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News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

German Bundestag on Brexit negotiation framework

The German Bundestag has adopted a decision on the delivery of a government policy statement by the Federal Chancellor on the extraordinary meeting of the European Council concerning the framework of the withdrawal negotiations on Brexit (read decision here)

Source: The German Bundestag

European Commission President Juncker holds a speech about the “two hearts beating together” in front of the Romanian Parliament

On Thursday, May 11th 2017, Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, spoke in the joint plenary session of the Parliament (The Chamber of Deputies and Senate), Romanian Government and Diplomatic Corps, underlining 60 years since signing the Treaty of Rome- officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community and 10 years since Romania joined the great European family.

The European Commission has also been represented by the visit of the European Commissioner for EU Cohesion Policy, Mrs. Corina Crețu, emphasizing the crucial contribution of the Romanian state and the role played in the integration policy.
The first visit of this type took place on 20th of April, when the Vice-President of European Commission- Mr. Frans Timmermans, has pleaded in favor of the common future of Europe. His speech was well received by the auditorium.

The former PM of Luxembourg, Mr. Juncker said: “Romania and EU are even closer now”. His first political contact with our country was in early 2003, when Romania started the reform process in order to be compatible with the Euro-Atlantic structures (NATO and EU), the most important reform on the Romanian Constitution. This was the most important change in the political system because it moved the international law and international commitments to the first position. The legislation had to be similar to our newer allies.

During his speech, the President of the European Commission has mentioned subjects such as: the integration process, Schengen Area, Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), multi-speed Europe, Europe of citizens, justice and equality, five scenarios for the future of the EU in a “white paper”: the 27 states are evolving together, and also, the Romanian Presidency at the Council of UE from 2019. He concluded his speech with the statement: << Moi, je continurai à vous aimer. Vive la Roumanie, et vive l’Europe!>>

During the joint plenary session, important Romanian political leaders delivered speeches at the tribune of plenum, for example: Traian Băsescu, the former President of Romania (2004-2014), Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, the former PM and the President of Senate, Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and leaders from the political parties. Also, the presence of the former PM, Mr Adrian Năstase was noticed even in the speeches for his important role in the pre-accession process.

The visit consisted in meetings with high ranking Romanian officials. At 11:45, Mr Juncker was expected at Cotroceni Palace by the Romanian President, Klaus Werner Iohannis to have a private dialogue with him. After the private meeting, Mr Juncker was expected to participate at the Reception offered by Klaus Iohannis to celebrate 9th of May (Day of Europe). At 15:00, Mr Juncker was present at Victoria Palace, in order to meet the Government.

The official visit ended with the opportunity offered for the citizens to meet and have a dialogue with the European Commission representatives, including Mr Juncker at the National Art Museum of Bucharest.

Source: The Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Commissioner Navracsics visits the Hungarian National Assembly

Mr Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport held an exchange of views with the members of the Committee on European Affairs (hereinafter called the Committee) on its meeting of 8 May 2017.

The Commissioner during his fourth meeting with the Committee since the taking up of his duties, presented the key actual issues belonging to his portfolio and also touched upon the state of play of the European Investment Plan. He pointed out that since 2014 the EU has been facing a number of new difficulties, in particular the migration crisis and the consequences of the Brexit. Regarding the European Investment Plan he recalled that President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker had announced the doubling of the volume of the Plan which extends also to Africa in order to strengthen the economy of the countries of origin of migration. He highlighted that the Commission endeavours not to decrease the support of the EU programs for education and employment in the next multiannual budget after 2020 and the Commission is remaining committed to maintain and to broaden the thirty years old “Erasmus+” program. Mr Navracsics stressed that 2018 will be the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which provides a good possibility to discuss what connects the European nations to each other. He also mentioned the White Paper on the future of Europe presented by the European Commission setting out five possible scenarios for the Union. He added that the Reflection Paper on the social dimension of Europe will be discussed in Social Summit in November this year in Göteborg. During the ensuing debate the questions raised by the MPs focused on the migration issue, the youth unemployment, the future of Europe, the amendment of Higher Education Law, the implementation of Europe 2020 Strategy, as well as the cooperation between EU and Turkey.

Source: The Hungarian National Assembly

Follow-up of the Riksdag's application of the principle of subsidiarity

The Committee on the Constitution monitors the Riksdag’s application of the principle of subsidiarity and reports its observations to the Chamber on a yearly basis. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty until 2015 the Riksdag has examined a total of 522 draft legislative proposal, submitted 46 reasoned opinions, hence objecting to just below 9 per cent of all draft proposals. In its latest follow-up report for 2015 the Committee noted that there is room for further improving the extent to which information is published via IPEX. In its statement, the Committee has recommended the Riksdag to take measures to ensure that IPEX is further developed into a more efficient tool for exchange of information between national parliaments. As previously noted by the Committee the information available on IPEX is, due to the simultaneous initiation of subsidiarity checks in all member states, neither complete nor especially relevant when the committees examine subsidiarity matters. Nevertheless, the Committee has noted that there is room for further improvement regarding the extent to which relevant information is available and presented in a language easily accessible to other national parliaments. Read the full statement of the Committee on Constitution.

Source: The Swedish Riksdag

Vice-Commissioner Sefcovic at the Belgian Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs

On May 4th 2017, the Belgian Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs heard Vice-Commissioner Maros Sefcovic on the Energy Union strategy. Mr Sefcovic focused on the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy. He also discussed the main strengths and weaknesses of Belgian’s energy system and the new opportunities the Energy Union offers.

After his introduction, Mr Sefcovic replied to the questions from members of the Belgian House of Representatives, the Belgian Senate and the European Parliament, as well as from representatives of the civil society.

Source: the Belgian House of Representatives and the Belgian Senate

Commissioner Andriukaitis in the Belgian Federal Parliament

On May 2nd 2017, the Belgian Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs and the Health Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives heard Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis on the relationship between food and health and the measures the European Commission intends to take on these fields.

After his introduction, Mr Andriukaitis replied to the questions from members of the Belgian House of Representatives, the Belgian Senate and the European Parliament.

Source: the Belgian House of Representatives and the Belgian Senate

Brexit hearing at the German Bundestag

On 24 April 2017, the German Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European
Union held a public hearing on financial and economic issues in connection with the
Brexit negotiations.

The experts taking part in the hearing stressed that the departure of the UK would leave a structural gap in the EU budget. They explained that this gap could either be tackled by increasing contributions for the Member States, by implementing structural budget cuts or by creating independent sources of revenue for the EU. It was pointed out that Germany could expect to have to pay at least three billion euros extra per year if the level of contributions were to rise. Several Members of the Bundestag warned that divergent interests on the question of future financing might lead to serious friction amongst the EU Member States.

The experts and Members agreed in principle that the legally binding financial
obligations entered into by the United Kingdom would still have to be met after Brexit.
Views differed as to whether this would also apply in the case of a hard Brexit with no
agreement concluded. It was felt that Brexit would inevitably lead to negative economic impacts on both sides. One expert commented that the goal of the British government was evidently to achieve a deep free-trade agreement, whilst relinquishing as little sovereignty as possible.

Source: German Bundestag

Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, in Romanian Parliament

First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, who was on an official visit to Bucharest on Thursday, 20 April 2017, has had meetings with the Senate's Chairman, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea.

The agenda of the visit also included meetings with members of the juridical committees and the committees for EU affairs of the Romanian Parliament.

The meetings focused on the topics of interest on the future of Europe and the role that Romania plays in the stability of the European project, the recent issues covered by the EC in the latest report of CVM, the taking over presidency of the EU Council by Romania in 2019.

During the meetings, Mr. Timmermans appreciated the results of the democratic process in Romania and highlighted Romania's positive approach to resolving the migration crisis.

Mr. Timmermans also encouraged the Romanian Parliament to support the Government’s efforts to reach the objectives of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

“To be successful in the CVM process, I encourage the Romanian Parliament to support the government in the final stretch of the marathon,” Timmermans said.

At the end of the visit, in the context of dialogue with citizens, Mr. Timmermans have had a dialogue with the public at the National Museum of Arts, to discuss topics relating to the White Paper on the future of Europe, the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties and Romania's, 10th EU membership anniversary.

Source: Senate of Romania

Commissioner Thyssen in the Belgian Federal Parliament

On April 20th 2017, the Belgian Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs, the Finance Committee and the Social Affairs Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives heard Commissioner Marianne Thyssen on the European Semester and its social aspects.

The Commissioner announced the publication, next week, of the package on a European Pillar of Social Rights.

During this hearing, Mrs Thyssen replied to the questions from members of the Belgian House of Representatives and the Belgian Senate.

Source: The Belgian House of Representatives and the Belgian Senate

Seimas Committee on European Affairs: Brexit was a wake-up call that summoned the EU’s unity

On 7 April 2017, the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the European Information Office of the Information and Communication Department of the Office of the Seimas held a conference–discussion titled BREXIT: what it means for Lithuania and the European Union. The focus of the discussion was the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) on the European Union itself, the Republic of Lithuania, and the United Kingdom. The conference–discussion was attended by foreign ambassadors residing in Lithuania, Members of the Seimas, officials of the Office of the President and the Government, civil servants of ministries and public institutions, and civil society representatives.

Gediminas Kirkilas, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas and Chair of the Committee on European Affairs, welcomed the participants of the event and referred to the challenge of Brexit, which the EU was facing. He stressed that as a person who was involved in our country’s European integration processes, he found it obvious that while preserving the project of the European Union was of vital importance for Lithuania, good relations with the UK would not only be preserved but may be even strengthened. Juozas Bernatonis, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, pointed out that the European Union needed the United Kingdom and vice versa; thus a close and solid partnership was necessary for the sake of building a strong Europe. He expressed his hope that the formula of a close and solid partnership would become the model for further development of the EU–UK and bilateral Lithuania–UK relations.

Albinas Zananavičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasised that Brexit was as if a wake-up call for the whole EU, which awakened the Union and forced it to rethink the common European values, Europe’s unity and peace as well as where to invest and what to promote for the sake of common good.

As he summed up the discussion, Mindaugas Puidokas, Deputy Chair of the Committee on European Affairs, said that the main goal was to ensure protection of the rights of Lithuanian nationals in the UK, which is agreed upon by both sides, and expressed his hope that this would ultimately develop into a debate on and understanding of the need for Lithuania to provide for dual citizenship.

Source: Lithuanian Seimas
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