Procedure : 2017/2993(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : O-000089/2017

Texts tabled :

O-000089/2017 (B8-0613/2017)

Debates :

PV 13/12/2017 - 23
CRE 13/12/2017 - 23

Votes :

Texts adopted :

Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2017
Question for oral answer O-000089/2017
to the Council
Rule 128
Danuta Maria Hübner, on behalf of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs

 Subject: The European Parliament's right of inquiry
 Answer in plenary 

In the light of the work carried out by the last committees of inquiry (EMIS, PANA), it is clear that the current legal framework for the operation of committees of inquiry within the European Parliament (Decision 95/167/EC) is outdated, as stated in the Draft Recommendation and Draft Report of 22 November 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, and in Parliament’s recommendation and report of 4 April 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector.

Clearly, strong political will is needed to strengthen Parliament’s right of inquiry, a cornerstone of parliamentarianism and one of its essential powers, on the basis of Article 226 TFEU. Since the beginning of the legislature, the Parliament Rapporteur has always shown himself prepared to seek constructive solutions with the Council with a view to deploying all efforts to enable the three institutions to make progress on this important regulation. The Parliament Rapporteur on behalf of the AFCO Committee has tried repeatedly, with six different Council Presidencies, to start discussing and negotiating – in a spirit of compromise, dialogue and broad consensus – the political concerns raised by the Commission and the Council in order to obtain their consent as required by Article 226 TFEU. Unfortunately, and despite the adoption by the AFCO Committee of two Working Documents and one ‘non-paper’ document, in which the concerns have been addressed with political arguments and possible solutions that could serve as a basis for fresh negotiations between the three institutions, the process remained stalled.

After a number of years of this interinstitutional deadlock, it was finally agreed by the three institutions on 10 October 2016 that their respective legal services would meet to find possible common technical clarifications on the pending legal and institutional issues raised by the Council and the Commission. This common document should facilitate the drafting of a possible new wording and the launch of the official negotiations at political level. Unfortunately, and despite Parliament’s insistence, the final existing document remains stalled, which casts doubts as to the Commission’s and Council’s willingness and commitment to engage with Parliament with respect for the principle of loyal cooperation.

Can the Council explain the reasons for such a deadlock, and provide reassurances that it will be available to swiftly engage in a political dialogue with Parliament and the Commission with a view to reaching an understanding that would enable the procedure to be concluded and provide the appropriate legal framework for implementing Parliament’s right of inquiry?

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