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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Negotiations with Council and Commission on European Parliament's right of inquiry: legislative proposal (debate)

  Danuta Maria Hübner, author. – Mr President, the right of inquiry is a fundamental weapon for any modern parliament to make the executive accountable for their actions. If we think about mad cow disease, tax fraud on cigarettes, dieselgate or the Panama Papers, we understand that it is fundamental that Parliament has a solid and sharp power of inquiry. Ramón Jáuregui said that the Council and the Member States systematically refused to sit at the table and have a real discussion on the content of the European Parliament’s proposal. Their argument was that the proposal of the Parliament did not take into consideration their fundamental concerns. But this actually means ignoring the nature of the special legislative procedure established by Article 226 TFEU. This procedure implies that the institutions exchange views and search for a compromise acceptable for all of them. The Council demanded that the initial proposal of the European Parliament should already contain the text acceptable for the Council. This is not the way the consent procedure functions. How would the Council or the Commission react if the European Parliament refused even to discuss possible ways to reach an agreement on, let’s say, the MFF, using the pretext that it does not like the proposal of the Commission? Moreover, this attitude is not compatible with the principle of sincere cooperation between the institutions that we all should respect and cherish. At stake here is a fundamental question of respect for the prerogatives of the Parliament and for the institutional balance. It is fundamental that the Council and the Commission understand it. At the end of the day, we do not have an obligation to agree with each other, but we have the duty to try. Sadly, Member States have not lived up to their duty.

Last updated: 9 July 2019Legal notice