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L-Erbgħa, 15 ta' Jannar 2020 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

21. Riforma tal-prinċipji ġenerali tal-komitoloġija (dibattitu)
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  Der Präsident. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärung der Kommission zur Reform der allgemeinen Grundsätze des Ausschussverfahrens (2019/2974(RSP)).

Auch hier und erneut möchte ich Sie daran erinnern, dass Sie sowohl in üblicher Weise als auch mit Hilfe des elektronischen Systems um die Möglichkeit zur spontanen Wortmeldung sowie zur Verwendung der „blauen Karte“ ersuchen können. Gebrauchsanleitungen liegen am Eingang zum Plenarsaal aus.

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, first I would like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss the comitology framework with you.

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the differentiation between delegated and implementing acts and, on this basis, the co—legislator adopted the Comitology Regulation. It lays down the mechanisms for control by Member States over the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The regulation also provides for the right of Parliament and the Council to be fully informed of the draft implementing acts submitted by the Commission to the committees of Member States. It also provides for a scrutiny right to address situations in which the Commission may have exceeded its implementing powers.

I think that it’s fair to say that the regulation is fulfilling its purpose. Why? Because, in 2018, the committees provided opinions on 1 633 draft implementing acts. There was no negative opinion and there were 32 so—called ‘no opinion’ cases in 2018. This ‘no opinion’ means that there is no qualified majority in favour or against draft implementing acts in the committee because of either the contrasting positions of the Member States or abstentions. In specific cases, the Appeal Committee must be consulted in such no—opinion scenarios. In 2018, this was the case for 12 draft implementing acts in the areas of health and consumer policy. In all of these 12 cases, the Appeal Committee also delivered a no, or lack of, opinion. It is precisely this very limited number of cases that have led to discussions, mainly because they have so far occurred in the politically sensitive areas of the authorisation of genetically modified food and feed and, to a lesser extent, in relation to the approval of active substances for plant protection products. When the Appeal Committee also delivers no opinion, the Commission may adopt the implementing act proposed. Indeed, the logic of the Comitology Regulation is only blocked from adopting an act if there is opinion in the Committee against it. This has been a guiding principle in comitology from the very beginning and ensures efficient implementation.

As regards the 12 implementing acts in the areas of health and consumer policy, the respective substantive legal framework, not the Comitology Regulation, actually obliges the Commission to take the decision based on the procedural requirements and solid evidence gathered. In these cases of a lack of qualified majority in the Committee, the Commission has therefore been legally bound to take, at times, very unpopular decisions.

The Juncker Commission therefore decided to propose, as a priority, to change these rules and put forward targeted amendments on the functioning of the Appeal Committee, with the objective of allowing for greater accountability on the part of the Member States in the decision—making process. The proposed amendments were the following: first, to calculate the qualified majority out of Member States which are present or represented and which do not abstain – and that means not all of the Member States; second, to provide for the possibility for a second referral to the Appeal Committee at ministerial level to address the problematic issues a second time; and, third, to make individual Member States’ representatives’ votes at Appeal Committee level public – this is what we discussed a few minutes ago – and to provide for the possibility to refer the matter to the Council for a non-binding opinion and overall political guidance.

Where do we stand with this proposal? Overall, there was practically no progress over the last close to three years. On the Council side, there has been no support whatsoever for this proposal. On the Parliament side, the lead Committee on Legal Affairs has not yet presented a draft report and only some opinion—giving committees supported the proposal.

I therefore welcome today’s debate because it gives us the opportunity to collectively take stock of the situation. We have, however, to be realistic and frank. Unless there is a bold move that would help unblock this file, it is unlikely that progress will be made any time soon. The new Commission will factor this and your views today into ultimately deciding on how to proceed in the framework of the assessment of all pending proposals, ahead of the adoption of the Commission 2020 work programme. In any case, the Commission intends to continue to use all existing means to encourage Member States to take on their responsibility in the comitology process and to come to the solutions with Member States that find the widest possible support in the committee.

Let me also refer to some concrete steps we are taking to improve the transparency of comitology, which I believe are also very important for this House. I will soon launch a new, modernised comitology register. The new public register will not only provide access to all draft implementing acts, but will also allow more user—friendly access to information on committees and their meetings. I will also work jointly with you and the Council to make sure that the non—binding delineation criteria between delegating and implementing acts that we agreed on last year will actually facilitate negotiations and bring benefits.

The Commission is fully committed to respecting the criteria when preparing legislative proposals and during legislative negotiations. In parallel, we must also jointly advance negotiations on the outstanding alignment of acts that still make reference to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. We were very successful here in agreeing on the first package last year, but work needs to continue on the remaining parts of the package.

I’m looking forward to hearing your views on this file because I believe it would help us in finalising the work on the Commission work programme for this year.

 
  
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  József Szájer, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, I would like to thank the Vice—President of the Commission for his words. I would like to say that at the end of the last mandate, surprisingly, we had some progress, especially in the area of realignment in the comitology area. However, we did not get this specific dossier through. The Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) is just in the process of starting to consider this.

However, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), the Committee on International Trade (INTA), the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) have provided opinions on the proposed regulation. These opinions underline the importance of keeping the comitology framework as it stands, since it’s working properly, but they also agree that the transparency aspect should be further enhanced.

The JURI Committee is basically focusing on this request from the other committees, especially in the area of political transparency and accountability. In a number of high-profile cases, however, according to the present procedure, in the absence of a clear position from the Member State, the political responsibility for taking a final decision falls upon the Commission, which without clear political backing from the Member State, is an undesirable situation.

This is what the reform presented in 2007 was intended to remedy in full agreement with the general aim of the proposal. We have to face the fact, however, that taking into account the kind of resistance that most Member States show against it in the Council, the future of this reform is at least highly unpredictable and non-favourable.

I particularly regret that the part of the proposal provoking this controversy among Member States also affects the rest of the suggestions, which are otherwise valuable and forward—looking in themselves.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  Richard Corbett (S&D), blue-card question. – Mr Szájer, do you not agree that if Member States, and indeed the Parliament, have conferred the power on the Commission to take a decision when the Member States cannot agree – remember to implement legislation that we have adopted but Council is unable to agree one way or another – that it is not unreasonable that the Commission should take its responsibilities and take a decision. And after all, the Commission is an executive that is responsible to this Parliament. It’s accountable to us. So it should take the decision and not actually try to divest itself of political responsibility through this proposal.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), blue-card answer. – Mr Corbett, I’m not against that solution. I could very well back that. We understand at the moment that it has not moved in Council for several years. This is the situation. We can push it forward, we can be enthusiastic supporters of this idea, but I would like to go with the line that Vice-President Šefčovič has proposed: to be creative and find some way, especially in the area where we can enhance transparency and accountability. On this point, basically all the committees who gave their opinions agree.

 
  
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  Bettina Vollath, im Namen der S&D-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar! Bei dieser Debatte müssen zwei wesentliche Begriffe im Vordergrund stehen: Rechenschaftspflicht der Mitgliedstaaten und Transparenz für die Bevölkerung. Wie vom Kommissar schon geschildert, ist es auch in politisch sehr sensiblen Bereichen, die unmittelbare Auswirkungen auf die Gesundheit und Sicherheit der Bürgerinnen und Bürger haben, wie zum Beispiel im Bereich Zulassungen, bei der Gentechnik oder Genehmigung von Wirkstoffen mit Pestiziden, möglich, dass Mitgliedstaaten ihre Meinung eben nicht kundtun und die Entscheidung auf die Kommission überwälzen. Das ist nicht befriedigend. Das ist wirklich nicht befriedigend, weil in der Folge durch die mangelnde Transparenz ein anderes Abstimmungsverhalten in den jeweiligen Mitgliedstaaten nach außen kommuniziert werden kann, als es tatsächlich der Fall gewesen ist, so nach dem Motto: Wasch mir den Pelz, aber mach mich bitte nicht nass.

Aus diesen Gründen stehe ich den Vorschlägen der Kommission zur Verbesserung des Verfahrens sehr positiv gegenüber: der Änderung der Berechnungsmethode, der verpflichtenden Anrufung des Berufungsausschusses und auch einer Veröffentlichung des Wahlverhaltens im Berufungsausschuss. Ich lehne den Vorschlag mancher Kollegen, den wir auch gerade in diesem Haus gehört haben, ab, dass die Kommission den Vorschlag zurückzieht und einen neuen Vorschlag machen soll, der dem Rat besser gefällt. Denn es muss uns klar sein: Jeder neue Vorschlag wird eine abgeschwächte Version des jetzigen Vorschlags sein.

Was mir abschließend sehr wichtig ist klarzustellen, auch Ihnen gegenüber, Herr Kommissar: Das Europäische Parlament will an diesem Dossier weiterarbeiten. Es ist der Rat, der in diesem Fall leider blockiert und offenbar nicht in der Lage ist, in dieser wesentlichen Frage eine Entscheidung zu treffen. Daher geht mein Appell heute Abend an den Rat, endlich eine Position festzulegen und am besten dem Vorschlag der Kommission zuzustimmen.

 
  
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  Pascal Durand, au nom du groupe Renew. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur Šefčovič, on est entre nous, donc on peut peut-être se parler franchement, on va donc le faire. Vous savez très bien que si la Commission a donné ce texte, c’est parce qu’elle se retrouve entre le marteau du Conseil et l’enclume des grandes sociétés qui disent: si vous ne prenez pas de décision, nous poursuivrons la Commission et l’Union européenne. Vous êtes donc obligé de trancher là où le Conseil fait preuve d’une lâcheté effrayante. Nous sommes quand même en train de parler – et vous l’avez dit et nous le savons tous ici – de la santé de 500 millions de consommatrices et de consommateurs européens. Nous sommes en train de parler de produits chimiques, d’OGM, et je le dis devant le Parlement, dont je suis membre, nous sommes obligés maintenant de prendre des objections. Vous l’avez dit, elles ne sont pas encore très nombreuses mais elles sont de plus en plus nombreuses, parce que nous sommes dans une société de plus en plus complexe. On nous demande, en fait, de statuer en urgence dans du binaire: oui ou non. Ce n’est plus acceptable, ce n’est plus possible. Monsieur Šefčovič, je venais vous entendre d’abord et avant tout pour savoir si la Commission allait continuer à faire de cette question une priorité, car c’en est une pour la démocratie et pour les citoyens. On ne va pas entrer aujourd’hui dans le détail de savoir comment on peut faire, mais je pense que donner une prime à ceux qui ne votent pas, c’est peut-être augmenter la lâcheté, mais c’est un autre débat. En tout cas, je suis heureux de vous avoir entendu dire que c’était une question qui restait à l’agenda de la Commission pour l’année qui vient. J’espère que le Parlement pourra vous aider à avancer.

Permettez-moi de terminer en rendant hommage au travail de mon collègue Richard Corbett, avec lequel nous avions élaboré un avis en commission des affaires constitutionnelles dans la dernière mandature, à tout ce travail que Richard a pu faire dans ce Parlement, et de dire, à mon tour, à quel point je regrette de voir des députés comme lui nous quitter à cause des mensonges de ceux qui sont là-bas.

 
  
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  Bronis Ropė, Verts/ALE frakcijos vardu. – Gerbiamas Pirmininke, gerbiamas Komisijos nary, kolegos. Šiandien ryte šiuose rūmuose diskutavome apie konferenciją dėl Europos ateities ir sutarėme, kad ateities Europa turi būti demokratiškesnė, labiau girdėti savo piliečių balsą. Komitologijos procedūra yra bene labiausiai dėl demokratijos ir skaidrumo trūkumo kritikuojama europinė teisėkūros tvarka. Deja, tačiau jos spragos bei valstybių narių piktnaudžiavimas šiuo mechanizmu ypatingai akivaizdus priimant sprendimus, ypač jautriais klausimais, turinčiais tiesioginės įtakos mūsų maisto, aplinkos kokybei, žmonių ir gyvūnų sveikatai bei gerovei. Kaip atsakingas Žaliųjų grupės Žemės ūkio ir kaimo plėtros komiteto nuomonės pareiškėjas noriu paraginti naują Komisiją ir toliau tęsti jūsų pirmtakų užsibrėžtą tikslą, kuo greičiau reformuoti komiteto procedūrą, užtikrinant sprendimų priėmimo skaidrumą, ribojant valstybių narių galimybes išvengti atsakomybės susilaikant nuo sprendimų priėmimo.

 
  
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  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Pane předsedající, pane komisaři, já stejně jako moji kolegové podporuji reformu komitologie. Jsem přesvědčen, že v případě pravomoci Komise přijímat prováděcí akty je velmi nešťastné, pokud nemalá část těchto aktů zůstala bez stanoviska jednotlivých členských států. Už zde bylo popsáno, že se rozhoduje v těchto prováděcích aktech o celé řadě důležitých věcí – modifikované potraviny, pesticidy atd.

Na druhou stranu jsme ve stavu takové plíživé debaty, která trvá několik let. Několikrát jsme k tomuto tématu debatovali v minulém volebním období a asi by stálo za to, aby nyní Komise toto téma, které působí více technicky a ne tak významně, protože není doceněn jeho význam, vzala za své a pokusila se nyní v Radě s novým elánem tento návrh prosadit nebo získat jasné stanovisko, zda určitý upravený materiál je pro Radu přijatelný. Shodneme se na tom, že současná situace není vyhovující, ale cítíme, že zkrátka není vůle nějakým způsobem dokončit celý proces. Tedy prosím, je to na vás, udělejte pro to maximum.

 
  
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  Martin Hojsík (Renew). – Mr President, I think comitology is one of the amazing things about the European Union that no one understands, and we all talk about...

(Interjection from the floor: ‘I do!’)

– he does, but the public doesn’t! –

(Laughter)

and we talk about an EU close to the people, and that’s where we are missing out a lot. We also talk about transparency and accountability and this is something that this procedure is utterly lacking. Pesticides have been one of the hallmarks of the problems related to comitology. People don’t know how the governments voted, and what it ends up with is the general blame – Brussels decided, it’s a Brussels diktat – but at the end of the day, it’s the civil servants of the very Member States, of the very governments, who are there, taking the decisions, without public scrutiny.

I think this is something where we really need to change. I’m very happy to see that the Commission proposal is still on the table, but what we need now is really to start to get some movement in this House, but also with a renewed initiative from the Commission, so I hope that it’s going to end up on the work plan, but above all, from the Council, and maybe citizens need to step up their pressure.

 
  
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  Karen Melchior (Renew). – Hr. formand! Jeg følger op på, hvad min kollega Martin Hojsík sagde, nemlig at EU er europæernes union, og at vi står her i dag, fordi europæerne valgte os til og stå her. Men jeg ved også godt, at der er mange europæere, som føler, at EU er langt væk. De forstår ikke, hvad der foregår, og føler, at det er bureaukrati og teknokratvælde. Hvor mange af os forstår egentlig komitologi? Det er få mennesker i Europa, og det er selv få mennesker i dette lokale. Og hvis ikke vi selv kan forstå og forklare komitologien, hvordan skal vi så kunne forvente, at vores vælgere - vores europæere - forstår det og accepterer den måde, beslutningerne bliver truffet på? Hvis ikke vi kan forklare vores lovgivningsprocesser, så svigter vi de grundlæggende demokratiske principper, som vores union er grundlagt på. Det er en forpligtelse, at vi kan forklare vores demokrati og vores lovgivning over for vores vælgere. Derfor støtter jeg Renew Europe-Gruppens ønske om at reformere komitologiprincipperne og er glad for at høre, at kommissær Šefčovič også støtter dette.

 
  
 

Spontane Wortmeldungen

 
  
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  Richard Corbett (S&D). – Mr President, the points made by Ms Melchior and others were absolutely right. The comitology system is opaque and nobody in the wider public understands it.

But of course we do have another system for delegating powers to the Commission, which is delegated acts, where it is clear and simple. We delegate powers to the Commission, but we can block their decision if we don’t like it, and we can even retrieve the powers that we have delegated if we wish to do so. This can be done unilaterally as Parliament, even though it was a joint decision with the Council to delegate the powers.

Is that not an argument to make much greater use of delegated powers rather than implementing acts? Mr Szájer and I were the co-rapporteurs on the delimitation between implementing acts and delegated acts, but, frankly, we should make much more use of delegated acts. They are transparent and democratic.

 
  
 

(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, I would also like to thank honourable Members for the family atmosphere in this discussion on a highly legalistic and challenging topic. I agree with Mr Hojsík and also with Karen Melchior that it’s not easy to explain to our citizens how the implementing acts are being implemented and adopted. I would really like to reassure all of you that I took very good note of all your thoughts and suggestions, and I also want to make it clear that President von der Leyen and I are fully committed to deploy also this process and our special partnership to advance on the reforms in all aspects, including on promoting more transparency and accountability in this particular area.

I took very good note of Mr Szájer, Mr Ropė and also Mr Durand, with clear advice and points made in that direction. I would like to thank Mr Corbett also for explaining the difficult situation in which we are because when we are implementing and adopting, we are actually fulfilling the will of this House which was expressed as a co-legislator when adopting the legislative act. Therefore, our space for legislative manoeuvre is very often very limited and therefore what we would do is we will again try to advance this file and work with the Council and with you to really make sure that the procedures have more transparency and clarity in the future.

I very much appreciate the fact that most of your suggestions and interventions went in the same direction as the Commission proposal, and I will do my best to actually get a better understanding of the position of the Council. I will work with the Croatian and, if necessary, the German Presidency to make sure that we get some traction on this file.

What would also help us would be a clear position from the European Parliament. I appreciate that several committees have already adopted their positions, but what we need is your clear position, a clear European Parliament stand on this issue. This gives my discussions with the Council more authority because we know that it is not only the Commission but also the European Parliament seeing things in the same way which can help us to advance the discussion further. So thank you very much for the support, for the ideas on this very important issue, and we will definitely work with you very closely on this.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. – Herr Kommissar Šefčovič, ich möchte die familiäre Atmosphäre nicht übertreiben, aber Sie haben gesagt, mit den „implementing acts“ erfüllen sie den Willen des Parlaments. Ich will durchaus bekennen, dass mir manchmal nicht ganz klar ist, ob sie mit diesem Handeln einen „implementing act“ oder einen „interpreting act“ vornehmen. Darüber sollten wir uns vielleicht gelegentlich mal unterhalten.

Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

 
Aġġornata l-aħħar: 8 ta' April 2020Avviż legali - Politika tal-privatezza