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News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

Maltese Parliament: New Legislature

The 13th Legislature of the Maltese Parliament held its first Sitting last Saturday following the general election held in Malta on Saturday, 3 June 2017, in which the Labour Party (Partit Laburista) retained a parliamentary majority.

During the sitting, the House of Representatives unanimously agreed to elect Honourable Angelo FARRUGIA as Speaker, thus maintaining his post from the previous legislature. Honourable Claudette Buttigieg was elected as Deputy Speaker.

The Speaker then administered the parliamentary oath to each of the elected Members of Parliament, following which the latter officially assumed their seats in Parliament.

Source: Maltese Parliament

Cyprus House of Representatives conference on "The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Perspectives and Risks"

On 22 June 2017, the Cyprus House of Representatives organised a Conference entitled "The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Perspectives and Risks". Academics, scientists and researchers from Cyprus and Greece delivered speeches and presentations on the various topics of the Conference. The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Demetris Syllouris, aimed to initiate a dialogue with relevant bodies and institutions, businesses, the scientific and academic community, the trade unions and civil society on this important issue. The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Demetris Syllouris and the Academician, awarded with the Turing 2007 Award Dr. Joseph Sifakis, addressed the closing ceremony of the Conference.

Source: The Cyprus House of Representatives

Commissioner Stylianides visits Cyprus House of Representatives

The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Demetris Syllouris, received on Friday, 16 June 2017, the Commissioner of the European Union (EU) for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides. During their meeting, Messrs Syllouris and Stylianides exchanged views on current issues and challenges facing the EU, such as Brexit and the White Paper on the Future of Europe. Thereafter, Commissioner Stylianides briefed the Members of the Cyprus House of Representatives on issues related to his portfolio and on the White Paper on the Future of Europe.

Source: Cyprus House of Representatives

Lithuanian Seimas adopts a Resolution on the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union

With 101 votes in favour to none against and 3 abstentions, the Seimas adopted a Resolution on the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union. The Resolution underlines that the unity of Member States of the European Union (EU) in the negotiations with the United Kingdom (UK) provides the only adequate and necessary guarantee for ensuring the interests of the EU and its citizens and the indivisibility of the Union. In parallel, the Resolution takes note of the importance of the process of constructive negotiations and smooth withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which constitutes the basis for further development of relations.

The Resolution states that citizens’ interests and rights are particularly important during the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For this reason, Lithuania urges the UK to ensure the protection and continuity of the rights of the Lithuanian nationals living, working, studying and building their lives in the UK, and assures that it would make every effort to adequately protect the rights of UK citizens in the EU and Lithuania.

The Resolution stresses that, notwithstanding its decision to leave the EU, the UK remains a strategic partner of the Republic of Lithuania. The expectation is expressed that the EU and the UK will continue maintaining close relations based on equivalent rights and obligations.

The Resolution conveys the thanks of the Seimas to the UK for its continuous and resolute support rendered to the Baltic States in consolidating democracy, strengthening their national security and economy, and striving for membership of the EU, NATO and other international organisations.

The Resolution emphasises that the obligations assumed by the UK during the EU membership must be fulfilled to avoid negative effects on the multi-annual EU budget and the financing of programmes important to Lithuania.

In its Resolution, the Seimas calls on the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek to maintain the closest possible cooperation on citizens’ rights, political and economic matters, and security and defence policies during the EU-UK negotiations. The abovementioned institutions are invited to regularly and comprehensively inform the Seimas of the progress of the negotiations between the EU and the UK and the results achieved.

Source: The Lithuanian Seimas

Lithuanian Seimas calls on the EU to develop an ambitious vision of the Eastern Partnership

Having regard to the aggressive Russian foreign policy, which aims at disrupting the European security architecture and is responsible for the creeping occupation of Georgia, the continuing aggression in Ukraine, which has already claimed over 10,000 lives, the information warfare being waged against democracies, and the interference with electoral processes in sovereign states in the Euro-Atlantic area, which poses an increasing threat, the Seimas urged the Western world at this time of particular threats to not only maintain unity, but also focus on supporting and enhancing the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.

The Seimas Resolution on the Need to Renew Commitment to Support Democracy was adopted by 85 votes in favour with 2 against and 5 abstentions.

The Resolution invites to jointly seek comprehensive political, security and financial support of the European Union (EU) and the USA for the political and economic reforms taking place in Ukraine and for the democratic opposition forces of Belarus and Russia.

The Seimas urged the EU to shape an ambitious vision of the Eastern Partnership based on the prospects of full EU membership of the most advanced countries of the Eastern Partnership, bearing in mind that the success of the reforms provided for in the association agreements of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will also largely depend on the European Union’s political engagement and increased financial incentives.

The Resolution calls on the Government to increase the amount of funds and intellectual resources allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for development cooperation, in particular for democratic development initiatives in Eastern Europe and other priority regions.

Source: The Lithuanian Seimas

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, speaks on the energy challenges: Lithuania went through a revolution

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, delivered a speech at the Seimas sitting. He spoke of the EU Energy Union, one of the 10 priorities of the current European Commission.

“In the 21st century, independence is not about being self-sufficient, but about ensuring secure flows from diverse sources, sustaining vibrant competition, and building solid solidarity among neighbours in case of disruption. That is how you reach energy independence in a globalised economy,” Šefčovič stressed. In his opinion, Lithuania has gone through no less than a revolution in this respect.

Vice-President of the European Commission was pleased that, although until the beginning of 2015 the Baltic region was an energy island entirely dependent on a single gas supplier, with the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port city of Klaipėda, Lithuanians can now choose from where and from whom they want to import. “Suddenly, Lithuania is not a pure energy importer but it can actually trade gas with its neighbours, therefore boosting competition in their markets as well,” underlined the Vice-President, adding that Lithuania has recently reached similar achievements in the field of electricity.

In his speech, the Vice-President of the European Commission stressed the importance of connecting the network of the Baltic States to the continental European network. “The connection of the Baltic countries to continental Europe is also important in view of the future likely synchronisation of your electricity network with that of the continental Europe. I know that Lithuanians (like other Baltic nations) are European at heart. It’s time your electricity follows the same European electricity heartbeat,” Mr Šefčovič said.

He also drew attention of the audience to the uncompleted tasks, such as improving energy efficiency, especially in heating and transport sectors. Mr Šefčovič noted the importance of National Climate and Energy Plans and urged Member States to complete them as soon as possible.

At his meeting with Vice-President Šefčovič prior to the sitting, Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, discussed the decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear safety in the context of construction of the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus, the synchronisation with the continental European network, and other energy security issues relevant to Lithuania.

“Upon its accession to the EU, Lithuania made a commitment to close the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. It is an exceptionally expensive innovative long-term decommissioning project of an unprecedented scale. It is a genuine technological and financial challenge for Lithuania. We believe that a safe and efficient decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP is also an objective of common interest for the EU as a whole. We are concerned about the Ignalina programme in the context of Brexit: continued full EU funding for 2017–2020 is vital for the uninterrupted progress of the decommissioning operations. Support for the programme, which was pledged under the Accession Treaty, should be seamlessly continued,” said the Speaker of the Seimas and presented to Mr Šefčovič a decontaminated item from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.

Subsequent to the adoption of the Energy Union Framework Strategy in 2015, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has launched a series of visits to EU Member States, where he presents the Energy Union’s opportunities for Europe.

Source: The Lithuanian Seimas

Lithuanian Seimas on CAP after 2020

Having taken into consideration the complicated situation in the Lithuanian agricultural sector and rural areas and large emigration flows, the Seimas underlined the need to ensure adequate funding for the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 in view of the future challenges and targets to be attained in the agricultural sector and rural areas. This was stressed in the Resolution on the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union after 2020, which the Seimas adopted by 65 votes in favour, with no votes against and 7 abstentions.

Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, maintains that Lithuania is currently being discriminated against, since its farmers have been receiving lower payments. That is why it is crucial to put the focus on the situation in Lithuania when negotiating on the Common Agricultural Policy and the terms and conditions for farmers.

“The payments system should ensure fair and equal terms of competition for all EU farmers,” the Speaker of the Seimas says. He points out that the size of direct payments that does not distort competition and does not discriminate against the Lithuanian farmers and the rural population should be kept as a priority for Lithuania in negotiations for the future financial period of 2021–2027.

“The current situation in the Lithuanian agricultural sector and rural areas is difficult, which is why we have to negotiate better conditions for our farmers to ensure that the CAP funds for rural development substantially contribute to maintaining and enhancing the viability of rural regions,” Mr Pranckietis says.

The adopted Resolution contains proposals on reinforcing risk management instruments and improving market regulation measures by assessing the possibility of introducing a third pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy dedicated to risk management and concurrently maintaining a market-oriented CAP.

The document also points out to the need to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy and ensure its flexible implementation across EU Member States.

Source: The Lithuanian Seimas

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
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