News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

Romanian Parliament ratified the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to NATO

On 27th February 2019, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted the draft law on the ratification of the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to the NATO, forwarding it to the Senate for adoption as decisional Chamber.

On 13th March 2019, the Senate of the Romanian Parliament ratified by unanimity the protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia in the NATO, in the presence of the Speaker of the Parliament of North Macedonia, Mr Talat Xhaferi.

More information here:

Romanian Chamber of Deputies
Romanian Senate

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Austria prepares for unregulated Brexit - Visit of Chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Vienna – Brexit debate in the EU committees of the Parliament

Mr Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator on Brexit, visited Vienna on 28 February to discuss the current state of the Brexit with members of the Austrian Parliament. Mr. Barnier recapitulated the different stages of the Brexit negotiations, the progress achieved so far, as well as the different scenarios for the United Kingdom to leave the EU.

In his introductory presentation, he detailed the content and structure of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom. The withdrawal agreement consists of six parts: citizens' rights, financial matters, transition period, institutional affairs and dispute settlement, the question of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and finally a part dedicated to various aspects of the transition. Concerning Northern Ireland, Mr. Barnier discussed the issue of this particular geographical area and explained the proposed solution (Backstop) to avoid a new hard border between the entities. The Political Declaration on the other hand is divided into four chapters (trade, socio-economic cooperation, police and legal cooperation, external affairs, security and defence)

Subsequently, Mr. Barnier addressed the current state of the negotiations as well as the possible Brexit scenarios while specifying that the agreement negotiated with Prime Minister Theresa May would not be reopened again even in the event of a postponement of the exit date.
In a second phase, members of the National and Federal Council took the floor to discuss various topics, such as the discussion on the postponement of the exit date of Brexit and the likelihood of a second referendum, the consequences of Brexit on the Erasmus and Horizon 2020 programmes, the holding of European elections in the United Kingdom for European citizens, citizens' rights in the event of a hard Brexit and the unity of the twenty seven during the negotiations. The MEPs finally thanked Mr Barnier for his second visit to Vienna, for the quality of his speech and for the work accomplished so far.

On the eve of this visit, on 27 February, the Austrian National Council had adopted the
“Brexit-Begleitgesetz”, a new law with which Austria is preparing itself for a possible unregulated withdrawal from the EU. In particular, it deals with the residence status and labour market access of British citizens living in Austria and their family members and regulations for students as well as transitional regulations for British companies with administrative headquarters in Austria. The legislative package was adopted by the National Council by a large majority, with only the SPÖ (Social Democrats) voting against.
The forthcoming Brexit was also a topic of discussion during the last week in the EU committees of the National Council and the Federal Council. Like Austria, the EU is also making provision for a "no deal" scenario. The Brexit debate took place due to a communication from the Commission in which the remaining member states are urged to prepare themselves in the event of a disorderly withdrawal or all other possible scenarios. This "emergency action plan" takes into account issues such as the right of residence, social security entitlements, financial services, customs duties and movement of goods.

- Press release of the visit of Michel Barnier
- Press release of the vote “Brexit-Begleitgesetz”
- Press release of the Brexit debate in the EU committees
- Law of “Brexit-Begleitgesetz”

Source: Austrian Parliament

Italian Parliament, Hearing of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

On 5 March 2019, the hearing of EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager was held in the Italian Parliament. Ms Vestager outlined the recent developments and future perspectives of European competition policy.
The hearing took place at the Senate premises in a joint sitting of the Senate and Chamber Committees on Foreign Affairs, Finance, Industry and EU Policy. 

The Senate Research Service and the EU Affairs Department of the Chamber of deputies published a joint Dossier before the event.

Source: Italian Parliament

Romanian Chamber of Deputies, 6th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians

On March 21st, 2019, the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Romania will organize the 6th Conference of Danube Parliamentarians.

The Conference will gather MPs from Republic of Austria (State of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Wien, Burgenland), Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany (State of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria), Hungary, Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia (Autonomous Province of Vojvodina), the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Slovenia and Ukraine and will be hosted by Mr. Angel TILVAR, chairman the EU Affairs Committee and Mr. Iulian IANCU, chairman of the Industry and Services Committee.

The main topics on the agenda relate to Priority Area 3- Promoting culture and tourism, people to people contacts and Priority Area 7 - Developing the knowledge society through research, education and information technologies. In the end, the Conference of Danube Parliamentarians will adopt a final joint statement.

Source: Romanian Chamber of Deputies

Parliament of Romania, Conference on the Future of the European Union on 1 - 2 April

On 1 - 2 April, the Parliament of Romania, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, will organize the Conference on the Future of the European Union, in Bucharest.

The objective of this Conference is to launch an interparliamentary dialogue on the relevant issues regarding the future of the European Union, with focus on defending European values, reforming the monetary system, ensuring cohesion, and the future enlargement of the EU. Furthermore, this Conference aims to adopt a common declaration in order to provide a parliamentary input for the informal meeting of the heads of state or government to be held on 9 May 2019, in Sibiu.

More information and the meeting documents can be found here

Source: Romanian Senate

Belgian House of Representatives presents its priorities

The priorities of the Belgian House of Representatives in accordance with the Commission Work Programme 2019 [COM(2018)800] are available.

The list can be found here.

Source: The Belgian House of Representatives

​Brexit Transition Act adopted for labour, education, health, social affairs and citizenship matters

On 21 February 2019, the German Bundestag adopted the “Act governing the  transitional arrangements for labour, education, health, social affairs and citizenship matters following the departure of the United Kingdom of Great  Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union” with the votes of all parliamentary groups (CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, The Left Party, Alliance 90/The Greens) with the exception of the Alternative for Germany parliamentary group.

The Act aims to protect British and German citizens against any disadvantages to  their social security status should the United Kingdom have left the EU on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement.

The Act provides that individuals who were insured by the German statutory pension and/or health insurance systems prior to Brexit will not lose their  insurance status or be forced to be insured twice solely as a result of the UK’s  departure. Health insurance providers are to be given the ability to enter contracts  with British healthcare service providers regarding care of insured parties. The  Act also creates a basis for apprentices to continue to receive benefits under the  Federal Training Assistance Act for a period of training started in the United  Kingdom prior to Brexit, where applicable until completion of said training.

The text of the Act can be found in German here

Source: German Bundestag

EU40 network, campaign and advocacy training on the European elections

EU40 is offering a campaign and advocacy training connected to this year's European election on March 5 & 6 in the European Parliament.

Speakers will include, among others:

- Alexander Stubb, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, former PM of Finland and member of EU40
- Christian Kremer, Deputy Sec. Gen. of the EPP Party & former member of the Jean Claude Juncker’s Campaign team 2014
- Florian Eder from Politico’s Playbook on how to get a mention in the ‘Brussels Bubble’ most influential newspapers
- Dan Sobovitz, speechwriter and social media evangelist for EU Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič

More information and the registration form can be found here

For Twitter

Source: European Parliament

Follow-up of the Riksdag’s application of the principle of subsidiarity in 2017 - statistics and observations

According to Ch. 7, Art. 8 of the Riksdag Act, the Committee on the Constitution shall monitor the application of the principle of subsidiarity and report its observations to the Chamber once a year.

The other parliamentary committees have also had the opportunity to comment on certain observations made during the review. In this report, the Committee presents the results of its follow-up for the period 1 January–31 December 2017. The Riksdag debated the findings in the report on 23 January 2019.

In 2017, the Commission sent 90 proposals, which was fewer than in 2016, when 101 proposals were sent. All the 90 proposals sent by the commission were checked for subsidiarity by the Riksdag.

The Riksdag submitted a total of three reasoned opinions in 2017, which was a considerable decrease compared to 2016, when 13 reasoned opinions were submitted.

In 2017, no proposal managed to secure enough objections to achieve the threshold for a yellow card.

The following observations were made in the report:

- As previously, the Committee considers that there is potential for improvement regarding information that is entered into IPEX, and that it should be entered in a language that is accessible to other national parliaments.

- The Committee notes that since the Lisbon Treaty came into force, just three proposals have achieved the threshold for a yellow card. The Committee considers that there is reason to reflect on how the national parliaments can exchange information so as to improve the prospects of reaching the threshold.

- The Committee maintains that the Permanent Representative of the Riksdag to the EU institutions represents a possible channel for informally exchanging information.

- The Committee shares the opinion of the all-party committee of inquiry with the task of examining the Riksdag’s work with EU affairs that it should be up to the committees to draw up procedures for disseminating information at the political level.

- The Committee notes that the national parliaments’ planning of subsidiarity checks could be considerably facilitated if the Commission provided more detailed and reliable information about the planning of each individual initiative.

- The Committee further comments on the significance of authorisations to adopt delegated acts or implementing acts in draft legislative acts in connection with subsidiarity checks.

The follow up of the Riksdag’s application of the principle of subsidiarity in 2018 will be published in 2020.

Summary of the report and the position of the Committee on the Constitution.

Source: Swedish Riksdag

Italian Chamber of Deputies: Committee on EU Policies scrutinizes EC’s reports and communication

On February 20, 2019, the Committee on EU Policies of the Italian Chamber of Deputies completed the scrutiny of the Communication from the European Commission on “The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality: strengthening their role in the EU’s policy making” (COM(2018)703). The Committee jointly examined the European commission annual reports (2017) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (COM(2018)490) and on relations between the European Commission and national parliaments (COM(2018)491). The Italian Committee issued a final document with a favorable opinion and some observations.

Source: The Italian Chamber of Deputies
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