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Role and election of the President of the European Commission

12-07-2019

The President of the European Commission has taken on an ever more prominent leading role within the College of Commissioners, with the increasingly presidential system eclipsing the principle of collegiate decision-making. With the European Parliament now more involved in the appointment, the Presidency has not only become a much more politicised office, but the President has also gained greater influence vis-à-vis the other members of the Commission. The Commission President plays a crucial role ...

The President of the European Commission has taken on an ever more prominent leading role within the College of Commissioners, with the increasingly presidential system eclipsing the principle of collegiate decision-making. With the European Parliament now more involved in the appointment, the Presidency has not only become a much more politicised office, but the President has also gained greater influence vis-à-vis the other members of the Commission. The Commission President plays a crucial role in relations between Parliament and Commission. Presenting his or her priorities to Parliament prior to election sets the course for the whole term, on which the President will be called to account by Parliament. Building on this, Parliament has an increasingly prominent role in political agenda-setting, shaping the EU's legislative programming together with the Commission and the Council. At the end of President Barroso's second term as Commission President, many had criticised the lack of ambitious initiatives undertaken, whereas others believe that the economic and institutional difficulties which the EU faced made this inevitable. The legacy of President Juncker's mandate can claim, on the one hand, to show progress in trade and defence, although some maintain that more ambition could have been displayed in other areas, for instance on the digital market or monetary union. On the other hand, the Juncker Commission introduced some significant changes in the College's working methods and a more political role for the Commission. Whereas Jean-Claude Juncker had been a Spitzenkandidat (lead candidate) in the European elections, Ursula von der Leyen, nominated as candidate for the Commission presidency by the European Council on 2 July, was not. As none of the Spitzenkandidaten were seen to have a clear majority in Parliament, it remains to be seen whether an 'outsider' from that process can muster the support of the required majority of Parliament's component Members at the time of the election, currently planned for the July II plenary session. This is an updated edition of a 2014 briefing drafted by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

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

28-06-2019

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 which gain most votes to the detriment of those with ...

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 which gain 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 16 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 some 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 all come from the majority.

Electing the European Parliament's President

19-06-2019

At the July I plenary sitting, the newly elected European Parliament (EP) is due to elect its 31st President, to hold office until mid-term at the beginning of 2022, when a new election for Parliament’s President will be held. The President has an important and increasingly visible function in the EU institutional and international setting, mirroring the influential role of the Parliament as shaper of EU policies and co-legislator.

At the July I plenary sitting, the newly elected European Parliament (EP) is due to elect its 31st President, to hold office until mid-term at the beginning of 2022, when a new election for Parliament’s President will be held. The President has an important and increasingly visible function in the EU institutional and international setting, mirroring the influential role of the Parliament as shaper of EU policies and co-legislator.

Diskusijos dėl Europos ateities Europos Parlamente, 2018–2019 m.: ES valstybių ar vyriausybių vadovų kalbų suvestinė

08-05-2019

Šiame dokumente apibendrinami keturi diskusijų dėl Europos ateities vertinimo informaciniai pranešimai, kuriuose paaiškintos įvairių valstybių ar vyriausybių vadovų, kalbėjusių per Europos Parlamento plenarines sesijas laikotarpiu nuo 2018 m. sausio mėn. iki 2019 m. balandžio mėn., nuomonės. Pirmoje šio dokumento dalyje apžvelgti visi klausimai, kuriais kalbėtojų nuomonės sutapo arba išsiskyrė, tendencijos pasirenkant temas ir pateikti pasiūlymai. Antroje dalyje pateikiamos kai kurios svarbiausios ...

Šiame dokumente apibendrinami keturi diskusijų dėl Europos ateities vertinimo informaciniai pranešimai, kuriuose paaiškintos įvairių valstybių ar vyriausybių vadovų, kalbėjusių per Europos Parlamento plenarines sesijas laikotarpiu nuo 2018 m. sausio mėn. iki 2019 m. balandžio mėn., nuomonės. Pirmoje šio dokumento dalyje apžvelgti visi klausimai, kuriais kalbėtojų nuomonės sutapo arba išsiskyrė, tendencijos pasirenkant temas ir pateikti pasiūlymai. Antroje dalyje pateikiamos kai kurios svarbiausios ištraukos iš vadovų kalbų ir smulkiau analizuojamos įvairios jų pozicijos dėl šių pagrindinių politikos sričių: ekonominės ir pinigų sąjungos, migracijos, socialinio aspekto, tarptautinės prekybos, klimato kaitos ir energetikos, saugumo ir gynybos, kitos daugiametės finansinės programos ir institucinių klausimų.

Future of Europe debates IV: Parliament hosts Heads of State or Government

12-04-2019

As the 2019 European elections approach, the 'Future of Europe debates' are coming to their natural conclusion. This April II session is the last plenary session at which one of the Heads of State or Government will set out their vision of the future path that Europe should follow. This initiative has been meant to provide the occasion to reflect deeply on how to shape the future of the EU and its institutions, as a concrete contribution to the Sibiu Summit taking place on 9 May 2019. The series ...

As the 2019 European elections approach, the 'Future of Europe debates' are coming to their natural conclusion. This April II session is the last plenary session at which one of the Heads of State or Government will set out their vision of the future path that Europe should follow. This initiative has been meant to provide the occasion to reflect deeply on how to shape the future of the EU and its institutions, as a concrete contribution to the Sibiu Summit taking place on 9 May 2019. The series of debates started with the invitation of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who announced at the European Council in October 2017 his intention to host debates during plenary sessions, as a democratic and open forum in which Heads of State or Government would be invited to express their vision of the future. Originally intended to run for the whole of 2018, the debates, which have to date featured the leaders of 19 Member States, continued into 2019, up to the 2019 European elections. This is the fourth edition of a Briefing designed to provide an overview of the Future of Europe debates. As usual it takes stock of the views of the (four) most recent participating leaders (Juha Sipilä, Giuseppe Conte, Peter Pellegrini, Stefan Löfven) on a number of key policy areas such as economic and monetary union (EMU), the EU's social dimension, migration policy, security and defence, the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), trade and climate change.

Digital tools and processes in company law

10-04-2019

The possibility for companies to operate in a favourable legal and administrative environment is crucial for economic growth. Companies already use digital tools in their interaction with administrations; however, they do so to differing degrees depending on the Member State. At the April II plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on the compromise text agreed following trilogue negotiations. The aim is to harmonise and foster the use of digital tools at the various stages in a company's lifecycle ...

The possibility for companies to operate in a favourable legal and administrative environment is crucial for economic growth. Companies already use digital tools in their interaction with administrations; however, they do so to differing degrees depending on the Member State. At the April II plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on the compromise text agreed following trilogue negotiations. The aim is to harmonise and foster the use of digital tools at the various stages in a company's lifecycle.

Reviewing the implementation of specific Treaty provisions

06-02-2019

On 22 January 2019, the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted three own-initiative reports, dealing with the implementation of the specific Treaty provisions on EU citizenship, enhanced cooperation and parliamentary scrutiny of the European Commission. Parliament is expected to discuss these reports during its February plenary session.

On 22 January 2019, the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted three own-initiative reports, dealing with the implementation of the specific Treaty provisions on EU citizenship, enhanced cooperation and parliamentary scrutiny of the European Commission. Parliament is expected to discuss these reports during its February plenary session.

Future of Europe debates III: Parliament hosts Heads of State or Government

29-01-2019

As the 2019 European elections approach, deep reflections on how to shape the future of the EU are taking on greater prominence. The 'Future of Europe' debates, an initiative of the European Parliament, aim to make a tangible contribution to the broader discussion on how to reform EU policies and institutions. The series of debates started with the invitation of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who announced at the European Council in October 2017 the intention to host debates ...

As the 2019 European elections approach, deep reflections on how to shape the future of the EU are taking on greater prominence. The 'Future of Europe' debates, an initiative of the European Parliament, aim to make a tangible contribution to the broader discussion on how to reform EU policies and institutions. The series of debates started with the invitation of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who announced at the European Council in October 2017 the intention to host debates during plenary sessions, as a democratic and open forum in which Heads of State or Government would be invited to express their vision of the future. Originally intended to run for the whole of 2018, the debates, which have to date featured the leaders of 15 Member States, will now run into 2019, approaching the 2019 European elections. This is the third edition of a briefing designed to provide an overview of the Future of Europe debates. As usual, it takes stock of the views of the (five) most recent participating leaders (Iohannis, Merkel, Rasmussen, Anastasiades and Sánchez) on a number of key policy areas such as economic and monetary union (EMU), the EU’s social dimension, migration policy, security and defence, the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), trade and climate change.

The European Ombudsman: Reflections on the role and its potential

20-11-2018

The European Ombudsman is a body established to ensure that maladministration in the EU institutions is addressed and where possible remedied. From the establishment of the European Ombudsman, personalities and the open-ended character of the notion of maladministration have been relevant in shaping the activity of the office. Maladministration is widely accepted to be a sphere of inappropriate behaviour of the administration that goes beyond simple illegality. The particularity of the Ombudsman ...

The European Ombudsman is a body established to ensure that maladministration in the EU institutions is addressed and where possible remedied. From the establishment of the European Ombudsman, personalities and the open-ended character of the notion of maladministration have been relevant in shaping the activity of the office. Maladministration is widely accepted to be a sphere of inappropriate behaviour of the administration that goes beyond simple illegality. The particularity of the Ombudsman lies therefore on the fact that it is able, through the exercise of 'soft power', to tackle issues that would escape the scrutiny of the Court of Justice of the EU. This paper provides an overview of the activity of the Ombudsman, and attempts to identify the main areas of activity in quantitative terms, the main institutions to which the Ombudsman addresses inquiries and recommendations and highlights the proactive role exercised by this body so far. The compliance rate with the recommendations of the Ombudsman is rather high, although it would seem to decrease where the Ombudsman, by issuing critical remarks, exercises an 'educational' function. This paper also sets out some proposals to modify the Statute, with some less-extensive proposals, that would take into account already established practices, and other more far-reaching proposals, that would need however to be carefully considered so as not to distort the nature of the body.

Future of Europe debates II: Parliament hosts Heads of State or Government

19-10-2018

Against the background of the many challenges faced by the European Union (EU) in recent years, and with the May 2019 European Parliament elections approaching, the future of the European project has come back on the agenda of public discourse. At the European Council of October 2017, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, announced his intention to host a series of Future of Europe debates during plenary sessions, as a democratic and open forum in which the Heads of State or Government ...

Against the background of the many challenges faced by the European Union (EU) in recent years, and with the May 2019 European Parliament elections approaching, the future of the European project has come back on the agenda of public discourse. At the European Council of October 2017, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, announced his intention to host a series of Future of Europe debates during plenary sessions, as a democratic and open forum in which the Heads of State or Government of EU Member States would be invited to express their vision of the future, starting in early 2018. Intended to run for the whole of 2018 and beyond, the 'Future of Europe' debates in the European Parliament have thus far featured the leaders of ten Member States. They have used the opportunity to set out their personal vision, highlighting priorities, pointing to areas for better development, and revisiting accomplishments so far. (See the timeline of speakers below.) This is the second edition of a Briefing designed to provide an overview of the Future of Europe debate in a number of key policy areas. While the first edition covered the first six speakers, the present one focuses on the most recent four. It also contains insights on climate change and international trade, in addition to the areas of economic and monetary union (EMU), the EU social dimension, migration policy, security and defence, and the multiannual financial framework (MFF), covered in the first edition.

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