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Preparing the Conference on the Future of Europe

03-12-2019

After the many debates and declarations of principles on the future of Europe of recent years, the time for a more structured reflection on the future of Europe's development has arrived. The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to establish a Conference on the Future of Europe, in an effort to give new impulse to European construction and bring Europe closer to citizens. At this stage, details of this initiative are still up for discussion. For Dubravka Šuica ...

After the many debates and declarations of principles on the future of Europe of recent years, the time for a more structured reflection on the future of Europe's development has arrived. The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to establish a Conference on the Future of Europe, in an effort to give new impulse to European construction and bring Europe closer to citizens. At this stage, details of this initiative are still up for discussion. For Dubravka Šuica, the Commissioner who will take charge of the process, the inclusion of all citizens' voices will be an essential characteristic of the Conference. However, how to ensure that European citizens are properly represented remains to be clarified. Preparation of the Conference, in von der Leyen's approach, will follow three steps: first, the elaboration of the concept, structure, timing and scope with Parliament and Council; then, design of a means to ensure that citizens participate as much as possible, including by fostering online participation for younger people; and last, making sure that appropriate follow-up is provided to the actions agreed by the Conference. The Parliament has created a working group to contribute to the design of the Conference, in particular in respect of its structure, with a view to a vote in plenary. Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) has also launched discussions, confirming the eagerness of Parliament and its political bodies to play an active part from the beginning of this process. The Conference on the Future of Europe should be an excellent opportunity to engage in more structured debate, with the intention to find concrete proposals to improve the way in which the EU works not only in terms of institutional dynamics, but also of its policies. Some have however cautioned that the initiative needs to be carried out with the utmost care, in particular on the follow-up to be given to its outcomes, so that it can remain a meaningful endeavour.

Commission as 'caretaker administration'

24-10-2019

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament’s committees took place between 30 September and 8 October 2019. The plenary vote on the entire Commission was originally planned for 23 October in Strasbourg, after a presentation by the Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen of the full College and its programme. However, three Commissioners-designate did not successfully complete the hearings process, making it necessary for three Member States to nominate new ...

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament’s committees took place between 30 September and 8 October 2019. The plenary vote on the entire Commission was originally planned for 23 October in Strasbourg, after a presentation by the Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen of the full College and its programme. However, three Commissioners-designate did not successfully complete the hearings process, making it necessary for three Member States to nominate new candidates and for committees to carry out new hearings. The new Commission will not, therefore, now be able to enter into office on 1 November, as scheduled. The outgoing Commission will thus remain in office until the formal appointment of its replacement, although questions arise as to its powers in that period.

European Union electoral law: Current situation and historical background

17-10-2019

The European Parliament did not always enjoy the powers and democratic legitimacy it does now. This is clear from a quick glance at how Parliament has evolved. Starting life as an Assembly – a name reminiscent of institutions linked to international diplomacy – with members simply appointed by national parliaments of Member States, it grew into an institution, the European Parliament, directly elected by citizens and now the only one representing EU citizens directly. This transformation has taken ...

The European Parliament did not always enjoy the powers and democratic legitimacy it does now. This is clear from a quick glance at how Parliament has evolved. Starting life as an Assembly – a name reminiscent of institutions linked to international diplomacy – with members simply appointed by national parliaments of Member States, it grew into an institution, the European Parliament, directly elected by citizens and now the only one representing EU citizens directly. This transformation has taken several decades. Despite Parliament's increased role, the current electoral rules remain only partly harmonised, to the extent that there is no uniform electoral process for all Member States. The current situation is that certain fundamental principles are enshrined in the 1976 Electoral Act, but many aspects are regulated by national law. This lack of a uniform electoral process also leads to differences in treatment between EU citizens depending on their country of origin and potentially deprives European elections of a truly European dimension. Several reforms of the EU electoral system have been attempted over the years, but not all have resulted in legislation. The introduction of a transnational constituency in particular is a perennially controversial issue. Some consider it a step towards the genuine 'Europeanisation' of elections, others believe that it could increase the distance between the public and elected representatives. While the co-existence of differing electoral rules under the aegis of common European principles is probably destined to last, the latest reform – adopted in 2018 – will bring in mechanisms designed to increase public participation in the EU political debate and make the appointment of one of the top EU leadership roles, president of the European Commission, more 'political', by means of the Spitzenkandidaten process.

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.

Razprave o prihodnosti Evrope v Evropskem parlamentu, 2018-2019: Pregled govorov voditeljev držav in vlad EU

08-05-2019

Ta dokument zaključuje štiri briefinge o razpravah o prihodnosti Evrope, v katerih so pojasnjena stališča različnih voditeljev držav ali vlad, ki so govorili na plenarnih zasedanjih Evropskega parlamenta od januarja 2018 do aprila 2019. V prvem delu dokumenta so opisane splošne skupne točke in razhajanja med govorniki, težnje v obravnavanih temah in podani predlogi. Drugi del dokumenta vsebuje povzetke nekaterih najpomembnejših izjav govornikov in podrobnejšo analizo njihovih različnih stališč o ...

Ta dokument zaključuje štiri briefinge o razpravah o prihodnosti Evrope, v katerih so pojasnjena stališča različnih voditeljev držav ali vlad, ki so govorili na plenarnih zasedanjih Evropskega parlamenta od januarja 2018 do aprila 2019. V prvem delu dokumenta so opisane splošne skupne točke in razhajanja med govorniki, težnje v obravnavanih temah in podani predlogi. Drugi del dokumenta vsebuje povzetke nekaterih najpomembnejših izjav govornikov in podrobnejšo analizo njihovih različnih stališč o teh ključnih področjih politike: ekonomska in monetarna unija, migracije, socialna razsežnost, mednarodna trgovina, podnebne spremembe in energija, varnost in obramba, naslednji večletni finančni okvir ter institucionalna vprašanja.

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.

Prihajajoči dogodki

11-12-2019
Take-aways from 2019 and outlook for 2020: What Think Tanks are Thinking
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