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# EU PRIORITIES 2017

EU Commission: A Union that delivers swifter and better results: Three Institutions sign Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2017

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Strasbourg, 13 December 2016

Today, President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, holder of the rotating Council Presidency, Robert Fico, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, signed the first ever Joint Declaration setting out the EU's objectives and priorities for the legislative process in 2017.

Building on the European Council's Strategic Guidelines and the 10 priorities the European Parliament gave the Juncker Commission a mandate to deliver, the Presidents of the three European Institutions agreed on a number of proposals they will give priority treatment to in the legislative process. This will ensure that the EU delivers concrete results for its citizens and addresses the most urgent challenges Europe faces today.

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today's Joint Declaration is a new milestone in the way the EU can deliver better and faster on our common challenges. It is the first time in EU history that the three European Institutions have agreed on a limited number of initiatives of major political importance that should be fast-tracked in the legislative process. We may be three different Institutions, but there is only one European project we work for, representing the interest of all EU citizens. What we have seen with the European Border and Coast Guard should become the new standard for delivering swift and meaningful solutions together. Where there is a will, there is a way in Europe."

In addition to the EU's commitment to the ongoing work on all legislative proposals already tabled, the Presidents of the three Institutions set out in the Joint Declaration six specific areas in which proposals should be fast-tracked. The Presidents of the Parliament, Council and Commission commit to streamlining the efforts of their Institutions to ensure swift legislative progress on these priority initiatives and, where possible, delivery before the end of 2017.

  1. Giving a new boost to jobs, growth and investment – through the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI 2.0), revamped Trade Defence Instruments, the Banking Union, the Capital Markets Union, and the improvement of waste management in the circular economy;
  2. Addressing the social dimension of the European Union – through the Youth Employment Initiative, improved social security coordination, the European Accessibility Act and the European Solidarity Corps;
  3. Better protecting the security of our citizens – through the Entry-Exit System, Smart Borders and the European Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS), the control of firearms, instruments to criminalise terrorism, money laundering and terrorist financing, and the European Criminal Records Information Systems (ECRIS);
  4. Reforming and developing our migration policy in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity – through the reform of the Common European Asylum System (including the Dublin mechanism), the Legal Migration package and the External Investment Plan to help to address the root causes of migration by enhancing investment and job creation in partner countries;
  5. Delivering on our commitment to implement a connected Digital Single market – through the EU telecoms and copyright reforms, the Union of the 700 MHz band, preventing unjustified geo-blocking, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and common data protection rules;
  6. Delivering on our objective of an ambitious Energy Union and a forward looking climate change policy - through the 2030 climate and energy framework, the Paris Agreement and the Clean Energy for all Europeans package.

In addition, the three Presidents highlight four fundamental issues which need particular attention and further progress in 2017: (i) commitment to common European values, the rule of law and fundamental rights; (ii) tackling tax fraud, evasion and avoidance; (iii) preserving the principle of free movement of workers; and (iv) contributing to stability, security and peace.

This joint effort of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission is part of a new shared commitment and is explicitly foreseen in paragraph 7 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law Making, enabling the Union to turn proposals into action and produce results where they are most needed. 

Next Steps

The three Institutions have agreed on a careful joint monitoring and tracking of progress when it comes to the implementation of the Joint Declaration, both at political and at senior officials' level. At political level, the implementation of the Joint Declaration will be monitored jointly and regularly through meetings of the Presidents of the three Institutions in March, July and November 2017. At the technical level, the implementation of the Joint Declaration will be monitored jointly and on a regular basis in the Interinstitutional Coordination Group, meeting at senior official level (as foreseen in point 50 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making).

To facilitate the monitoring and tracking of the follow-up to the Joint Declaration, a working document accompanying the Joint Declaration sets out in detail the initiatives which are to be fast-tracked in 2017.

Background

On 15 March 2016, the three European Institutions agreed on a new Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on Better Law-Making to improve the quality and the results of European legislation. The IIA on Better Law-Making is bringing changes across the full policy-making cycle, from consultations and impact assessment to adoption, implementation and evaluation of EU legislation. According to the new IIA, there must be joint agreements on the key topics that should be prioritised by the legislators, including simplification exercises for existing laws.

Each year, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission now discuss the EU's legislative priorities and agree common top priorities for the upcoming year. This allows the three Institutions to work more closely together to tackle the big challenges that lie ahead.

Today's Joint Declaration is a first enactment of this new approach to law making focused on delivering results. The Declaration is also in line with the Commission's 2017 Work Programme.

For More Information

Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2017

Working document to facilitate the monitoring and tracking of the follow-up to the Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2017

Schulz, Fico and Juncker sign pledge to make “substantial progress” on key proposals in 2017

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PLENARY SESSION - Institutions − 13-12-2016 - 16:16
 
The first-ever joint declaration to fast-track a set of EU priority proposals was signed by the presidents of the EU Parliament, Council and Commission on Tuesday. They pledge, on behalf of their institutions, to make “substantial progress” in key policy areas next year.

Global, economic, environmental and societal challenges put the European Union at “a critical junction”, the declaration says, and European citizens expect the EU to address these challenges efficiently. Parliament, the Council, and the Commission want to meet this expectation by giving “priority treatment in the legislative process” to 58 proposals that should “make a concrete difference”.

Click on the name of speaker to view statements (VOD).

Statement by President Martin Schulz (European Parliament)

Statements by Prime Minister Robert Fico (EU Council Presidency) and Jean-Claude Juncker (European Commission)

The fast-tracked initiatives are listed under six EU priorities for 2017:

  1. new boost to jobs, growth and investment (EFSI 2.0, trade defence instruments, EMU, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union),
  2. social dimension of the European Union (Youth Employment Initiative, social security coordination), 
    security of citizens (protecting EU external borders, firearms acquisition, money laundering and terrorism),
  3. migration policy reform, in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity (reform of the asylum system, addressing the root causes of migration),
  4. Digital Single Market (telecoms and copyright reforms, use of the 700 MHz band, geo-blocking, data protection rules), and
  5. Energy Union and climate change policy (follow-up to the Paris Agreement and the Clean Energy for all Europeans package).

Background

The institutions pledged to give priority treatment in the legislative process to a set of initiatives identified each year from 2016 on, based on the Commission’s work programme. This provision is part of an agreement signed in April 2016 by the three institutions and mirrors Article 17.1 of the Lisbon treaty. Almost all of 58 key proposals listed in 2017 Joint Declaration have already been presented by the Commission to the Parliament and the Council for adoption. An Inter-institutional Coordination Group has been set up to monitor the implementation of the agreement at the technical level. The three Presidents will monitor its implementation politically at the meetings scheduled for March 2017, July 2017, November 2017.
 

EU Council approves the EU's legislative priorities for 2017

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13/12/2016

On 13 December 2016, the Council approved the EU's legislative priorities for 2017 as agreed beforehand with the European Parliament and the Commission. This will help the three EU institutions to pool their efforts and to ensure substantial progress in fields where they are most needed. A joint declaration setting out the EU priorities will be signed by the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, the President of the Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker later the same day.

"This is the first time that the EU establishes a set of common legislative priorities for the following year. This will allow the EU institutions to work more closely together to tackle the significant challenges which lie ahead."

Miroslav Lajčák, Slovak Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and President of the Council

In 2017, the EU will give priority treatment to legislative initiatives in the following policy areas:

  • giving a new boost to jobs, growth and investment through strengthening the European fund for strategic investment, modernising trade defence instruments, improving waste management in a circular economy, making progress on the banking union and on the capital markets union
  • addressing the social dimension of the EU, in particular through enhancing the youth employment initiative, improving social security coordination, allowing easier access of accessible products and services to the market and creating a European solidarity corps
  • better protecting EU citizens' security, in particular through better protecting external borders (via an entry-exit system, smart border and a European travel information authorisation system), stronger rules on buying and possessing firearms, fighting terrorism, money laundering and terrorist financing and information exchange on third country nationals
  • reforming the EU's migration policy in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, notably through revising the EU's asylum rules and enhancing investments in third countries to address the root causes of migration
  • delivering on a digital single market, in particular through reforming the EU telecoms and copyright rules, allowing the use of the 700 MHz band for mobile services, preventing unjustified geo-blocking, revising the audiovisual media services directive and modernising the common data protection rules
  • building an energy union and a forward looking climate change policy, notably through the implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework, the follow-up to the Paris agreement and the clean energy for all Europeans package

The Council, Parliament and Commission agreed that progress is also needed in pursuing their commitment to common European values, in the fight against tax fraud, in the preservation of the principle of free movement and in the reinforcement of Europe's contribution to stability, security and peace.

Background

Agreeing top legislative priorities between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission is a first in EU history. It has been introduced by the better law-making agreement signed in April 2016.


 

Europe must aim higher in 2017, say S&Ds

The joint declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2017, signed in Strasbourg today by presidents Schulz and Juncker and Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico, represents a commitment by the EU institutions to work for better European solutions to the problems that people are worried about.

However, in the view of the S&D Group, several important elements which were in the European Parliament's strategic resolution of 6 July are missing in the joint declaration. The Socialists and Democrats will fight tooth and nail to ensure that decisive progress is achieved on these files in 2017.

S&D vice-president for economic and social affairs Maria João Rodrigues MEP said:

 "The European Parliament acts for the people and it is increasingly shaping the EU agenda. In July, we Socialists and Democrats led the European Parliament to adopt the first detailed post-Brexit roadmap for the EU, which clearly influenced the state of the union speech by President Juncker and the subsequently adopted Commission work programme for 2017.

 "The joint declaration signed today reflects many of our priorities, but nobody should think that this is the complete to-do list for 2017 and that we will give up on our other key demands.

 "The Socialists and Democrats in the Parliament and in the Council will keep pushing for swift steps to end tax avoidance, fix the eurozone, improve living and working conditions, and ensure that the EU budget has enough resources. If other political groups or certain member states oppose European solutions on these matters, they must say so openly and take full responsibility. We will fight to have these priorities in the EU roadmap to be adopted in Rome on 25 March."

S&D vice-president Enrique Guerrero Salom MEP added:

"The joint declaration mainly focuses on identifying priorities in ongoing legislative work. However, for the S&D Group it is clear that some legislative priorities are missing and key new initiatives should be added.

"We will insist that all the European institutions do more than this in 2017. In particular, we will put strong pressure on the Commission to come forward with an ambitious white paper on the future of the EU and the eurozone. We will also demand serious proposals for action on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

"Europe is the best answer to the economic, social, environmental, humanitarian and external challenges which we face today. But stronger ambition is needed in order to achieve real solutions. The S&Ds will not settle for a conservative agenda that leaves our key political priorities out.

Other issues the S&Ds insist must be included are:
  • faster progress towards fair taxation, including through the adoption of a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), building on the Commission's recently relaunched proposals;
  • an ambitious revision of the EU's multi-annual financial framework for 2014-20 to ensure that enough money is available to invest in Europe's sustainable growth, ensure security and deal with the migration challenge;
  • further steps towards repairing and completing the Economic and Monetary Union, including through creating a budgetary capacity for the eurozone and strengthening the European Stabilisation Mechanism;
  • a solid European Pillar of Social Rights to update the EU's social standards in light of new trends and to ensure decent economic and social prospects for everyone.

# THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council

We will meet on Thursday to discuss defence policy, migration as well as economic issues. This time, as agreed, we will start with the traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament at 12.30.

We will then continue over lunch. Prime Minister Fico will update us on the progress in implementing the previous European Council conclusions. We will then turn to migration, where we have made important steps forward, not least on our external borders, but there is still work to be done. We will review the progress on the internal and external strands, including the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement and the Partnership Framework, as well as on financial mechanisms to support origin, transit and host countries. Thereafter, we will discuss external affairs: a draft decision on the Association Agreement with Ukraine, so as to open the way for the ratification of the agreement; President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel will present the state of play as regards the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the situation in Syria. Finally, President Anastasiades will inform us about the Cyprus settlement negotiations.

The afternoon working session will start with defence policy, for which Europeans must take greater responsibility. Our aim is clear: to strengthen Europe's security in a challenging geopolitical environment, and to better protect our citizens. We need to give a strong, political impetus on key issues, in order to invest more and cooperate better amongst ourselves and with our partners. The onus lies with Member States, but the EU can and will support their efforts. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg will join us at the beginning of this session to exchange views on EU-NATO cooperation.

After the adoption of the conclusions on security and defence, we will turn to economic and social issues. We will review the proposed extension of the Investment Plan for Europe and the recent initiatives dedicated to youth, including on mobility, education and skills development. I have also asked the President of the European Central Bank to deliver a brief intervention and give us his views on the economic recovery and outlook. We should conclude our proceedings before dinner.

After the conclusion of the European Council, there will be an informal meeting over dinner of the EU27 leaders to discuss Brexit. The purpose is to agree on our internal organisation and procedures, and thus ensure that we are ready for the Brexit talks. I look forward to seeing you in Brussels.

Visit the website
 

# SLOVAK EU PRESIDENCY

Success in very difficult times - MEPs praise outgoing Slovak Council Presidency

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PLENARY SESSION Press release - Institutions − 13-12-2016 - 20:00
 
The outgoing Slovak Council Presidency was praised by many political group speakers on Tuesday for delivering tangible results in very difficult times. Launching the European Border and Coast Guard, adopting a jobs-and-growth focused EU budget for 2017, signing the EU-Canada trade deal and taking a step forward in modernising trade defence instruments were among those highlighted in the debate with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Some speakers nonetheless criticised the Presidency for pressing ahead with an “unreasonable” EU trade policy and called for more “social” Europe. Others stressed that EU agenda must no longer be hijacked by domestic political problems.

Several also criticised the Slovak government for not setting the Presidency-related financial fraud accusations straight and for not doing enough to help the EU member states facing the biggest migratory pressures.

You can watch the interventions of the different speakers by clicking on the links below:

Background

Slovakia took over the Council Presidency from the Netherlands in July and is to hand it over to Malta in January.

The first-ever Slovak Council Presidency aimed to focus its six-month mandate on achieving results in the areas of an economically strong Europe, a modern single market, sustainable migration and asylum policies, and a globally engaged Europe.
 

Video of a plenary debate - Review of the Slovak Council Presidency (debate) - Tuesday, 13 December 2016 - 15:21 - Strasbourg


 

# LAW ENFORCEMENT

EU Commission: Stepping up enforcement of EU law for the benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses

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Brussels, 13 December 2016

EU law: Commission steps up enforcement of EU law for the benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses

The Commission today sets out how it will step up its efforts on the application, implementation and enforcement of EU law for the benefit of all citizens, consumers and businesses. Common European rules matter in our daily lives – whether they increase food safety, improve air quality or make it easier and cheaper for SMEs to bid for public contracts.

However, rules are only as good as their practical application. Often, when issues come to the fore – think of car emission testing, water pollution or illegal landfills – the problem is not the lack of EU rules but rather the lack of their effective application by Member States. That is why we need a robust and efficient enforcement system with the following components: (a) making sure that Member States live up to their responsibility to respect and enforce the rules they themselves had jointly put in place; (b) focusing the Commission's enforcement on those cases where it makes a substantial difference, and stepping up financial sanctions for Member States when they fail to transpose directives on time; (c) raising citizens' and businesses' awareness of their rights.

Working with Member States

Member States have the primary responsibility for the complete and correct transposition, application and implementation of EU legislation. They also must give their citizens access to rapid and effective redress when the latters' rights under EU law are affected.

The Commission will continue helping Member States in their efforts in many different ways. For example, the Commission will set up high-level dialogues, networks and exchanges of best practice in partnership with national authorities and courts, and the European Network of Ombudsmen coordinated by the European Ombudsman. The Commission will also continue its focus on tackling potential breaches of EU law quickly and at an early stage.

Focus on cases that matterandstep up financial sanctions

This Commission promised to be "bigger and more ambitious on big things, and smaller and more modest on small things". Appling this promise to enforcement policy, the Commission's handling of infringements will become more strategic and more focused, giving priority to the most important breaches of EU law affecting the interests of citizens and businesses. The Commission will act firmly when infringements obstruct the pursuit of key EU policy objectives.

Another priority will be to investigate cases where Member States incorrectly transpose EU law into national law or fail to do so at all. Such failures deny citizens and businesses the rights and the benefits they enjoy under European law.

It is disappointing to see that the number of cases where Member States fail to transpose EU law on time has been rising recently. In order to incentivise earlier transposition and reduce the number of cases ending up before the Court of Justice of the EU, the Commission is proposing to align its approach in these cases with the one it applies already to other infringement cases entailing financial sanctions. In the future, when bringing a Member State before the Court of Justice of the EU for late transposition of EU legislation, the Commission will systematically request the Court to impose not only a periodic penalty payment, as is currently the case, but a lump sum as well.

Bringing benefits of EU law to citizens

Citizens and businesses contribute significantly to effective enforcement by reporting to the Commission shortcomings in the application of EU law by the Member States. The Commission values this essential role played by individual complainants in identifying wider problems with the enforcement of EU law. At the same time, citizens and businesses are also looking for simple, practical advice on their rights under EU law - and how to make use of them. When their rights are breached, it is important that they be guided towards easily finding and making use of the most appropriate problem-solving and redress mechanisms available at EU or national levels. Via the Single Digital Gateway, the Commission will provide a single access point for citizens and businesses to all Single Market-related information, including assistance, advice and problem-solving services.

For More Information

The approach set out in this Communication - "Better Results Through Better Application" [C(2016)8600] - will be applied as from the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ).

Anyone may file a complaint with the Commission free of charge against a Member State about any measure (law, regulation or administrative action), absence of measure or practice by a Member State which they consider incompatible with EU law.

# ANTITRUST

Antitrust: The Insurance Block Exemption Regulation expires on 31 March 2017

As foreseen in a sunset clause, the European Commission's Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) will lapse on 31 March 2017.

The IBER exempts certain types of co-operation between insurers from antitrust scrutiny under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), which prohibits anticompetitive business practices.

The exemptions relate to the exchange and/or aggregation of data in statistics and studies and to the joint insurance and/or reinsurance of risks in pools. This co-operation has the potential to improve the quality and price of insurance products but also carries the risk of reducing competition between participating insurers.

The Commission has regularly assessed whether there was a continued need to maintain the exemptions, with the last Report on IBER published in March 2016. In its 2010 review, the Commission already found that two out of four exemptions were no longer needed and did not prolong them.

The latest review concluded that the two remaining exemptions were no longer warranted because the Commission's Guidelines on horizontal cooperation published in 2011 already offer guidance on how to assess the conformity of joint compilations, tables and studies with the antitrust rules. Moreover, both the public consultation and a study showed that the exemption for pools in the IBER was less and less used in practice.

The expiry of the IBER does not mean that these forms of co-operation become unlawful under Article 101 TFEU. Rather, insurers, as all other companies doing business in the EU, will need to assess their co-operation in the market context to see whether it is in line with antitrust rules. Following the expiry, the Commission will continue to monitor developments in the market to evaluate how insurers adapt to the change.

More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the insurance section. 
 

Antitrust: EU Commission publishes seventh report on patent settlements in the pharma sector

The European Commission published today its seventh monitoring reporton pharmaceutical patent settlements. The report covers the 125 patent settlements concluded between originator and generic companies in the pharmaceutical sector in 2015. This number is higher than in 2014 (76) and is closer to the higher numbers seen in 2012 (183) and 2013 (146), and remains significantly higher than the average of 24 in the period between 2000 and 2008. The annual monitoring exercises since 2008 have shown that the Commission's enforcement activities in this area do not discourage companies from settling their patent disputes. The number of settlements that might attract competition law scrutiny has progressively decreased since the pharmaceutical sector inquiry in 2008 and has stabilized at a low level.More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the pharmaceuticals section. 
 

# STATE AID

EU Commission Answer - Monitoring Spain's compliance with European legislation: Water Framework Directive and repayment of state aid awarded to ADIF - E-007591/2016

Commission response
See question(s) : E-007591/2016 

Source : © European Union, 2016 - EP

VISIT WEBSITE
 

# MERGERS

EU Commission Answer - Merging of Monsanto and Bayer - E-007421/2016

Commission response
See question(s) : E-007421/2016 

Source : © European Union, 2016 - EP

VISIT WEBSITE
 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Computer Sciences Corporation by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Computer Sciences Corporation by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services, both of the United States. Computer Sciences Corporation is a provider of information technology services. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services provides technology consulting, information technology outsourcing and support services in traditional and enterprise services offerings. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the companies have very low combined market shares in the information technology software market segments where they are both active. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competitionwebsite, in the public case register under the case number M.8300
 

# TAXATION

Latest news - Next PANA Committee Meetings 

The next meetings of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) will take place on:
  • Tuesday, 24 January 2017 (9.00 - 12.30) in room József Antall (JAN) 6Q2, Brussels
  • Thursday, 26 January 2017 (9.00 - 12.30) - Joint meeting with ECON - Room tbc - Brussels
  • Thursday, 26 January 2017 (14.00 - 15.30) - Room tbc - Brussels
  • Tuesday, 31 January 2017 (9.30 - 11.15) - ECON/PANA joint meeting with National Parliaments, in room Paul-Henri Spaak (PHS) 3C050, Brussels

Further information Source : © European Union, 2016 - EP

VISIT WEBSITE
 

EP PANA Committee: Draft work programme of the upcoming activities - updated 13 December 2016


 

Presentations of the PANA meeting of 7 December 2016

Exchange of views with Pierre Moscovici, Member of the EuropeanCommission responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation andCustoms in the context of "Fight against tax evasion: state of play of progress made at EU level", and with Ashish Kumar, Policy Analyst at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Source : © European Union, 2016 - EP

VISIT WEBSITE
 

# BREXIT

UK Parliament: Brexit: acquired rights report published

Report urges unilateral guarantee safeguarding EU citizenship rights of UK-based EU nationals

VISIT WEBSITE

14 December 2016

The EU Justice Committee publishes its report on Brexit: acquired rights.

Key findings

The Justice Sub-Committee's report, Brexit: acquired rights, concerns EU citizenship rights. These are fundamental rights under EU law to live, work, study, and raise a family in an EU Member State of one’s own choosing.

There was much talk before the referendum that these rights would somehow be protected as "acquired rights". This was misleading. If the UK wants to preserve certain EU rights on withdrawal, it will have to ensure they are safeguarded in the withdrawal agreement.

The majority of the safeguarded rights are likely to be reciprocal with EU rights. The report recommends that a mechanism be established to ensure that UK law can take account of relevant developments in EU law, and, importantly, that EU law can take account of relevant developments in UK law. The report points to a precedent for this type of judicial cooperation.

  • If EU citizenship rights are not safeguarded the consequences will be severe: EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in other EU Member States could lose their right to live and work in their country of choice.
  • EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in other EU Member States are, unsurprisingly, deeply anxious about their futures. The Government should give a unilateral guarantee now that it will safeguard the EU citizenship rights of EU nationals in the UK when the UK withdraws from the EU. The overwhelming weight of the evidence the Sub-Committee received points to this as morally the right thing to do.
  • Failing this, there is a strong case for agreeing EU citizenship rights as a preliminary and separate element of the negotiations as soon as Article 50 is triggered.

The Sub-Committee received evidence suggesting that many EU nationals who have been in the UK for over five years - the minimum requirement for permanent resident under EU citizenship rules - may not be able to prove that they meet the criteria for permanent residence as an EU citizen. The report asks the Government to explain whether this consideration will influence the decision it makes on the cut-off point for deciding which EU nationals in the UK are given a permanent right to reside after Brexit.
 

Inquiry launched into Brexit and the EU budget - UK Parliament

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee launches its latest inquiry on Brexit: EU budget

VISIT WEBSITE
 

Implications of Brexit for cross-border policing and criminal justice - UK Parliament 

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee takes evidence from the Police Service of Northern Ireland

VISIT WEBSITE
 

# CORRUPTION

OECD and IBA join forces to develop practice guidance to equip lawyers in fight against corruption

Following on from the London Anti-Corruption Summit which took place in May 2016, the OECD and the International Bar Association (IBA) have agreed to form a task force to develop professional conduct standards and practice guidance for lawyers involved in establishing and advising on international commercial structures and recommended actions for governments. 
 
The principle motivation for forming the OECD-IBA Task Force on The Role of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures is to create a key component in the global fight against corruption. The release earlier this year of the so-called Panama Papers highlighted that, in completing legal transactions for their clients, lawyers may knowingly or unwittingly assist clients in asset concealment or money laundering. International standards, such as the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), provide a framework for conducting due diligence on customers and identifying the beneficial owner. 
 
However, countries’ implementation of these standards has been variable. Since the scandal, many governments have called for greater transparency of such transactions, sometimes requiring reporting by lawyers. At the same time, lawyers are mindful of their professional obligations of confidence to their clients. The Task Force will work to develop appropriate guidance with respect to forming international commercial structures, while ensuring that confidence in both the lawyers’ role and the core principles of the legal profession are preserved.
 
Nicola Bonucci, OECD Director for Legal Affairs, commented: ‘Lawyers play a key role in our societies and the best way to ensure that they can continue to fulfil such a role is to work together on the design of good professional standards which can be used by all lawyers irrespective of their countries of origin or operation. Mere formal respect of the law is a necessary but not always sufficient condition and experts from the OECD and from the IBA will confront their point of view and work together in order to ensure that these professional standards meet the expectations of the various stakeholders. This pioneering work will not substitute or conflict with existing international and national requirements and will complement other ongoing OECD work on the role of tax intermediaries.’
 
IBA President David W Rivkin commented: ‘It is undeniable that lawyers must play a central role in complex offshore financial transactions. To ensure that they do not unwittingly facilitate economic crime, it is imperative that lawyers ask the right questions of their clients, vet them sufficiently, understand who are to be the ultimate beneficiaries of their client’s actions, and have an understanding of sovereign laws. In practice, inevitably complications arise. For example, what are a law firm’s obligations when conflicting sovereign laws apply in cross-border transactions? Recent events have shown that existing international and professional standards may not provide sufficiently clear guidance to lawyers who handle such transactions. Recent actions also present the danger that in their anti-corruption activities, governments may ignore the need for lawyers to advise their clients in confidence. For this reason the IBA has partnered with the foremost inter-governmental organisation analysing and promoting economic policies, the OECD, to create appropriate standards while, at the same time, respect the fundamental rules applicable to the profession that are a key element of the rule of law. Each organisation will bring its relevant expertise to the project.’
 
The overall project will be led by Mr Bonucci and Mr Rivkin’s successor Martin Šolc, who begins a two-year tenure as President of the IBA on 1 January 2017. The composition of the Task Force will include lawyers and policy leaders from the IBA and the OECD, from common law and civil law jurisdictions, experienced in professional ethics, taxes, anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, financial services, trade and government affairs.
 
The Task Force will include consideration of concrete questions such as the following:
  • What is the legal profession’s role in combatting corruption, tax evasion money-laundering and terrorism financing taking into account relevant international standards professional duties of lawyers and the role that such duties play in preserving the rule of law?
  • What steps, if any, should lawyers take in the event that acts or transactions previously legal become illegal as a result of a change of law?
  • What should be the result when – notwithstanding the best efforts from the law firm – the client engages in activities that are legal in one jurisdiction but illegal in another?
  • What use, if any, may be made of illegally garnered information and what liability do lawyers have for inadvertent breach of client confidentiality?
  • What steps should governments take to provide transparency of such transactions while recognising legitimate attorney-client privilege and professional secrecy?
This latest collaboration builds on the existing OECD-IBA Memorandum of Understanding in which the parties agreed to work together on a number of areas including corporate social responsibility, competition, trade and investment, taxation, financial services and migration. Among other things the two organisations have agreed to: exchange information and participate in fact-finding missions; formulate new rules and guidance for international business and finance; publish joint reports; organise joint forums, workshops and seminars; and for the IBA to contribute to periodic reviews and updates of OECD instruments.
 

# POSTING OF WORKERS

EU Commission Answer - Status of posted workers - E-006003/2016

Commission response
See question(s) : E-006003/2016 

Source : © European Union, 2016 - EP

VISIT WEBSITE
 

# EP PRESIDENT

Antonio Tajani elected as EPP Group nominee for Parliament President

The EPP Group has today elected Antonio Tajani as its candidate for the post of President of the European Parliament.

“I am proud that we have designated our nominee after a democratic, open and transparent process,” said Manfred Weber MEP, EPP Group Chairman.

“I would like to thank Mairead McGuinness, Alain Lamassoure and Alojz Peterle wholeheartedly for participating in this primary and for keeping democracy alive. Our Group is now fully united behind our candidate. As the largest group in the European Parliament, we take our responsibility very seriously and want to make sure that Europe delivers. This is why we see no alternative to a cooperation between pro-European forces inside our House."

“With his experience, Antonio Tajani will be a bridge builder between the political forces inside our House and a strong voice outside.”

Antonio Tajani (63) has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1994. He was Vice-President of the European Commission from 2008 until 2014, first as Commissioner for Transport (2008-10), then as Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship (2010-14). He became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament in 2014 and has been Vice-President of the European People's Party since 2002.

EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber and EPP Group nominee  Antonio Tajani will hold a joint press conference on Wednesday 14 December at 10.30 hrs in the European Parliament. Watch the press conference here.
 

# TRANSPARENCY

Rules of procedure: Improving transparency at the European Parliament

Link

PLENARY SESSION  Parliament's Rules of Procedure − 13-12-2016 - 14:47
 

A wide-ranging overhaul of the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure was approved by 548 votes to 145, with 13 abstentions on Tuesday. Prepared by Richard Corbett (S&D, UK), the changes clarify today’s rules to improve transparency and efficiency. Racist and defamatory language and behaviour will not be tolerated.

MEPs’ declarations of financial interests are to be more detailed, regularly updated and checked. Former MEPs will required to inform Parliament when they take a new job as a lobbyist.  The Code of Conduct for MEPs is strengthened and includes an explicit ban on serving MEPs taking paid lobbying jobs.

Penalties will be stepped up for MEPs who use defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or whose behaviour compromises the smooth conduct of parliamentary business (Rule 165). The penalties currently listed in Rule 166 are increased for serious breaches.

More transparent legislative work

To improve transparency, any negotiations between MEPs and the Council with a view to striking a first-reading agreement will need a mandate from the full House, and not just the relevant committee. (Rule 73 a).

Organisation of plenary and committee work

Each political group will be able to put one or two current affairs on the plenary agenda, (Rule 153 a). These debates should last at least an hour and concern a topic of major interest for European Union policy.

MEPs will no longer be formally appointed to committee posts such as chair or vice-chair by a plenary vote. Instead, in the next legislature they will be appointed by political groups, according to the number of seats to which they are entitled.

Improving the efficiency of parliamentary work

The overhaul includes changes needed to implement the inter-institutional agreement on better law-making. It provides inter alia possibilities for the President to negotiate the annual joint declaration on legislative priorities, and a committee to fast-track a legislative procedure.  It also creates an obligation for the EU Commission to debate any proposed withdrawal of its proposals before proceeding with it.

MEPs also adapted the Rules to improve the efficiency of parliamentary work. These limit the numbers of written questions, motions for resolutions and requests for roll-call votes

Finally, the overhaul rationalises the number of voting thresholds, reducing them from 37 today to three, a change that could be revised after a year.

Entry into force

Under Rule 227, the approved changes will enter into force on the first day of the part-session following their adoption, i.e. 16 January 2017. They will therefore govern the way Parliament works in the second half of the legislature.

For further information, please refer to the Background Note

Updated: (13-12-2016 - 17:18)
 
Who's involved: EP Rules of Procedure: general revision
 
1/5
Richard Corbett
S&D
Rapporteur
AFCOConstitutional Affairs
 
 
Jean Arthuis
ALDE
Rapporteur for opinion
BUDGBudgets
 
 
Ingeborg Gräßle
EPP
Rapporteur for opinion
CONTBudgetary Control
 
 
Giovanni La Via
EPP
Rapporteur for opinion
ENVIEnvironment, Public Health and Food Safety
 
 
Pavel Svoboda
EPP
Rapporteur for opinion
JURILegal Affairs
 
Further information

EU Parliament’s Rules of Procedure: what will change

Link

Parliament's Rules of Procedure − 13-12-2016 - 14:41

A wide-ranging overhaul of Parliament’s rule of procedure, prepared by Richard Corbett (S&D, UK), was approved by the plenary on Tuesday 13 December. The key features of the reform are enhanced transparency within Parliament and changes in the organisation of plenary sessions.

It also includes measures to improve efficiency, enable groups to propose current affairs debates, tougher penalties for racist and defamatory language or behaviour, and provisions for implementing the 13 April 2016 inter-institutional agreement on better law-making.

Under Rule 227, the approved amendments will enter into force on the first day of the part-session following their adoption, i.e. on 16 January 2017.

Improving transparency- First reading agreements between Parliament and the Council (Rule 73 a)

First-reading agreements will remain possible. A committee will still be able to decide by an absolute majority to begin negotiations with the other institutions, but such a decision shall be announced in plenary session and:

  • if groups or at least one-tenth of Members object, a confirmation vote shall be held in plenary session;
  • failing majority confirmation in plenary session, the report shall be entered on the agenda of the next plenary part-session, with a deadline for amendments.

Code of Conduct update

This includes:
  • enabling rapporteurs to attach a ‘legislative footprint’’ to their reports,
  • a ban on Members taking up paid positions as lobbyists (Annex I, Rule 2),
  • more detailed statements of Members’ financial interests, to be regularly updated and checked (Annex I, Rule 2),
  • an obligation for former Members to inform Parliament when they take a new job as a lobbyist (Annex I, Rule 6),
  • withdrawing the access rights of registered lobbyists who breach the rules (Rule 11), and
  • a recommendation that the only lobbyists that Members meet should be those who are registered in the Transparency Register (Rule 11 1a new).

New penalties and plenary session organisation

Penalties against Members who use defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behaviour, or compromise the smooth conduct of parliamentary business, will be strengthened in serious cases (ranging from a reprimand to forfeiting the daily allowance for 2 to 30 days and/or exclusion from Parliament’s work, without prejudice to voting rights. These sanctions would be doubled in the event of a recurrence (currently 1 to 10 days), and would include forfeiting the right to represent Parliament externally).

Political groups will be able to add one or two current affairs debates (Rule 53 a) of at least an hour each on a topic of major interest for European Union policy in each part session.


Composition of committees

When forming committees (Rule 199), Members will no longer be formally appointed to the committee posts by plenary, but by political groups, according to the number of seats to which they are entitled (the more Members a group has, the more committee seats it will have). As a result, if a member leaves a group, his or her committee seat will remain with the group. This provision will take effect only in the next legislature.


Implementing the inter-institutional agreement on better law-making

The overhaul includes changes needed to implement this agreement. It creates, inter alia:
  • a possibility for the President to negotiate the annual joint declaration on legislative priorities with the Commission and the Council (Rule 37 1a),
  • a possibility for a committee to fast-track a legislative procedure if it is declared a priority by the three institutions (Rule 47a);
  • an obligation for the Commission to debate any proposed withdrawal of its proposals with the competent committee, then, failing an agreement, in plenary session before proceeding with the withdrawal (Rule 37 4a).

Improving efficiency

New limits
 
Each member may submit up to 20 written questions over a rolling period of three months (Rule 130 – instead of 5+4 per month maximum). The number of motions for resolution tabled will be limited to one per member per month (Rule 133). Written declarations (old Rule 136) will be abolished. Each group will be limited to 100 requests per session for roll-call votes. (Rule 180).


Rationalised voting thresholds

The Rules of Procedure used to stipulate up to 37 thresholds by type of procedure. The overhaul rationalises most of them into three sizes (Rule 168a), but would allow them to be revised after a year:
  • low threshold: a group or individual Members together representing a twentieth of all Members,
  • medium threshold: one or more groups or individual Members together representing a tenth of all Members, and
  • high threshold: one or more groups or individual Members together representing a fifth of all Members.

“The European Parliament will become more transparent and efficient” say S&Ds

After 18 months of intense discussions, British Labour MEP Richard Corbett led a cross-party majority today in Strasbourg on a set of reforms to improve democracy, transparency and efficiency in the work of the European Parliament. The revision of the European Parliament’s rules of procedure includes among other things more transparency and greater safeguards in first-reading agreements, a ban on MEPs having second paid jobs as lobbyists, and strengthened sanctions for anyone making defamatory or xenophobic statements in plenary. The new rules will be implemented as of January 2017.
 
S&D MEP Richard Corbett said after the vote:
 
”Today’s vote ends almost two years of hard work to improve the functioning of the European Parliament. Our institution will be more democratic, more transparent and much more efficient. This is indeed a balance and reasonable reform. This new step forward will rationalise the work of the European Parliament and will benefit the European citizens.
 
"For instance, the plenary will have a say on authorising - or not - the opening of negotiations with other institutions in view of reaching first-reading agreements. In 2014, 137 out of 148 legislative texts were approved at first reading. This can now be checked by plenary before embarking on such a procedure.
 
"We are taking several steps forward on transparency.  MEPs will be banned from taking a paid lobbying job during their mandate. After they step down, their privileges as ex-MEPs – such as having free access to the Parliament – will be denied if they become lobbyists after their mandate. Rapporteurs will be able to list the people they have met while writing their report.  More progress is expected in the months to come on those aspects that need agreement with the other institutions.
 
"The Parliament will also be more efficient. We are limiting the number of written questions, which had reached the excessive and ineffective level of 60,000 per year. We are reducing the number of motions for resolution to one per month per member and the roll-call votes in plenary will be limited to 100 per group and per session in order to reduce the excessive length of some of the voting sessions.
 
"It has become a necessity to rationalise our work and internal procedures. We have reduced to three the number of thresholds which are needed to take action.
 
"I am also pleased that the Parliament reached an agreement to strengthen sanctions against MEPs making inappropriate statements or attempting to disrupt parliamentary activity. In cases of severe misconduct, an MEP could be banned from representing the Parliament externally (in external delegations, inter-institutional meetings, etc for instance) for up to a year. "

 

ALDE: A more transparent Parliament, hate speech banned from the Chamber

The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, today amended its rules of procedure in order to make its operation more transparent and to counter disruptive parliamentary practices whose sole purpose is to sabotage parliamentary work. "We have been working on this overhaul of which we can be proud for more than two years," said Charles Goerens (Democratic Party, Luxembourg), spokesman for ALDE on this issue in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

The main novelty of the revision of the Regulation is a strengthening of the sanctions that can be imposed on a Member of Parliament in the event of non-compliance with the rules of conduct. These can now vary from a confiscation of daily allowances of 2 to 30 days instead of a maximum of 10 days and a temporary suspension of participation in Parliament's activities other than the right to vote in plenary from 2 to 30 days. In addition, the Member concerned may be prohibited from representing Parliament in interparliamentary delegations or conferences and international fora for up to one year. In the most serious cases, the President may even go so far as to withdraw one or more posts held by the Member concerned. 

"More and more, we are witnessing aberrant and intolerable situations within our institution, and we must give the President the means to face them. The President may now decide to delete from the audiovisual recording those parts of a speech which contain defamatory, racist or xenophobic remarks so that their author can no longer take advantage of them on social networks, said Charles Goerens. "

This recasting of the rules of procedure now prohibits any paid lobbyist work for Members of Parliament, while former Members of Parliament must register for such activity. Expressions of interest will be verified throughout the term of office. Legislative work is made more transparent through a framework of so-called first reading agreements whereby a parliamentary committee seals a compromise with the Council and the Commission without going back to plenary. This latter must now be informed and, failing a majority to support the Committee in its approach, the report will continue the legislative procedure until second reading.

 

GUE/NGL: Approved Rules of Procedure a threat to Parliament’s democratic rights

Strasbourg 13/12/2016
 
GUE/NGL MEPs have spoken out against the adoption of the ‘Revision of the Rules of Procedure at the European Parliament today over what they regard as undemocratic and unconstitutional proposals.
 
This came during a full debate on the report which had been requested by GUE/NGL just prior to Tuesday’s vote.
 
Such is the far-reaching consequence of the proposals, what had been billed as a reworking of the Parliament’s constitution is in effect another way for the big political groups to shut out their smaller rivals. It also limits MEPs’ individual roles and rights at the EU’s only directly-elected body.
 
Speaking at the plenary, German MEP and GUE/NGL shadow on the Corbett report, Helmut Scholz, was adamant this new code of conduct is counterproductive and undemocratic:
 
“After two years of work by the working group, we’ve come up with over 1400 amendments but this is simply being waived through without discussion.”
 
“Despite the openness of the working process, it is still unsatisfactory because all of it was overshadowed by a power struggle between the larger and smaller groups.”
 
“The Rules of Procedure are a constitution in all but name for our house. It sets out the framework for our work and duty as parliamentarians, just as our founding fathers had desired to create a platform for democracy - not limit it,” said Scholz.
 
“Furthermore, if efficiency is our primary objectives for internal rules then this will be counterproductive,” he added.
 
Italian MEP and GUE/NGL candidate for next month’s presidential election at the European Parliament, Eleonora Forenza, was equally concerned by the new rules:
 
“With limits on MEPs’ individual rights and also on how we scrutinise the legislative process, it creates new obstacles to smaller political groups like ours.”
 
“We should always protect the freedom of those who think differently - and this Parliament hasn’t learned the lessons from the recent Italian referendum.”
 
“We need more - not less - democracy. We need to throw open the windows of this Parliament and hear the call from our citizens. Limiting the time for debate obviously means doing the exact opposite of that,” she argued.
 
For Portuguese MEP João Ferreira, these new proposals are akin to a coup by the big political groups:
 
“What’s been cooked up over the last two years on how this Parliament is going to work is basically a kind of coup.”
 
“It’s going to seriously restrict the ability for MEPs or smaller groups to take the initiative. It’s going to concentrate even more powers in the hands of the big political groups.”
 
“We’re are not just talking about limiting the number of questions MEPs can ask but also the number of resolutions we can table, ability to act in committees and written declarations.”
 
“This so-called fast-tracked legislative procedure will also restrict MEPs’ abilities to intervene and our rights to scrutinise the work-in-progress.”
 
“Less democracy, less pluralism - that’s what the big groups are seeking to impose,” he argued.
 

EU Abgeordneter Giegold (Grüne/EFA) zu EP-Verhaltensregeln: EU-Parlament stärkt seine Effizienz und Integrität, aber Konservative blockieren Lobbytransparenz

Link

Heute hat das Europäische Parlament seine Geschäftsordnung überarbeitet, die seine tägliche Arbeit und Ethik-Standards für MdEPs regelt (“Corbett-Bericht”). Die Diskussionen konzentrierten sich auf Minderheitenrechte im Parlament, Lobbytransparenz und strengere Integritätsregeln.

Die Grünen hatten einen “Grünen Plan für Transparenz und Integrität im Europäischen Parlament” präsentiert, der aus 46 Änderungsanträgen an die Geschäftsordnung besteht, um Interessenkonflikte zu vermeiden und Transparenz zu stärken. Viele Fortschritte wurden von Konservativen (CDU/CSU bzw. EVP) und Liberalen (ALDE) im Verfassungsausschuss allerdings blockiert. Die wichtigsten davon wurden von mehr als 100 MdEPs aus 5 Fraktionen neu in die heutige Plenumsabstimmung eingebracht.

Im September 2016 hatten Konservative (CDU/CSU bzw. EVP), Sozialdemokraten und Liberale die Abstimmung des fertig vorbereiteten Giegold-Berichts über “Transparenz, Rechenschaftspflicht und Integrität in den EU-Institutionen” verhindert. Damit wurde der Corbett-Bericht der Ort der Entscheidung wie transparent das Parlament sein soll. Heute, kurz vor Beginn der Abstimmung, begann das Team aus VerhandlungsführerInnen und Repräsentanten aller Fraktionen die Arbeit an einer Parlamentsposition für das Update des Transparenzregisters für Lobbyisten bei dem Sven Giegold die Grünen vertritt.

Sven Giegold, Berichterstatter für Transparenz, Rechenschaftspflicht und Integrität in den EU Institutionen sowie Sprecher der deutschen Grünen im Europaparlament kommentiert die Abstimmung:

Es ist ein großer Erfolg, dass EU-Abgeordnete zukünftig nur noch registrierte Lobbyisten treffen dürfen. Transparenz beim Lobbyismus ist eine wichtige Maßnahme, um das Vertrauen der Bürger in das EU-Parlament zu stärken. Für Lobbyisten gilt: keine Registrierung, kein Treffen mit Abgeordneten. Unregistrierte Lobbyisten müssen nun aus ihren dunklen Löchern kommen.

Viele der neuen Regeln stärken die Handlungsfähigkeit des EU-Parlaments und schützen es vor Blockaden. Angemessene Quoten für parlamentarische Fragen, Stellungnahmen zu Abstimmungen und namentliche Abstimmungen sind sinnvoll, um Missbrauch zu vermeiden. Auch im Europaparlament soll es wie im Bundestag in Zukunft kleine und große Anfragen geben.

Das Europaparlament kann nur stark sein, wenn wir Abgeordnete transparent und frei von Interessenkonflikten arbeiten. Das Verbot von Nebenjobs als Lobbyist ist ein wichtiger Erfolg, den wir gegen den Widerstand der Konservativen durchgesetzt haben. Dass neue EU-Kommissare sich härtere Tests vor Amtsantritt stellen müssen, ist die richtige Antwort auf die jüngsten Skandale von Oettinger, Barroso, Kroes und Canete. In Sache Oettinger spielt die Große Koalition eine unrühmliche Rolle: Konservative und Sozialdemokraten machen sich zum Fluchthelfer von Oettinger, indem sie seine Anhörung eine Woche vor dem Inkrafttreten der neuen Regeln angesetzt haben.

Konservative und Liberale schwächen unsere demokratische Legitimität mit ihrer Blockade eines besseren Verhaltenskodex. Abgeordnete, die den Verhaltenskodex verletzen, können weiterhin hoffen sanktionsfrei zu bleiben. Viele von uns Abgeordneten wollten strengere Regeln für Nebentätigkeiten. Sogar Berichterstatter und Ausschussvorsitzende sind immer noch nicht verpflichtet, ihre Lobbytreffen und schriftliche Eingaben von Lobbyisten transparent zu machen. Trilog-Verhandlungen bleiben weitgehend intransparent. Unsere Arbeit für mehr Transparenz und Integrität in den europäischen Institutionen wird weitergehen.

Green plan for transparency and integrity
 
Result after plenary vote in the new Rules of procedure
Mandatory lobby transparency for MEPs: No registration, no meeting
 
Progress : 
  • MEPs voted to adopt the systematic practice of meeting only with registered lobbyists
Legislative footprint: showing who the lobby is
 
No progress :
  • Whether MEPs compile a legislative footprint to show who lobbied them on their reports remains purely voluntary. Better rules will depend on the negotiations of the new interinstitutional agreement on the Transparency Register between Parliament, Commission and Council.
  • Shadow rapporteurs will not be required to be free of conflicts of interest.
Cooling off period for MEPs: close the revolving door No progress : 
  • Cooling off: MEPs can still take lobby jobs directly after their mandate. A minimalist obligation to notify the Parliament will remain without effect because no one is called to check notifications on conflicts of interest.
Closing lobby loopholes Strong progress:
  • Lobbyists who refuse to accept invitations to hearings before the European Parliament lose their entrance badges. And lobbyists will not be able to get EP entrance badges that disguise them as the entourage of an MEP.
  • More transparency about who finances EU Parliament’s intergroups, formalised lobby meetings between MEPs and organised interest representatives.
Integrity with teeth: fixing Parliament’s advisory committee to the code of conduct for MEPs Some progress :
Win : 
  • Allegations of conflicts of interest of MEPs have to be forwarded by the Parliament’s President to the Advisory Committee if they are not manifestly vexatious. The President therefore has no room anymore to block such investigations.
Loss :
  • If the Advisory Committee finds that MEPs violated the code of conduct with a conflict of interest and recommends sanctions, the Parliament’s President can still block the application as he did with all sanctions recommended to him so far. Furthermore, the Advisory Committee remains composed only of MEPs, no external experts will balance the de facto conflict of interest of MEPs who investigate into the conduct of colleagues.
Loss : 
  • The Advisory Committee is not called to better define what constitutes a conflict of interest.
No financial ties between MEPs and lobbyists Some progress :
Win : 
  • The ban on lobby side jobs of MEPs is toughened by explicitly ruling out paid lobby work for MEPs.
Loss : 
  • No clarification that payments for speeches, articles or extra functions of MEPs should be included in the ban on MEPs taking money for their political decisions.
Loss : 
  • MEPs still only have to declare publicly income but not property and debt as Parliamentarians are required in France, Croatia and other countries.
Reconnecting to citizens: Transparency has to be understandable No progress : 
  • MEPs just declaring to work as “consultant” or “lawyer” can continue to hide their their clients who they lobby for.
Trilogue transparency: shedding light onto how legislation is negotiated Some progress :
Win : 
  • The results of trialogue meetings have to be made public in writing, not just in a minimalist and oral version in Committee.
Loss : 
  • Despite some progress on reporting about trilogue results, most documents in trilogues will still be treated differently from other legislative documents and usually kept secret.
Strengthening minority rights as guardian of Transparency No progress: 
  • Big groups can still veto inquiry committees or their proposed mandate when such a request passes through the Conference of Group Presidents before it has to be voted in plenary. The inquiry committee on the Luxembourg Leaks, for example, was blocked by the Conference of Presidents this way.
Strengthening Parliament: getting serious by following up on decisions No progress : 
  • How Commission and others follow up on Parliament’s recommendations will not be listed by Parliament. Therefore, there will be no new pressure to take Parliament’s recommendations seriously.
Integrity for new Commissioners* Strong progress : 
  • Candidates for the post as Commissioner can proceed in their hearings only when cleared by the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of any conflict of interest. The same rule applies for Commissioners once they are in office, should there be a change in their portfolio or changes in their financial interests.

Tabelle als .pdf-Datei: www.sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-12-13_Table.pdf

Grüner Plan für Transparenz und Integrität im Europaparlament: www.sven-giegold.de/2016/gruener-plan-fuer-transparenz-und-integritaet-im-europaparlament/
 

LobbyControl: Ethik-Reform des EU-Parlaments fehlt es an Biss

Brüssel, 13. Dezember – Das EU-Parlament hat heute in Straßburg über eine Reform seiner Verhaltensregeln abgestimmt. Dem Ergebnis fehlt es an Biss. Nach einem Jahr Debatte sind von dem ursprünglich ambitionierten Vorschlag nur wenige Verbesserungen übrig geblieben.

Noch gestern Abend hatte EU-Parlamentspräsident Martin Schulz einen Änderungsantrag für eine Karenzzeit für Abgeordnete von der Tagesordnung genommen. Der Antrag sah vor, dass Abgeordnete keine bezahlten Lobbytätigkeiten übernehmen sollen, während sie Übergangsgelder erhalten. Für EU-Kommissare gilt eine derartige Regelung bereits. Das EU-Parlament fordert, sie noch zu verschärfen. Schulz hatte erklärt, die Geschäftsordnung sollte nicht genutzt werden, um das Leben ehemaliger Mitglieder des Parlaments zu regulieren.

Nina Katzemich, EU-Campaignerin bei LobbyControl, erklärt dazu: „Es ist in Ordnung, dass Abgeordnete nicht den gleichen Regeln für Interessenkonflikte unterworfen werden wie EU-Kommissare. Als Präsident des Parlaments aber in einem Handstreich einen sowieso schon sehr weichen Vorschlag für eine Karenzzeit aus der Debatte zu nehmen, bevor die Abgeordneten selbst darüber entscheiden können, spricht Bände. Martin Schulz hat sich als Präsident weder um die Klärung von Interessenkonflikten „seiner“ Abgeordneten verdient gemacht, noch Lobbyismus ausreichend bekämpft. Damit tut er der EU keinen Gefallen.“

Das Parlament stimmte trotz Gegenstimmen aus der Europäischen Volkspartei dafür, bezahlte Lobbytätigkeiten neben dem Mandat zu verbieten. „Die Regelung von Lobbytätigkeiten ist zu begrüßen. Nun steht endlich fest, dass es bestimmte Nebentätigkeiten für Abgeordnete gibt, die nicht mit dem Mandat vereinbar sind. Allerdings wird es dem oder der zukünftigen Parlamentspräsident/in überlassen bleiben, zu entscheiden, was genau eine solche Tätigkeit ist,“ erklärt Katzemich. „Fragwürdige Nebentätigkeiten wie die von Frau Reding für die Bertelsmann-Stiftung oder die Anwaltstätigkeit von Frau Niebler werden wahrscheinlich davon unberührt bleiben.“

Überraschend hat zudem das EU-Parlament dem Änderungsantrag zugestimmt, dass Abgeordnete sich nur noch mit registrierten Lobbyisten treffen sollten. „Das ist ein wichtiger Schritt zu mehr Lobbytransparenz in Brüssel. Nur wer sich ins Lobbyregister einträgt, darf zukünftig noch EU-Abgeordnete treffen. Das gilt natürlich nur für professionelle Lobbyisten, nicht für Bürgerinnen und Bürger aus dem Wahlkreis."

Alle anderen Vorschläge für bessere Verhaltensregeln und mehr Transparenz, die seit Anfang des Jahres diskutiert worden sind – wie ein verpflichtender legislativer Fußabdruck oder mehr Transparenz über die Triloge – sind vom Tisch.
 

Latest entries into the EU Transparency Register

On 13/12/2016, there are 10756 registrants in the register.
 

# EU REGISTERS

## EU COMMISSION

### SG - SECRETARIAT GENERAL

C(2016)8428/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Internal Guidelines FOLLOW-UP TO THE COMMUNICATION "BETTER RESULTS THROUGH BETTER APPLICATION"

Document request
C(2016)8369/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Assembleia da República (PT) - COM(2016) 411 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8333/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Camera Deputaților (RO) - COM(2016) 234 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8325/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Bundesrat (AT) - COM(2016) 378 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8324/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Senát (CZ) - COM(2016) 378 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8230/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Assembleia da República (PT) - COM(2016) 442 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8219/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Camera Deputaților (RO) - COM(2016) 450 final

PDF (English)
PDF (other languages)
C(2016)8100/- SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Camera dei Deputati (IT) - COM(2016) 178 final

Document request
C(2016)8099/- SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Camera Deputaților (RO) - COM(2016) 178 final

Document request
C(2016)7901/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Commission Decision regarding the follow-up to National Parliaments' Opinions - reply to the Narodno Sabranie (BG) - COM(2016) 378 final

PDF (English)
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SEC(2016)543/1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Note journalière des décisions prises par procédure de délégation le 12 décembre 2016

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SEC(2016)542/2 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Note journalière des décisions prises par procédure d'habilitation le 13 décembre 2016

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SEC(2016)542/1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Note journalière des décisions prises par procédure d'habilitation le 12 décembre 2016

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SEC(2016)541/2 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Note journalière des décisions prises par procédure écrite le 13 décembre 2016

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SEC(2016)525/2 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • OJ 2193 - Procédures écrites à signaler spécialement - période d’échéance du 12 au 16 décembre 2016

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OJ(2016)2193/F2 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Ordre du jour de la 2193ème réunion de la Commission (Strasbourg, 13/12/2016)

Date of Meeting: 13/12/2016
 
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OJ(2016)2193/F1 SG (Secretariat-General) 13/12/2016
  • Ordre du jour de la 2193ème réunion de la Commission (Strasbourg, 13/12/2016)

Date of Meeting: 13/12/2016
 
PDF (French)

### DG COMP

C(2016)8605/F1 COMP (DG Competition) 13/12/2016
  • Décision de la Commission en vertu des articles 107 et 108 du TFUE

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C(2016)8604/F1 COMP (DG Competition) 13/12/2016
  • Décision de la Commission en vertu des articles 107 et 108 du TFUE

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C(2016)8589/F1 COMP (DG Competition) 13/12/2016
  • Décision de la Commission en vertu des articles 107 et 108 du TFUE

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C(2016)8498/F1 COMP (DG Competition) 13/12/2016
  • Décision de la Commission en vertu des articles 107 et 108 du TFUE

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C(2016)8228/F1 COMP (DG Competition) 13/12/2016
  • Décision de la Commission en vertu des articles 107 et 108 du TFUE

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