News from Parliaments

Please find here the latest news.

French Senate's EAC adopts proposal for a reasoned opinion

The European Affairs Committee of the French Senate adopted a proposal for a reasoned opinion about the proposal for a regulation on health technology assessment - COM (2018) 51.

More information can be found here

Source: The French Senat

EP rapporteur on Posting of Workers Directive meets Austrian MPs

The Dutch MEP Agnes Jongerius, Vice-chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, visited Vienna 16 February to meet members of the National Council to inform them about the current state of the negotiations on the Posting of Workers Directive.

In general everybody agrees with the principle of " the same wage for the same work at the same place" to fight against wage and social dumping. Specifically this means that employees sent from other EU countries should receive the same pay that their native colleges receive instead of the minimum wage. The length of the posting period, among other things, remains controversial.

The renegotiation of the Posting of Workers Directive actually takes place under the Bulgarian Presidency, and could, if no compromise is found between the Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission fall in the Austrian Presidency.
Additionally, Agnes Jongerius announced that the EU-Commission will send other suggestions during the next weeks concerning the planned European Labour Authority as well as the introduction of a European social security number.

For further information, see the press release

Source: The Austrian Parliament

Working visit of Mr Maroš Šefčovič, EU Commissioner for the Energy Union (Luxembourg, Chamber of Deputies, 12th March 2018)

The European Commission and the Grand Duchy have a common vision and a shared goal: restore and maintain the citizens’ trust in the common European project. Those were the words used by Mars Di Bartolomeo, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, to welcome Mr Šefčovič, Vice-President and EU Commissioner in charge of the Energy Union. The Slovak Commissioner had an exchange of views with the members of the Committees for Foreign and European Affairs, Economy and Environment to discuss the political aims related to energy, climate, mobility and innovation of the Union for 2020 and 2030.

The Member States’ duties:
The Commissioner underlined the fact that Member States “have to do their homeworks” and set up national plans, especially regarding renewable energies and reduction in CO2 emissions. The MPs shared the Commissioner’s thought, but emphasized the obligations of Member States to find solutions on a national scale.
In that same matter, the members informed about the government’s action plan of executing the Paris agreements, which will be introduced today.

Electromobility, nuclear power and cooperative mechanisms:

During the meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the European Commission, the MPs have wondered if the objectives suggested by the European Commission in the 2030 climate and energy framework were ambitious enough to comply with the Paris agreements

They have also discussed the cooperative mechanisms between the state members in the EU. At the beginning of March, the Chamber of Deputies has ratified 2 agreements (Lithuania and Latvia) which entail statistical transfers of energy from renewable energy.

Boosting the deployment of electromobility in Europe was also one of the subjects of the meeting. The Luxemburgish MPs would like to see more charging points throughout Europe. According to the MPS, one of the priorities of the EU and its members should also be investments in research in order to create performant and affordable batteries for electric cars.

At last, the members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Slovak Commissioner also discussed about nuclear energy. Mr Sefcovic underlined that even if this matter is really controversial among the members of the EU, the security standards are still a priority for the Commission.

A regular exchange between the European Commission and the Luxembourg Parliament:

One of the Juncker Commission’s ambition is to strengthen the contact with National Parliaments. Indeed, the Luxembourg Parliament received several visits from EU Commissioners over the last few months:

o Violetta Bulc
o Marianne Thyssen
o Cecillia Malmström
o Carlos Moedas
o Günther Oettinger
o Andrus Anisp
o Frans Timmermans

The video as well as pictures of the exchange are available here.

Source: The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies

Exchange of views with Commissioner Šefčovič in the Austrian Parliament

Maroš Šefčovič, EU Commissioner for the Energy Union held an exchange of views with representatives of the Federal and the National Councils in a meeting held in the Austrian Parliament on Thursday, 1 March.

In his introductory speech, Commissioner Šefčovič firstly complimented the energy and climate policies of Austria which he considers as exemplary. Secondly, he pointed out the importance of a fully-integrated internal energy market able to resist crisis and as far as possible independent of fossil energy resources.

In line with the Climate Change Conference (COP21), the European Commission has decided to reduce about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Commissioner Šefčovič assured that a reliable gas supply must be guaranteed, as long as the technology for the storage of wind and solar energy is not sufficiently developed. Furthermore, he specified that the Commission will pay particular attention to high safety standards in countries where nuclear energy is the main energy supplier. Besides, the Internal energy market allows the preservation of the competitiveness which permits affordable prices for the consumers.

The delegates welcomed the discussion and the priorities of the Energy Union, even though they expressed the concern that this could encourage the use of nuclear energy.

For further information, see the press release

Source: The Austrian Parliament

Review of the European activity of the Polish Sejm in February 2018

Review of the European activity of the Polish Sejm in February 2018 has been published in the Biuletyn OIDE.

It includes, among others, information on the debate on and the adoption of the Resolution of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland of 8 February 2018 on negotiations concerning the operating principles of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union after 2020 – text of the resolution (EN).

See the full text of the February Biuletyn OIDE in English.

Source: The Polish Sejm

Commissioner Oettinger meets the Maltese House of Representatives

European Union Commissioner for budget and human resources, Gunther Oettinger held an exchange of views with members of the Foreign of Foreign and European Affairs Committee and of the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee in a meeting held at the Maltese House of Representatives on Friday 2nd March.

Mr Oettinger gave an introductory presentation on the scenarios of the multi-annual financial framework post-2020. He briefly outlined the traditional challenges and new ones which include Brexit. He presented the EC’s priorities aiming at closing the gap in the budget caused by the loss of the United Kingdom as net contributor. He pointed out that the gap might be covered by cutting the expenses as well as by raising the income. He also stressed about the importance of flexibility. While one has to keep in mind that unanimity between member states is required, the European elections of next year will make negotiations even more challenging.

Members of Parliament expressed their different points of view including the importance of flexibility in the budget so that it truly can reflect current EU realities. The issue of conditionality was raised as well as migration and solidarity as the link between the two.

Source: The Maltese House of Representatives

Discussion in the plenary of the German Bundestag on the Common Foreign and Security Policy

On 23 February 2018, the German Bundestag deliberated on a motion tabled by the FDP opposition parliamentary group on improving the EU’s ability to act in the field of foreign policy and strengthening the role of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy and of the European External Action Service.

The overall thrust of the motion, which calls for a seamless European foreign policy, was welcomed by all the parliamentary groups except for the AfD and the Left Party. The question of whether the budgetary resources available for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) should be increased in the post- 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework was the subject of disagreement.

The following concrete proposals were discussed: that the High Representative should get one or more political deputies; that equal speaking rights for the High Representative at the General Assembly of the United Nations would be desirable; that the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) should be complemented by a Permanent Civilian Cooperation; that an increase in the number of CFSP decisions taken on the basis of a qualified majority would be desirable.

The motion was referred for further deliberations to the Bundestag’s Committee on European Union Affairs as the lead committee, and to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for its opinion.

Source: German Bundestag

The 2nd edition of the IPEX Users Conference on web

The 2nd edition of the IPEX Users conference will take place on 2 March in Stockholm, hosted by the Swedish Riksdag.

The conference, which will bring together officials from EU national Parliaments and the European Parliament, will be opened by H.E. Mr. Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Riksdag. As key-note speakers, Mr. Marc Angel, Chair of the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, Defence, Cooperation and Immigration of the Luxembourg Parliament and Mr. Jasenko Selimovic, Member of the European Parliament (ALDE/Sweden), will address the audience and share their thoughts on IPEX and interparliamentary cooperation.

The meeting will be webcast by the Swedish Riksdag here

More information about the meeting here

Source: IPEX

Commissioner Moscovici at the Hellenic Parliament on the future of Europe

On February 9th 2018, in the frame of a joint Committee meeting at the Hellenic Parliament, the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Mr. Pierre MOSCOVICI addressed the members of the competent Committees on the “Plans for the future of Europe and the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union".

The Commissioner signaled the need for the “common home” to be consolidated and reformed, moving on to a new stage of the EMU, not crisis based, but based on joint aspirations and Member States’ accepting to share more responsibilities and to take more decisions jointly. What is key is that institutional structures facilitate and encourage decision-making in the general interest of the euro area achieving a new balance between the Commission and the Eurogroup, and accountability before the European Parliament.

He then outlined his view on EMU deepening and consolidation on basis of three principles: solidarity, democracy and sovereignty. He defined this as a “win-win” strategy, comprising the three aforementioned principles. More specifically:

- A sovereign Eurozone with own resources, means and tools to tackle crises. To this end, the Commission has proposed the creation of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) that shall result from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) evolution and take the form of an EU Institution, subject to control of the European Parliament and the citizens of Europe.

- EMU demonstrating solidarity: a two-speed or multi-speed Eurozone is unacceptable as ultimately challenging cohesion in Europe; this calls for shared responsibility, new convergence mechanisms and instruments, suggesting stability, encouraging investment, taking on the task of Eurozone budget or else, ambitious budgeting to the general interest of the euro area.

- EMU based on democracy, aspiring towards enhancing democratic accountability and transparency in decision-making, economic and social protection, presenting solution to problems and aspiring towards Eurozone transformation towards a better Europe for all.

Outlining his future vision for Greece he expressed his wish for a favorable Eurogroup decision on June 21 allowing Greece -upon successful completion of its third economic adjustment programme in August 2018- to be restored to normality, as a sovereign country of equal status with all Eurozone countries, enjoying the same full rights and obligations.

He also added that he is delivering a message of hope and a prospect of success, expressing his confidence in the power of Greece and the country’s capabilities to achieve a successful outcome, to create new and competitive job openings, to turn the page and bring an end to this period of hardship.

Referring to the post-programme period, he expressed his desire for a relation based on three pillars:

-First, establishment of an oversight mechanism for a country exiting Memoranda; as such Greece shall be sovereign and agree to respect its obligations and commitments

-Second, oversight shall be based on commitments designed by Greeks for Greeks, and not by the European partners, in other words a growth strategy including commitments regarding public finance, which will serve as a basis for working in common.

-Third, a series of measures to be established by Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Institutions, aiming at Greek debt relief.

Source: Hellenic Parliament

Lithuanian Committee on European Affairs: Commissioner Bulc says that success of Rail Baltica is “in your hands”

Members of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs had a meeting with Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, who was on her second visit to Lithuania. The European Commissioner brought the topical political issues pertaining to the EU transport policy before the Committee and answered the questions important to Lithuania.

While addressing the topic of the EU transport policy, Ms Bulc emphasised two objectives, namely increasing efficiency of the transport system, especially by adopting effective logistics solutions, and strengthening EU transport connections by using them for trade and services and by digitalising them and increasing investment.
The European Commissioner for Transport also stressed the importance of railways in reducing environmental pollution, road accidents, human costs and road congestion costs, as well as their significance in developing a common defence strategy and improving military mobility.

When addressing the matter of the Rail Baltica project, Commissioner Bulc emphasised its importance to both the participants of the project and the whole of Europe. Upon completion, the project will result in generating European added value, as it will connect Europe’s northern, eastern and southern regions thus opening up trade between those regions. The Rail Baltica project was referred to as an example of a new way of thinking, focusing on the European market and the benefits it could yield instead of setting our minds on the East.

In her reference to the funding of the Rail Baltica project, the European Commissioner mentioned that 85% of the total project costs were co-funded from the EU budget. When contributing to the funding, participants of the project have a possibility to make use of innovative financing instruments, such as the European Investment Fund and others. Non-compliance with the deadlines is not justified. The interests of all participants of the Baltic-Adriatic Transport Corridor, which Rail Baltica is part of, are important.

The European Commissioner also stressed the importance of participating countries in adopting decisions related to the route of the railway project, which is decided by the participants of the project themselves and transport needs. Ms Bulc said that the European Commission would review projects in spring; it was therefore time to submit proposals concerning the desired adjustments.

As far as the funding for the Rail Baltica project beyond 2020 was concerned, the Commissioner underlined that the EU wished to support the project; however, evidence of the project’s reliability, sustainability and political independence, which was a task at hand for the participants of the project, was crucial.

Rail Baltica, which was launched in 2004, is an EU railway transport project to link Poland, the Baltic States and Finland with a European standard gauge rail line, thus improving rail connection between Central and Eastern Europe and Germany. The participating countries of the project include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and, indirectly, Finland. The Rail Baltica line will link Helsinki, Tallinn, Pärnu, Riga, Panevėžys, Kaunas, Vilnius, and Warsaw.

Source: The Parliament of Lithuania
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