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Committee hearings in the European Parliament and US Congress

16-07-2021

Hearings are used by parliamentary committees as a way to obtain evidence on specific subjects to inform their work and as public forums to give citizens access to information on policy issues. Committee hearings take different forms depending on their specific purposes. Oversight and legislative hearings are frequently used to hold the executive to account and to inform parliaments' choices as regards proposed or adopted legislation. Investigative hearings, usually held in the context of parliamentary ...

Hearings are used by parliamentary committees as a way to obtain evidence on specific subjects to inform their work and as public forums to give citizens access to information on policy issues. Committee hearings take different forms depending on their specific purposes. Oversight and legislative hearings are frequently used to hold the executive to account and to inform parliaments' choices as regards proposed or adopted legislation. Investigative hearings, usually held in the context of parliamentary inquiries, often have distinctive features, with some parliaments granted the right to summon witnesses and take testimony under oath. Finally, some parliaments have relevant appointment powers as regards key positions in the executive or the judiciary and may use pre-appointment hearings to test the suitability of candidates or extract commitments from them. The European Parliament's committees frequently organise public hearings with experts for oversight and legislative purposes. They also hold public hearings on European citizens' initiatives, once a given initiative has gathered the necessary public support. Also relevant in the European Parliament's committee work are pre-appointment hearings, in particular those held as part of the procedure for appointing the members of the European Commission. European Parliament committees of inquiry can also invite different categories of witnesses to provide evidence. US Congressional committees, meanwhile, hold oversight, investigative, legislative and confirmation hearings, the latter being peculiar to the Senate, as the President has the power to nominate people to key positions in the executive and judiciary branch 'with the advice and consent of the Senate'. In the context of the ongoing internal discussion launched by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, on how to make the Parliament a more resilient and effective institution in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this Briefing provides an overview of how committee hearings are organised and conducted in both the European Parliament and the US Congress.

Breaking the deadlock on strengthening Parliament's right of inquiry

02-06-2021

During the June I plenary session, the Council and the European Commission are expected to answer oral questions put by the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) on the Parliament's proposal to repeal Decision 95/167/EC (which currently governs Parliament's right of inquiry) and adopt a new regulation to strengthen its investigative powers. Pointing out the Council's unwillingness to engage in political negotiations with Parliament on this file, the AFCO committee asks ...

During the June I plenary session, the Council and the European Commission are expected to answer oral questions put by the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) on the Parliament's proposal to repeal Decision 95/167/EC (which currently governs Parliament's right of inquiry) and adopt a new regulation to strengthen its investigative powers. Pointing out the Council's unwillingness to engage in political negotiations with Parliament on this file, the AFCO committee asks the reasons for this deadlock and questions the Council and the Commission on whether they would be willing to go back to the negotiating table.

Data on returns of irregular migrants

23-03-2021

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating to EU return policy.

Recasting the Return Directive

11-03-2021

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU (European Union) legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (from 45.8 % in 2016 to 28.9 % in 2019) and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of EU return policy, in September 2018 the Commission proposed ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU (European Union) legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (from 45.8 % in 2016 to 28.9 % in 2019) and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of EU return policy, in September 2018 the Commission proposed a targeted recast of the directive aiming to 'reduce the length of return procedures, secure a better link between asylum and return procedures, and ensure a more effective use of measures to prevent absconding'. In the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, whereas the Council reached a partial general approach on the proposal, the European Parliament did not reach a position. A draft report was presented to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) but was not adopted. After the 2019 elections, Parliament decided to resume work on the proposal. A new draft report was published on 21 February 2020, but it was not presented in the LIBE committee until 10 September 2020 on account of delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The deadline for tabling amendments expired on 23 September 2020 and the LIBE committee is currently considering the 754 amendments tabled. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Transnational electoral lists: Ways to Europeanise elections to the European Parliament

08-02-2021

Aiming to feed into the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe and debate in the European Parliament on possible reforms of the 1976 European Electoral Act, this paper from the European Parliamentary Research Service analyses the main proposals to create a European constituency (or constituencies), in which Members of the European Parliament would be elected from transnational electoral lists. Such proposals have been discussed over the years in the European Parliament itself, as well as ...

Aiming to feed into the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe and debate in the European Parliament on possible reforms of the 1976 European Electoral Act, this paper from the European Parliamentary Research Service analyses the main proposals to create a European constituency (or constituencies), in which Members of the European Parliament would be elected from transnational electoral lists. Such proposals have been discussed over the years in the European Parliament itself, as well as in other European and national institutions and academia. Following a review of these proposals, the paper then details the legal changes that would be needed at European and national levels to bring the idea to fruition.

States of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis: Normative response and parliamentary oversight in EU Member States during the first wave of the pandemic

04-12-2020

This study examines the normative response of the 27 EU Member States during the first phase of the Covid 19 pandemic (March to mid June 2020) and parliamentary oversight over the measures adopted. The study reveals that Member States' normative responses to the pandemic were generally efficient, as very few of them were not preventively equipped with a set of rules enabling the national authorities to adopt the containment measures needed to address the first peak of the health crisis, and because ...

This study examines the normative response of the 27 EU Member States during the first phase of the Covid 19 pandemic (March to mid June 2020) and parliamentary oversight over the measures adopted. The study reveals that Member States' normative responses to the pandemic were generally efficient, as very few of them were not preventively equipped with a set of rules enabling the national authorities to adopt the containment measures needed to address the first peak of the health crisis, and because the Member States lacking those normative tools were able to adopt the necessary empowering legislative acts quickly. The study also reveals that all EU national parliaments played some role in the management of the pandemic, either through the supervision of the measures adopted by the executive to contain the spread of the virus or through the exercise of their ordinary legislative and budgetary powers to provide the government with the normative tools needed to address the pandemic.

Taking stock of the 2019 European elections

19-11-2020

At its second November plenary session, Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report taking stock of the May 2019 European elections, the ninth direct elections to the European Parliament since the first ones in 1979, and of the subsequent appointment of the College of Commissioners. This report makes concrete proposals to strengthen the electoral process and enhance its European dimension.

At its second November plenary session, Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report taking stock of the May 2019 European elections, the ninth direct elections to the European Parliament since the first ones in 1979, and of the subsequent appointment of the College of Commissioners. This report makes concrete proposals to strengthen the electoral process and enhance its European dimension.

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

02-10-2020

Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enshrines the Union's founding values. As these shared values are binding on Member States and the European Union (EU) institutions, several mechanisms have been created to promote them and ensure they are respected. EU institutions have made several proposals to strengthen the mechanisms. Parliament is due to vote during the October I plenary session on a legislative-initiative report proposing to integrate and reinforce them through an EU mechanism ...

Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enshrines the Union's founding values. As these shared values are binding on Member States and the European Union (EU) institutions, several mechanisms have been created to promote them and ensure they are respected. EU institutions have made several proposals to strengthen the mechanisms. Parliament is due to vote during the October I plenary session on a legislative-initiative report proposing to integrate and reinforce them through an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF).

Protecting EU common values within the Member States: An overview of monitoring, prevention and enforcement mechanisms at EU level

25-09-2020

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm ...

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm of Article 7 TEU) and enforcement mechanisms (preliminary reference rulings, infringement procedures and the sanctions arm of Article 7 TEU)). It also analyses a number of proposed mechanisms: the pact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights; rule of law review cycle; reviewed Council dialogues on the rule of law; and the rule of law budgetary conditionality.

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.

Kommende begivenheder

07-09-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable: What is the future of (European) sovereignty?
Anden begivenhed -
EPRS
08-09-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable: Statistics, Data and Trust: Why figures matter [...]
Anden begivenhed -
EPRS
21-09-2021
EPRS online Book Talk with David Harley: Matters of Record: Inside European Politics
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EPRS

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