News from Parliaments

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Croatian Sabor organising Interparliamentary Conference on "The Role of Parliaments in Shaping the Future of Food and Farming"

The Croatian Parliament's Agriculture Committee is organizing a Interparliamentary Conference on “The Role of Parliaments in Shaping the Future of Food and Farming” which will take place in the Croatian Parliament, in Zagreb, on 22 and 23 November 2018.

The proposal for a new legislative framework of the Common Agricultural Policy for the next programming period, under which the European Commission is leading the transition to a more sustainable agriculture for one of the oldest EU policies – agricultural policy, is aimed at strengthening the agricultural sector’s resilience, supporting farmers’ income and sustainability, fulfilling the role of agriculture in environmental and climate challenges, reducing administrative burden, generational renewal and stronger use of innovation in agriculture, as well as ensuring the vitality of rural areas and the development of rural areas and communities.

What are the benefits of greater flexibility in the selection of measures to meet the goals of agricultural policy? How to efficiently manage the issues related to agriculture in member states with strategic plans? How to strengthen the resilience of agricultural producers and of the agricultural sector? What is the link between the proposal for a legislative framework and food safety and quality? How will the proposal affect the vitality of rural areas and communities? How are measures to stop the depopulation of rural areas designed? Issues that, together with other topics related to the proposal of the new legislative framework, need to be discussed.

To that end, the Agriculture Committee of the Croatian Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia launched the organization of a conference that will present representatives of the competent bodies of national parliaments of EU Member States, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia and the competent sectorial associations with an opportunity to exchange their views and opinions and make an additional contribution to the debate and creating of a framework of the Union’s Common Agricultural Policy for the forthcoming programming period.

The added value of the conference lies in intensifying the interparliamentary cooperation between EU Member States and encouraging discussions and exchange of views both among the competent working bodies of national parliaments and with the legislators and professional associations.

More information can be found here

Source: The Croatian Sabor

Young Parliamentarians Forum, 4th edition, Paris, 18 - 19 September

The 4th edition of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) will be hosted by the Assemblée Nationale Française/French Parliament, in Paris, on the 18th and 19th of September 2018.

As a co-host of the YPF, alongside the Assemblée Nationale, EU40 has received the full support of the French Government on behalf of Mr.Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, in order to guarantee a successful event.

EU40, the network of young Members of the European Parliament, is a cross-party / cross-national platform, which believes in an approach towards European politics that is not merely based on party politics or national issues.

More information on EU40 can be found here. Registration to the YPF event can be found here

Source: European Parliament

Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality: report recommends new way of working

On 10 July the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and 'Doing Less, More Efficiently', chaired by First Vice-President Timmermans, presented its final report and handed it over to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who established the Task Force in November 2017.

It had the mandate to work on three questions: How to better apply subsidiarity and proportionality principles within the EU institutions; how to better involve regional and local authorities and national parliaments in EU policymaking and implementation and whether there are policy areas where powers could be returned over time to Member States. The Task Force report comprises 9 recommendations addressed to national parliaments, national, regional and local authorities, the European Parliament, the Council, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.
The Task Force was composed of three members from the Committee of the Regions (President Karl-Heinz Lambertz/Belgium, Michael Schneider/Germany and François Decoster/France) and three members from National Parliaments nominated by COSAC representing the Troika at the time of the appointment of its members: Toomas Vitsut (Estonia), Kristian Vigenin (Bulgaria) and Reinhold Lopatka (Austria).

Reinhold Lopatka, Chairperson of the Standing Sub-Committee on EU Affairs of the Austrian National Council, pointed out that the Task Force was successful to engage different partners in this work such as legislative assemblies, regional parliaments and the municipalities. We also involved NGOs, so it was a broad discussion”.

The report’s conclusions and recommendations can be summarized as follows:
A new way of working on subsidiarity and proportionality is needed to allow local and regional authorities and national Parliaments to make a more effective contribution to EU policymaking and in the design of new legislation. The subsidiarity and proportionality scrutiny should be assessed more consistently by all levels of government, on the basis of a "model grid" – comparable to a subsidiarity and proportionality checklist.

Applying Flexibility concerning the 8 weeks deadline for national Parliaments to submit their opinions on draft EU legislation (possibility of a future increase of the time available for submitting an opinion to 12 weeks).

The three EU institutions should agree on a focused multi-annual programme that would promote a rebalancing of the EU's work in some policy areas towards more effective implementation of existing legislation and away from initiating new legislation.
The Task Force believes the new approach should be applied to the existing body of European Union legislation and to all new political initiatives.

The debate on the Task Force report will be continued also during the Austrian Presidency of the EU inter alia at a conference on subsidiarity in Bregenz in November.

For further information see the website of the Task Force and the video.

Source: The Austrian Parliament

French Senate contribution to "subsidiarity and proportionality" working group

The French Senate published its contribution to the European Commission's "subsidiarity and proportionality" working group.

The documents can be found here

Source: The French Senate

MEP, Bundestag study on 'Europeanisation' of National Parliaments

A study titled 'Europeanisation' of National Parliaments in European Union Member States: Experiences and Best Practices has been commissioned and published by Reinhard Bütikofer, German Member of the European Parliament.

Authors are Katrin Auel and Christine Neuhold. The study has been presented in the European House in Berlin in the framework of a discussion with the Chair of the Committee of European Affairs of the German Bundestag amongst others.

The study is available here: Study Europeanisation of National Parliaments

Source: German Bundestag

Austria’s EU Council Presidency: Parliamentary Dimension to start with meeting of COSAC Chairpersons from 8 - 9 July 2018

Austria took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July 2018. Together with Estonia and Bulgaria, Austria holds the so called trio presidency.

Within the last few years – especially since the Treaty of Lisbon and the implementation of the stronger role of national parliaments in the EU legislative process – the Parliamentary Dimension has become an integral part of the respective EU presidency. Within the scope of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Austrian Presidency, numerous interparliamentary meetings reflecting the Presidency’s priorities will take place. The programme of the Parliamentary dimension starts with the meeting of COSAC Chairpersons from 8 - 9 July.

Find out more about the programme of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Austrian Presidency here.

Source: The Parliament of Austria

Sejm of the Republic of Poland on the future shape of the cohesion policy in the European Union

On 27 June 2018, Mr Marek Kuchciński, Marshal of the Polish Sejm, addressed the letters to three Presidents: of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, the EU Council, Mr Bojko Borisow, and the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, informing them about the adoption of the Resolution of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland on the future shape of the cohesion policy in the European Union.

The text of the resolution can be found here

Source: The Polish Sejm

Portuguese Assembleia da República on PESCO

The Portuguese parliament Assembleia da República amended the Law concerning monitoring, assessment and pronouncement by the Assembleia da República within the scope of the process of constructing the European Union to include provisions regarding PESCO.

The amendments introduced to the Law no. 43/2006 lay down that joint meetings between the European Affairs Committee, the parliamentary committee with responsibility for the matter in question and the competent member of the Government shall be held during the week before the date of meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council whenever questions relating to Permanent Structured Cooperation are discussed. The amendments also lay down that an annual debate, in which the Government takes part, shall be held in plenary sitting in the first quarter of each year on Portugal’s PESCO participation.
Given that the Government prepares an annual report on its activity in the European Union, this report will now have to include a specific chapter on Portugal’s PESCO participation.

The first meeting with the member of the Government responsible for the matter, in the week before the meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, will take place tomorrow, 21st June.

This law, with the amendments, is available at this link

Source: Portuguese Assembleia da República

EP INTA Chair visits Austrian Parliament

Bernd Lange, Chairman of the INTA Committee (International Trade) of the European Parliament, visited Vienna on 8 June to meet with members of the National and Federal Councils. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss current affairs regarding international trade that might play a role in the future, as the Austrian Parliament is going assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018.

Firstly, chairman Lange elucidated future trade agreements such as those with Japan and Singapore. The signing of these agreements is most likely to fall into the Austrian presidency of the EU Council. Furthermore, the theft and trading of cultural goods was mentioned as an international security issue in specific cases, as it is often used for funding terrorism and other illegal activities and therefore needs stricter export controls. Responding to this security issue, the topic of investment screening as a new concept was referred to for future regulation. Last but not least, future regulations as well as EU relationships with the economic key players, such as Russia, China and the U.S. were discussed. Especially, how the United States’ protectionist measures will affect international trade in the short and in the long terms.

The members of the National and Federal Councils enthusiastically welcomed and contributed to the discussion, including voicing concerns regarding the protection of smaller Austrian businesses and international trade competition. The Austrian delegation also briefly mentioned a stronger support for a multilateral system rather than putting too much focus on a bilateral system in the near future.

Source: The Austrian National and Federal Councils

Cyprus House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources has started the discussion on CAP after 2020

At its meeting on 12th June 2018, the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of Cyprus held a discussion on the new developments regarding the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020 in the presence of the Director of Strategy, Simplification and Policy Analysis, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, as well as the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus.

Source: The House of Representatives of Cyprus
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