First virtual European Parliamentary Week 2021

First virtual European Parliamentary Week 2021

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the European Parliament has organized remotely the European Parliamentary Week 2021. This virtual meeting, co-organized with the Portuguese Parliament, was held via a videoconference in the European Parliament, in Brussels on 22 February 2021. This year, the European Parliamentary Week brought together nearly 140 Parliamentarians from the 27 EU Member States and 4 candidate and observer countries, and more than 60 Members from the European Parliament.

The debates were dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on EU economies and its recovery. The conference kicked off with an opening plenary session with a high-profile panel that brought together David Maria Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament and Eduardo Ferro Rodriguez, the President of the Portuguese Parliament,as well as Charles Michel, the President of the European Council,  Ursula Von Der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, António Guterres, the Secretary General of United Nations, Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF Managing Director and Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank. The plenary panel was followed by four simultaneous Interparliamentary Committee Meetings (ICMs).

David MARIA SASSOLI, the President of the European Parliament,emphasised in his opening remarks of the plenary session the need for international cooperation to address the transnational problems. He stresses that the entire world has suffered a lot due to the pandemic, with entire sectors collapsing and with vulnerable suffering especially hard, increasing the existing inequality. He added that the newly established massive European financial aid aims to address these challenges.

Eduardo FERRO RODRIGUES, President of the Portuguese Assembleia da República, stated that the EU macroeconomics need to be re-examined following the crisis. In his views, the Green Deal needs to address the whole economy, especially the SMEs. Finally, industrial policies need to be open, sustainable and social. He announced that to address this last aspect, the Portuguese Presidency will organize a social summit in Porto to move ahead on the Social Pillar of Social Rights.

Other key-speakers stressed the need to recover from the pandemic sustainably and collectively, ensuring that all countries get access to the vaccines in a sustainable way, while also decreasing debt pressure. All believe that 2020 and 2021 will become important turning points for the EU and the world. The recovery plan will need a coordinated green infrastructure boost, which will allow the EU not only to be a catalyst in the Green transition, but a frontrunner. The EU will invest together, addressing two pillars: fighting climate change and digitalising the Union. Green technologies and investment offer great potentials including an estimated 1.1 million jobs across Europe by 2030. The unsustainable exploitative practices in the economic models need to change, as the EU remains united in recovery. The Next Generation EU (NGEU) plan will cut emissions, improve the economy and improve the EU digital space. From the financial aspect, the importance of continuing to shield economies while working to transform them will be high on the agenda. Key-speeches pointed out that it is crucial to harness the potential of the pandemic regarding digital progress and sustainability. 

During the subsequent panel discussion, the preparations of national recovery and resilience plans were discussed between the European and national Parliaments Members. The Parliamentarians from the Presidency Troika Parliaments (Germany, Portugal and Slovenia) and three EP rapporteurs on the Recovery and Resilience Fund shared their views and reservations regarding the deployment of the new financial tool. As the crisis has weakened the EU, the recovery plan is a strategic plan to prepare for the future. All agree that in the long term, the economic model needs to be transformed into a greener, digital and social model. The EP rapporteurs again highlighted the role of national Parliaments in a swift ratification of the new own resources decision.

Interparliamentary Committee Meetings

Four simultaneous Interparliamentary Committee Meetings (ICMs) organized by the European Parliament Committee on Budgets (BUDG), Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) followed the plenary discussions.

During the ECON ICM, the debate focussed on the need to maintain expansionary fiscal policies while rethinking the existing economic models. The pandemic could be an opportunity to tailor made EU economies in a more sustainable and growth producing way. The main message addressed to national Parliaments during the debate in the BUDG ICM, was to ratify swiftly the Own Resources Decision to roll out the recovery plan.

In the ENVI ICM participants exchanged ideas on possible synergies between the European Green Deal and the path towards building a more resilient European Health Union. MEPs and national Parliamentarians focused on the promotion of sustainable growth as a guiding principle for the Recovery and Resilience Plans in order to use the current pandemic crisis as a catalyst for a greener reconstruction of our economies.

The debate in the EMPL ICM focused on how the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights should be put in action to accelerate the exit from the current crisis. The Members stressed that the social dimension should be at the heart of the national Recovery and Resilience plans,supporting the digital and green transition.

After this fruitful European arliamentary Week discussions will continue in the next Interparliamentary Conference on Art 13 (Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the EU) that will take place on 28 September in Ljubljana.


European Parliamentary Week 2021

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the European Parliament, together with the Portuguese Parliament, has organized remotely the European Parliamentary Week 2021. This virtual meeting was held via a video conference in the European Parliament, in Brussels on 22 February 2021.

The European Parliamentary Week brings together Parliamentarians from the European Union, candidate and observer countries to discuss economic,budgetary, environmental and social matters. This year's edition was dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on EU economies and its recovery. The parliamentarians debated on the preparations of national recovery and resilience plans as well as investing in climate, social and economic priorities.

The European Parliamentary Week consists of the European Semester Conference and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

The European Semester Conference provides an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles, and to strengthen cooperation in order to scrutinise the actions of the executives at national and European levels within the framework of the European Semester.

The Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union [Article 13 Conference of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact)] provides a framework for debate and exchange of information and best practices in implementing the provisions of the Treaty and aims to strengthen cooperation between national Parliaments and the European Parliament. The Conference also contributes to ensuring democratic accountability in the area of economic governance and budgetary policy in the EU, particularly in the European Monetary Union, taking into account the social dimension and without prejudice to the competences of national Parliaments and the European Parliament.

Shades of green on the European Parliamentary Week 2020

The EuropeanParliamentary Week 2020, co-organised by the European Parliament and the Croatian Presidency, took place last week (18-19/02). This conference brought together 111Parliamentarians from 28 Parliaments (34 chambers) from 25 Member States, 2 candidate countries and Norway.

The conference was structured around two days. On Monday, the opening plenary session of the European Semester Conference provided an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycle, to strengthen cooperation and take stock of the national experiences related to scrutinise the actions of the executives at national and European levels within the European Semester cycle.  The opening addresses by ECON Chair Irene Tinagli, ECOFIN Chair Zdravko Marić, Eurogroup President Mário Centeno, the European Commission Vice-President, Valdis Dombrovskis and the Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni were followed by a live debate with the participation of the Members from the national Parliaments and the European Parliament. ECON Chair Irene Tinagli stressed the areas where progress is most needed including completing the banking union and the capital markets union, reforming the economic governance architecture and making economic governance more democratically accountable. Commission Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Gentiloni presented their plans to review this architecture. Eurogroup President Centeno mentioned the priorities of the Eurogroup. Zdravko Marić, the current ECOFIN chair, listed the priorities of the Croatian Presidency of the Council. Fabio Panetta, Executive Board member of the ECB talked about the Eurozone's monetary outlook and described the actions necessary to complete the EMU. Other recurrent topics included the delivering the new Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness, the proposal for a European Unemployment Benefit Reinsurance Scheme and the review of the European Semesterframework.

This plenary session was followed-up by three parallel Interparliamentary Committee Meetings co-organized by the BUDG, ECON and EMPL EP Committees. They tackled the number of topics like international tax system, the sustainability of finances, a European Child Guarantee, the fair minimum wages, the next MFF and the new own resources addressing the global challenges.

The busy first day of the conference concluded by a walking dinner at the European House of History where participants could attend a tour of the museum and some more multinational networking and exchanges.

Wednesday morning was dedicated to the Interparliamentary Conference onStability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union [Article13 Conference]. European Parliament. The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, opened the plenary session dedicated to climate change and the role that EU economic, budgetary and social policies can play in this regard. In his welcoming words, he praised the Economic Semester framework as a tool that allows transmitting to the European Commission the issues facing the European citizens through this exchange with their national Parliament's Members. He stressed the importance of the revision of the framework into an instrument that integrates the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This increased climate ambition will only be possible with public support and acceptance of the changes that are needed to our societies and economies, he added. The Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Željko Reiner joined the EP President in stressing the importance of an immediate action in the fight against climate change and its impact on the economic, budgetary and social policies of the European Union. The European Green Plan will become a new cycle of great change. Nevertheless, it must be seen as a plan for transforming the European economy in a way that all Member States are at a level playing field in the transition to a low carbon economy. This will require large public and private investment that has to be taken into account in the current negotiations on the new Multiannual Framework, which provides for the Mechanism for Fai rTransition. The introductory remarks by the panellist in this session were given by incoming special envoy on Climate Action and Finance of the UN, Mark Carney, director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder and the Vice-President of the EIB, Emma Navarro. They presented the global perspective of the green transition and the necessary financial instruments to finance it. A fruitful exchange of views between the Members of the national and European Parliaments concluded this session that was co-chaired by EP Vice- President, Mairead Mc Guinness, and Domagoj Ivan Milošević, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Croatian Parliament.

The afternoon plenary session was dedicated to skills and jobs for inclusive growth. Commissioner Nicholas Schmit introduced the subject by presenting the priorities of the European Commission. He reiterated his willingness to promote employment and inclusion, starting with the young people through reinforcing the European Youth Guarantee. The Members of the national Parliaments from the past (Finnish), present (Croatian) and future (German)Presidencies followed his intervention. The debate was moderated by EP Vice-President, Dita Charanzová and by Gordan Maras, Chair of the Labour, Retirement System and Social Partnership Committee of the Croatian Parliament. There were numerous interventions that tackled the development and adaptability of the workforce to the changing need of the labour markets. The green and digital transformation is a great opportunity but at the same time a threat. The adequate education and trainings systems must be developed to harness the potential of this revolution by developing relevant skills and competences. A competitive labour market for 21st century has to be sustainable and secure in creating inclusive growth, Members said.

The 2 days debates contributed to the purpose of bringing together Members of the national and European Parliaments in order to work more closely together on issues related to the European Semester and the current challenges. The aim of the European Parliamentary Week is to increase democratic oversight of EU economic governance and it provides an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles.

The event was organised by the Legislative Dialogue Unit (LDU) in the Directorate for Relations with national Parliaments and the Economic Governance Unit (EGOV), alongside the ECON, EMPL, BUDG Committee Secretariats and DGLINC. This was the ninth edition of this event and the first one for this legislature.

The next meeting of the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union [Article 13 Conference] will take place in Berlin in autumn of this year under the German Presidency.

European Parliamentary Week 2020

For the first time under this term of the European Parliament and in the context of the economic and budgetary policies scrutiny, the European Parliament together with the Croatian Presidency organised the European Parliamentary Week 2020. It took place on 18 and 19 February 2020, at the European Parliament in Brussels. The European Parliamentary Week brings together Parliamentarians from the European Union, candidate and observer countries to discuss economic, budgetary and social matters. It consists of the European Semester Conference and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

The European Semester Conference provides an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles, and to strengthen cooperation in order to scrutinise the actions of the executives at national and European levels within the framework of the European Semester.

The Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union [Article 13 Conference of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact)] provides a framework for debate and exchange of information and best practices in implementing the provisions of the Treaty and aims to strengthen cooperation between national Parliaments and the European Parliament. The Conference also contributes to ensuring democratic accountability in the area of economic governance and budgetary policy in the EU, particularly in the European Monetary Union, taking into account the social dimension and without prejudice to the competences of national Parliaments and the European Parliament.

European Parliamentary Week 2019

In the context of the economic and budgetary policies scrutiny, the European Parliament together with the Romanian Presidency organised the European Parliamentary Week 2019, on 18 and 19 February 2019, at the European Parliament in Brussels. The European Parliamentary Week brought together Parliamentarians from all over the European Union to discuss economic, budgetary and social matters. The event consists of the European Semester Conference and the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union.

The European Semester Conference provides an opportunity to exchange information on best practices in implementing the Semester cycles, and to strengthen cooperation in order to scrutinise the actions of the executives at national and European levels within the framework of the European Semester.

The Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union [Article 13 Conference of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact)] provides a framework for debate and exchange of information and best practices in implementing the provisions of the Treaty and aims to strengthen cooperation between national Parliaments and the European Parliament. The Conference also contributes to ensuring democratic accountability in the area of economic governance and budgetary policy in the EU, particularly in the European Monetary Union, taking into account the social dimension and without prejudice to the competences of national Parliaments and the European Parliament.

European Parliamentary Week 2018

European Parliamentary Week 2017

Background briefings in view of the European Parliamentary Week 2017

European Parliamentary Week 2016

European Parliamentary Week 2015

Background