54

result(s)

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Policy area
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Provisions governing the activity of high political office-holders in election or selection processes: A comparative analysis of the provisions and practices in the EU, its Member States and selected international organisations

16-02-2017

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of ...

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of public resources by high political office-holders in electoral/selection processes at EU, international and EU Member State level. An initial version of this study was delivered to the Members of the Committee on Budgetary Control in October 2016. This revised version incorporates some minor changes following final verifications. Nonetheless, the information in this study does not reflect any further possible recent changes in any individual Member State.

The State of the Union debate in the European Parliament, 2016

09-09-2016

The 2016 State of the Union debate in the European Parliament comes at a time of severe challenges for the European Union, ranging from the refugee and migration crisis and the situation in Turkey and Ukraine, to the uncertainties following the UK referendum on leaving the EU, the economic difficulties persisting in many Member States, and more general questions on the future path of the EU. The State of the Union speech by the President of the European Commission constitutes an important instrument ...

The 2016 State of the Union debate in the European Parliament comes at a time of severe challenges for the European Union, ranging from the refugee and migration crisis and the situation in Turkey and Ukraine, to the uncertainties following the UK referendum on leaving the EU, the economic difficulties persisting in many Member States, and more general questions on the future path of the EU. The State of the Union speech by the President of the European Commission constitutes an important instrument for ex-ante accountability vis-à-vis Parliament but it is also aimed at rendering the definition of priorities at EU level more transparent and at communicating those priorities to citizens. It resembles similar speeches in national democracies. The United States for instance has a long-standing tradition of presidential State of the Union addresses, in which the President speaks in the Capitol to a joint session of Congress, thus fulfilling his constitutional obligation. In contrast to the US Constitution, the EU Treaties do not prescribe the State of the Union address, which was instigated with the 2010 Framework agreement between Parliament and the Commission. José Manuel Barroso gave four State of the Union speeches from 2010 to 2013, marked mainly by the economic and financial crisis. Last year’s speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker took place in a wider context of political agenda-setting that started with the Spitzenkandidaten process in the run-up to the 2014 European elections, the election of the Commission President and the adoption of the 2015 Commission Work Programme. The 2016 debate marks in contrast the second year of the Juncker Commission, with President Juncker’s ten priorities, around which the Commission organises its work, increasingly being the basis on which the delivery of the Commission is examined. This briefing updates an earlier one, from September 2015. See also our briefing from then on 'The US President's State of the Union Address'.

Public expectations and EU policies - Identifying the gaps

30-06-2016

Citizens’ expectations of the European Union vary widely across policy areas. A Eurobarometer survey – Europeans in 2016: Perceptions and expectations, fight against terrorism and radicalisation – seeks to identify those areas in which EU citizens want to see the Union doing more. Having identified areas in which there is a gap between the EU’s current action and citizens’ expectations of the Union, the next step is to look at the potential – within the constraints of the EU legal foundations – for ...

Citizens’ expectations of the European Union vary widely across policy areas. A Eurobarometer survey – Europeans in 2016: Perceptions and expectations, fight against terrorism and radicalisation – seeks to identify those areas in which EU citizens want to see the Union doing more. Having identified areas in which there is a gap between the EU’s current action and citizens’ expectations of the Union, the next step is to look at the potential – within the constraints of the EU legal foundations – for the EU to do more to meet citizens’ expectations.

UK withdrawal from the EU – Next steps

28-06-2016

The referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union resulted in 51.9% of those voting (on a 71.8% turn-out) supporting withdrawal from the Union. Although, formally speaking, the referendum was consultative, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his government had indicated clearly in advance that the outcome would be considered binding. In announcing his resignation, Cameron said that the UK would activate the procedure ...

The referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June on the question of whether to remain in, or leave, the European Union resulted in 51.9% of those voting (on a 71.8% turn-out) supporting withdrawal from the Union. Although, formally speaking, the referendum was consultative, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his government had indicated clearly in advance that the outcome would be considered binding. In announcing his resignation, Cameron said that the UK would activate the procedure set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enabling a Member State to withdraw, but that this process would wait until his successor had been chosen (by October). In a resolution adopted at the conclusion of a special plenary session on 28 June, MEPs called on the UK government to instigate ‘a swift and coherent implementation of the withdrawal procedure’, to prevent ‘damaging uncertainty for everyone and to protect the Union’s integrity’.

Parliament's committees of inquiry and special committees

02-06-2016

The European Parliament has recently been making increasing use of its investigative instruments – special and inquiry committees. The TAXE Committee, established in the aftermath of the 'LuxLeaks' scandal to look into unfair tax practices in the EU, was followed by the TAXE 2 special committee on tax rulings. The EMIS committee of inquiry is looking into emission measurements in the automotive sector. The recently revealed 'Panama papers' prompted a new committee of inquiry on tax havens. Parliament's ...

The European Parliament has recently been making increasing use of its investigative instruments – special and inquiry committees. The TAXE Committee, established in the aftermath of the 'LuxLeaks' scandal to look into unfair tax practices in the EU, was followed by the TAXE 2 special committee on tax rulings. The EMIS committee of inquiry is looking into emission measurements in the automotive sector. The recently revealed 'Panama papers' prompted a new committee of inquiry on tax havens. Parliament's right of inquiry is an important instrument for the exercise of its control functions. Its investigative powers, however, fall short of the powers of committees of inquiry in national parliaments, which have quasi-judicial investigative tools at their disposal. Committees of inquiry are limited to examinations of alleged contraventions and maladministration in the implementation of EU law, thus excluding evidence-gathering about general subjects and inquiries into actions by third-country authorities. 'Special committees', on the other hand, can be set up for any parliamentary inquiry and have thus been used more often by Parliament. Although they are not equipped with formal powers, special committees conduct their work using the same investigative mechanisms as committees of inquiry. The Lisbon Treaty conferred on Parliament the power to propose and adopt a binding regulation on the inquiry rules.

Understanding the d'Hondt method: Allocation of parliamentary seats and leadership positions

08-04-2016

The allocation of seats in collegiate organs such as parliaments requires a method to translate votes proportionally into whole seats. The 'd'Hondt method' is a mathematical formula used widely in proportional representation systems, although it leads to less proportional results than other systems for seat allocation such as the Hare-Niemeyer and Sainte-Laguë/Schepers methods. Moreover, it tends to increase the advantage for the electoral lists gaining most votes to the detriment of those with fewer ...

The allocation of seats in collegiate organs such as parliaments requires a method to translate votes proportionally into whole seats. The 'd'Hondt method' is a mathematical formula used widely in proportional representation systems, although it leads to less proportional results than other systems for seat allocation such as the Hare-Niemeyer and Sainte-Laguë/Schepers methods. Moreover, it tends to increase the advantage for the electoral lists gaining most votes to the detriment of those with fewer votes. It is, however, effective in facilitating majority formation and thus in securing parliamentary operability. The d'Hondt method is used by 17 EU Member States for the elections to the European Parliament. Furthermore, it is also used within the Parliament as a formula for distributing the chairs of the parliamentary committees and delegations, as well as to distribute those posts among the national delegations within the political groups. Such proportional distribution of leadership positions within Parliament prevents domination of parliamentary political life by only one or two large political groups, ensuring smaller political groups also have a say on the political agenda. Some argue however that this limits the impact of the election results on the political direction of decision-making within Parliament and call for a 'winner-takes-all' approach instead. Many national parliaments in the EU also distribute committee chairs and other posts proportionally among political groups (either using the d'Hondt method or more informally). Other Member States, however, apply a 'winner-takes-more' approach with only some committee chairs with particular relevance to government scrutiny being reserved for opposition groups, while in the US House of Representatives committee chairs have to come from the majority party. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format xxxx

The UK's 'new settlement' in the European Union: Renegotiation and referendum

25-02-2016

Following the election of a majority Conservative government in the UK general election of May 2015, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, opened negotiations with the other EU Member States and the EU institutions to establish a 'new settlement' between the UK and the Union. This renegotiation, conducted in recent months, has now concluded. On the basis of proposals made by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Member States reached an agreement at the European Council meeting ...

Following the election of a majority Conservative government in the UK general election of May 2015, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, opened negotiations with the other EU Member States and the EU institutions to establish a 'new settlement' between the UK and the Union. This renegotiation, conducted in recent months, has now concluded. On the basis of proposals made by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Member States reached an agreement at the European Council meeting of 18-19 February. The agreement comprises a decision by the Heads of State or Government – constituting an agreement between Member States under international law rather than a European Council decision – as well as a draft Council decision on the banking union and several declarations by the European Commission committing it to submit proposals to amend existing EU legislation in the fields of free movement and access to social benefits for EU workers. The agreement would enter into force once the UK has notified the Council of its decision to stay in the EU, following the in–out referendum, now set for 23 June 2016.

Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU

18-02-2016

The right of a Member State to withdraw from the European Union was introduced for the first time with the Lisbon Treaty; the possibility of withdrawal was highly controversial before that. Article 50 TEU does not set down any substantive conditions for a Member State to be able to exercise its right to withdraw, rather it includes only procedural requirements. It provides for the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the withdrawing state, defining in particular the latter's future ...

The right of a Member State to withdraw from the European Union was introduced for the first time with the Lisbon Treaty; the possibility of withdrawal was highly controversial before that. Article 50 TEU does not set down any substantive conditions for a Member State to be able to exercise its right to withdraw, rather it includes only procedural requirements. It provides for the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the withdrawing state, defining in particular the latter's future relationship with the Union. If no agreement is concluded within two years, that state's membership ends automatically, unless the European Council and the Member State concerned decide jointly to extend this period. The legal consequence of a withdrawal from the EU is the end of the application of the EU Treaties (and the Protocols thereto) in the state concerned from that point on. EU law ceases to apply in the withdrawing state, although any national acts adopted in implementation or transposition of EU law would remain valid until the national authorities decide to amend or repeal them. A withdrawal agreement would need to address the phasing-out of EU financial programmes and other EU norms. Experts agree that in order to replace EU law, specifically in any field of exclusive EU competence, the withdrawing state would need to enact substantial new legislation and that, in any case, complete isolation of the withdrawing state from the effects of the EU acquis would be impossible if there is to be a future relationship between former Member State and the EU. Furthermore, a withdrawal agreement could contain provisions on the transitional application of EU rules, in particular with regard to rights deriving from EU citizenship and to other rights deriving from EU law, which would otherwise extinguish with the withdrawal.

The German Federal Constitutional Court's ruling on the European Arrest Warrant

28-01-2016

The Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG) has now published its December 2015 ruling in favour of a claimant who had lodged a constitutional complaint against the decision to allow his surrender to Italy on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued by the Italian authorities. In its ruling, the German Constitutional Court appears to be departing from its previous 'Solange' case law on the examination of EU acts against fundamental rights enshrined in the Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

The Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG) has now published its December 2015 ruling in favour of a claimant who had lodged a constitutional complaint against the decision to allow his surrender to Italy on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued by the Italian authorities. In its ruling, the German Constitutional Court appears to be departing from its previous 'Solange' case law on the examination of EU acts against fundamental rights enshrined in the Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

Understanding the EU Rule of Law mechanisms

15-01-2016

The European Union is founded on values common to all Member States. These are supposed to ensure a level of homogeneity among Member States, while respecting their national identities, and so facilitate the development of a European identity and their integration based on mutual trust. Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union provides mechanisms to enforce EU values, based on a decision by the Council with the participation of the Commission and Parliament. The current mechanism is said to be ...

The European Union is founded on values common to all Member States. These are supposed to ensure a level of homogeneity among Member States, while respecting their national identities, and so facilitate the development of a European identity and their integration based on mutual trust. Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union provides mechanisms to enforce EU values, based on a decision by the Council with the participation of the Commission and Parliament. The current mechanism is said to be unusable due to the high thresholds needed to adopt a decision in the Council, as well as Member States' political unwillingness to use it. Various new approaches have been proposed by academics and by political actors, from a new independent monitoring body – the 'Copenhagen Commission', through extending the mandate of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), to introducing the possibility for the EU to suspend national measures suspected of infringing EU law. In 2014, the Commission adopted a new 'Rule of Law Framework' featuring a structured dialogue between the Commission and the Member State concerned and Commission recommendations and follow-up. On 13 January 2016, the Commission decided for the first time to initiate such an assessment of the situation in a Member State, with regard to two Polish laws – on the powers of the constitutional court and on the management of state TV and radio broadcasters. The European Parliament launched the idea of a 'European fundamental rights policy cycle' with the cooperation of the EU institutions, Member States and the FRA, as a 'new Copenhagen mechanism' to monitor the situation in Member States. At present, Parliament's Civil Liberties and Justice Committee is drafting a legislative own-initiative report on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, relying on common and objective indicators.

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29-05-2017
The future of OLAF
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30-05-2017
The potential of electricity demand response
Workshop -
ITRE
30-05-2017
The current challenges of fighting terrorism and serious crime
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LIBE

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