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The role (and accountability) of the President of the Eurogroup

11-02-2021

This note provides an overview of the role of the President of the Eurogroup, the procedures for his/her appointment, as well as proposals on a “full time position” as part of the wider debate on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The note also briefly addresses the mandate and working methods of the Eurogroup. In addition, this note refers to the debate around the transparency of Eurogroup proceedings. It is updated regularly.

This note provides an overview of the role of the President of the Eurogroup, the procedures for his/her appointment, as well as proposals on a “full time position” as part of the wider debate on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The note also briefly addresses the mandate and working methods of the Eurogroup. In addition, this note refers to the debate around the transparency of Eurogroup proceedings. It is updated regularly.

Commitments made at the hearings of the Commissioners-designate - von der Leyen Commission 2019-2024

16-10-2020

This document provides links to all Briefings produced by the Policy Departments of the Directorate-General for Internal Policies and of the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament, with salient points and essential commitments made by the Vice-Presidents and Commissioners-designates at their respective hearings before the European Parliament, in September-November 2019 and in October 2020. For an exhaustive list of all commitments made and positions taken by the candidates ...

This document provides links to all Briefings produced by the Policy Departments of the Directorate-General for Internal Policies and of the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament, with salient points and essential commitments made by the Vice-Presidents and Commissioners-designates at their respective hearings before the European Parliament, in September-November 2019 and in October 2020. For an exhaustive list of all commitments made and positions taken by the candidates, the full verbatim report of each public hearing is available on the dedicated hearings website of the European Parliament, as are the written questions and answers.

Commitments made at the hearing of Valdis Dombrovskis Commissioner for Trade

08-10-2020

The Commission Executive Vice-President/Commissioner-designate, Valdis Dombrovskis, appeared before the European Parliament on 02 October 2020 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on International Trade, in association with the Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on Development and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio as Trade Commissioner, as described ...

The Commission Executive Vice-President/Commissioner-designate, Valdis Dombrovskis, appeared before the European Parliament on 02 October 2020 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on International Trade, in association with the Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on Development and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio as Trade Commissioner, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - A level playing field for all; - Strengthening Europe’s global leadership; - Trade for sustainable development and climate action

Background Reader On The European Semester Autumn 2020 Edition

08-10-2020

This fourth edition of the background reader on the European Semester, prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit (EGOV) in the Directorate for Economic and Scientific Policies of the European Parliament, provides an overview of publications related to the European Semester from a parliamentary perspective. It aims at further increasing the links between Members of the European Parliament and national Parliaments, notably during inter-parliamentary meetings.

This fourth edition of the background reader on the European Semester, prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit (EGOV) in the Directorate for Economic and Scientific Policies of the European Parliament, provides an overview of publications related to the European Semester from a parliamentary perspective. It aims at further increasing the links between Members of the European Parliament and national Parliaments, notably during inter-parliamentary meetings.

An EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights

30-09-2020

This European Added Value Assessment assesses the potential added value of an EU pact on Democracy the Rule of law and Fundamental rights covering all Member States as proposed by the European Parliament, comparing it to the European Commission's approach in its annual rule of law report, which only covers the rule of law and further integration requiring Treaty change. It concludes that the pact proposed by the European Parliament would lead to significant benefits in terms of more effective monitoring ...

This European Added Value Assessment assesses the potential added value of an EU pact on Democracy the Rule of law and Fundamental rights covering all Member States as proposed by the European Parliament, comparing it to the European Commission's approach in its annual rule of law report, which only covers the rule of law and further integration requiring Treaty change. It concludes that the pact proposed by the European Parliament would lead to significant benefits in terms of more effective monitoring and enforcement of EU values. An approximation of its potential positive effects on the EU economy indicates annual gains of €413 billion corresponding to 3.3 % of EU GDP, far outweighing the costs of its development.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, September 2020

18-09-2020

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special ...

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special European Council focusing on Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, on the consequences for the single market of EU coordination of sanitary measures in the ongoing pandemic, on combatting sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and on the need for a humanitarian EU response to the situation in the Moria refugee camp. Parliament also debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the situation in Belarus, in Lebanon and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Parliament also voted on legislative proposals and resolutions, including on arms exports, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU Association Agreement with Georgia, protecting world forests, EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel, type approval of motor vehicles and the importance of urban and green infrastructure.

The European Parliament’s carbon footprint: Towards carbon neutrality

14-09-2020

The study analyses the European Parliament’s (EP) carbon footprint in the context of the recent EP resolutions, in which it declared a climate emergency in Europe and requested the development of a strategy to become itself carbon-neutral by 2030. The analysis takes into account the various sources contributing to the EP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including those related to its function in three different sites and the traveling of its Members and staff. This document was prepared by the Policy ...

The study analyses the European Parliament’s (EP) carbon footprint in the context of the recent EP resolutions, in which it declared a climate emergency in Europe and requested the development of a strategy to become itself carbon-neutral by 2030. The analysis takes into account the various sources contributing to the EP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including those related to its function in three different sites and the traveling of its Members and staff. This document was prepared by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, and the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Unit at the request of the committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

The State of the Union debate in the European Parliament, 2020

11-09-2020

The State of the Union address of 2020 will be delivered at a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to create challenges for the European Union and its Member States. At the same time, the the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's long-term budget, is yet to be agreed. Unresolved challenges also include ensuring respect for EU values (Article 2 TEU) in the Member States, addressing the threat of climate change, and ensuring Europe is fit for the digital age. The tradition of ...

The State of the Union address of 2020 will be delivered at a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to create challenges for the European Union and its Member States. At the same time, the the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU's long-term budget, is yet to be agreed. Unresolved challenges also include ensuring respect for EU values (Article 2 TEU) in the Member States, addressing the threat of climate change, and ensuring Europe is fit for the digital age. The tradition of EU State of the Union addresses, delivered by the President of the European Commission before the European Parliament, dates back to 2010. The address takes stock of the achievements of the past year and presents the priorities for the year ahead. The State of the Union speech constitutes an important instrument for the European Commission's ex-ante accountability vis-à-vis Parliament. 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 of America, 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. By 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. Former Commission Presidents José Manuel Barroso (2010 to 2013, marked mainly by the economic and financial crisis) and President Jean Claude Juncker each gave four State of the Union speeches. In his 2015 address, Jean Claude Juncker presented new proposals on migration, external action, and economic and fiscal policy. In 2016, he announced new initiatives to invest in Europe's young people, jobseekers and start-ups, to expand public access to wifi, and make fairer copyright laws. In 2017, he proposed a roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic union. In his final speech in 2018, he called for a more sovereign Europe that allows its nations to be global players, setting out proposals on migration, cybersecurity and foreign policy. This briefing further updates an earlier one, from September 2016, originally written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

The State of the Union 2020 [What Think Tanks are thinking]

11-09-2020

In what has now become a tradition, every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers a State of the Union address before the European Parliament, taking stock of achievements over the past year and presenting priorities for the year ahead. Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, followed by a debate in plenary. In essence, the Commission’s position is that the priorities that it set out at the beginning of its current ...

In what has now become a tradition, every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers a State of the Union address before the European Parliament, taking stock of achievements over the past year and presenting priorities for the year ahead. Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, followed by a debate in plenary. In essence, the Commission’s position is that the priorities that it set out at the beginning of its current mandate remain valid, but with both major challenges and opportunities arising from the coronavirus pandemic. After some initial criticism of ‘too little action, too late’, EU institutions are now working flat out to help to address various aspects of the crisis. Notably, the European Council has agreed on a major financial boost to fight the economic effects of the pandemic, including a measure of common debt. The Commission is also actively pursuing, in parallel, the European Green Deal, the digital agenda, making Europe stronger in the world, a new push for European democracy and efforts to make the economy work for people. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on the state of the union and related issues.

Replacement of individual Commissioners

08-09-2020

On 26 August 2020, Commissioner Phil Hogan tendered his resignation to the President of the European Commission following controversy over his participation in an Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Golf Society dinner attended by more than 80 people, despite the applicable Irish public health guidelines adopted to contain the spread of Covid-19 limiting gatherings to a fraction of that number. In addition, questions were raised as to whether he had complied with applicable restrictions on movements after ...

On 26 August 2020, Commissioner Phil Hogan tendered his resignation to the President of the European Commission following controversy over his participation in an Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Golf Society dinner attended by more than 80 people, despite the applicable Irish public health guidelines adopted to contain the spread of Covid-19 limiting gatherings to a fraction of that number. In addition, questions were raised as to whether he had complied with applicable restrictions on movements after his arrival in Ireland. Although President Ursula von der Leyen had not formally requested his resignation, she accepted it and thanked Commissioner Hogan for 'his tireless and successful work' during the current mandate as Trade Commissioner and in his previous mandate as Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner. Consequently, the procedure to replace him has started, with President von der Leyen requesting that the Irish government propose both a female and a male candidate. On 4 September, the Irish government proposed two candidates to replace Phil Hogan: Mairead McGuinness, current European Parliament First Vice-President, and Andrew McDowell, a recent European Investment Bank Vice-President. On 8 September, President von der Leyen announced she had chosen Mairead McGuinness, and that she would take over financial services, financial stability and the capital markets union from Valdis Dombrovskis. The latter would take the trade portfolio permanently (having already taken it temporarily in the meantime), while continuing in his role of Executive Vice-President. Parliament is now expected to organise hearings with both.

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