics and society about CETA for some time. The diverging positions of the experts did not create a uniform assessment of the situation.

The hearing focused on the following questions:

• CETA as an EU-only agreement or a mixed agreement
The experts did not agree on whether, in legal terms, CETA can be considered a mixed agreement. In the assessment of two experts, CETA is an EU-only agreement that has been declared a mixed agreement by the Commission for reasons of political opportunity. However, as CETA will be concluded de facto as a mixed agreement, the division of powers between the EU and the Member States remains controversial.

• Provisional application of the agreement
The experts were unanimous in their position that only those components of CETA that fall under the EU’s exclusive competence could enter into provisional force through a Council decision. Provisional application could not take effect before the European Parliament consents to CETA. One expert raised concerns regarding constitutional and EU law on the matter of provisional application. For example, the regulations on investment arbitration could have lasting consequences, even if CETA itself were ultimately to fail.

• Rights of participation of the Bundestag
The Bundestag has rights of participation and notification in the EU’s international agreements, resulting from Article 23 (2) sentence 2 and (3) of the Basic Law along with the Act on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters concerning the European Union. The Federal Government must notify the Bundestag comprehensively, as early as possible and continuously; furthermore the Bundestag has the right to state its opinion on the matter. A minority of experts additionally spoke in favour of the necessity of a decision by the Bundestag on the provisional application of the agreement.

• Investor protection and investment court
Investor protection and the regulation of investor-state dispute settlements were almost unanimously viewed as models and guiding principles for future trade agreements.

• The right to national regulation
A majority described the right to national regulation as comprehensively guaranteed. One expert expressed concerns for the farming sector in particular, namely that the implementation of regulations by the federal legislature could be made more difficult.

• Validity of the precautionary principle
Most experts stressed that while the precautionary principle is not mentioned explicitly, it is still sufficiently protected by risk management regulations.

The expert reports can be found here

Source: German Bundestag

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

17/08/2016
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

27/07/2016
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

27/06/2016
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

23/06/2016
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

23/06/2016
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

15/06/2016
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

14/06/2016
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.

Background

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
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