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Access to the international market for coach and bus services

16-04-2019

The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In ...

The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In an attempt to address the issue, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on 8 November 2017 to amend the EU rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services. The proposal is part of its 'Europe on the Move' package, which aims to modernise European mobility and transport. The European Parliament adopted its position on the proposal on 14 February 2019. However, interinstitutional negotiations cannot yet begin, as the Council has not reached a common position on the file. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Is transparency the key to citizens’ trust?

11-04-2019

Trust in political institutions is a key element of representative democracies. Trust in the rule of law is also the basis for democratic participation of citizens. According to the spring 2018 Eurobarometer survey of public awareness of the EU institutions, 50 % of respondents indicated they trust the European Parliament, which represents a 34 % increase since the beginning of the 2014-2019 legislative term. A transparent political decision-making processes has become a common objective to help ...

Trust in political institutions is a key element of representative democracies. Trust in the rule of law is also the basis for democratic participation of citizens. According to the spring 2018 Eurobarometer survey of public awareness of the EU institutions, 50 % of respondents indicated they trust the European Parliament, which represents a 34 % increase since the beginning of the 2014-2019 legislative term. A transparent political decision-making processes has become a common objective to help strengthen citizens’ trust in policy-makers and enhance the accountability of public administrations. In this regard, regulation of lobbying (the exchange between policy makers and stakeholders), and bolstering the integrity of this process, is often considered a vital ingredient. Public expectations for increased transparency of the exchange between policy-makers and interest representatives varies from one political system to the next, but it has increasingly become a topic of debate for parliaments across Europe, and a regular demand during election campaigns.

Review of status of the Commission’s register of expert groups and their composition

30-11-2018

This report aims to provide insights into the development, since 2016, of the European Commission’s system of Expert Groups, including the Register of Expert Groups, thus updating the European Parliament’s study ‘Composition of the Commission’s expert groups and the status of the register of expert groups’ (September 2015). The Update finds that the European Commission’s revised Horizontal Rules, introduced in May 2016, triggered important improvements in terms of balance of interests, transparency ...

This report aims to provide insights into the development, since 2016, of the European Commission’s system of Expert Groups, including the Register of Expert Groups, thus updating the European Parliament’s study ‘Composition of the Commission’s expert groups and the status of the register of expert groups’ (September 2015). The Update finds that the European Commission’s revised Horizontal Rules, introduced in May 2016, triggered important improvements in terms of balance of interests, transparency and gender balance. Notwithstanding, there is further room for enhancing the system, and this Update recommends: further strengthening balance with a specific focus on the Expert Groups that continue to experience imbalance; further enhance transparency of Expert Group deliberations; remind Expert Groups about the requirement for gender balance; for the European Commission to report on the system and evaluate the system’s performance; and to conduct further research on specific types of Expert Group members and the use of Expert Groups.

Parlamendiväline autor

Roland Blomeyer, Margarita Sanz, Veronika Kubekova and Mike Beke

From post-truth to post-trust?

25-10-2018

Is the 'very concept of objective truth' fading out of the world, as George Orwell wrote in his Homage to Catalonia in the 1930s? Or is truth even 'dead', as Time magazine asked in 2017? Can we draw clear lines between objective facts, spin and lies? What are the consequences of 'truth decay' for trust, democracy and multilateralism?

Is the 'very concept of objective truth' fading out of the world, as George Orwell wrote in his Homage to Catalonia in the 1930s? Or is truth even 'dead', as Time magazine asked in 2017? Can we draw clear lines between objective facts, spin and lies? What are the consequences of 'truth decay' for trust, democracy and multilateralism?

New lobbying law in France

04-07-2018

Since 1 May 2018, France's new lobbying law is fully implemented. Part and parcel of recent legislation on transparency (Sapin II package), it was adopted on 9 December 2016, providing a regulatory framework for lobbying activities and establishing a mandatory national register ('le repertoire') for lobbyists. In a step-by-step process, first, the repertoire, in which all active interest representatives must sign up, was created on 1 July 2017. After registering by 1 January 2018, interest representatives ...

Since 1 May 2018, France's new lobbying law is fully implemented. Part and parcel of recent legislation on transparency (Sapin II package), it was adopted on 9 December 2016, providing a regulatory framework for lobbying activities and establishing a mandatory national register ('le repertoire') for lobbyists. In a step-by-step process, first, the repertoire, in which all active interest representatives must sign up, was created on 1 July 2017. After registering by 1 January 2018, interest representatives were then under the obligation to report their lobbying activities in this repertoire by 30 April 2018. The repertoire, with just over 1 00 registrants to date, is overseen by the 'Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique' (HATVP). In France, the cultural acceptance of lobbying as a profession has been slow, and the new law will make a huge difference in terms of making lobbying activities public, with a regulation closely following the Irish example. The Sapin II package aims for a general increase in public accountability and transparency of the decision-making processes. Some incremental steps in this direction had been taken previously, primarily with the establishment of the HATVP in January 2014 as an independent body to oversee the integrity and transparency of the national public institutions.

Revolving doors in the EU and US

04-07-2018

The flow of officials and politicians between the public and private sector has in the past few years given rise to calls for more transparency and accountability. In order to mitigate the reputational damage to public institutions by problematic use of the 'revolving door', this phenomenon is increasingly being regulated at national level. In the United States, President Trump recently changed the rules put in place by his predecessor to slow the revolving door. As shown by press coverage, the US ...

The flow of officials and politicians between the public and private sector has in the past few years given rise to calls for more transparency and accountability. In order to mitigate the reputational damage to public institutions by problematic use of the 'revolving door', this phenomenon is increasingly being regulated at national level. In the United States, President Trump recently changed the rules put in place by his predecessor to slow the revolving door. As shown by press coverage, the US public remains unconvinced. Scepticism may be fuelled by new exceptions made to the rules – retroactive ethics pledge waivers – and the refusal of the White House to disclose the numbers or beneficiaries of said waivers. Watchdog organisations argue that not only has the Trump administration so far failed to 'drain the swamp', it has ended up doing quite the opposite. In the EU, where revolving door cases are increasingly being covered in the media, both the European Parliament and Commission have adopted Codes of Conduct, regulating the activities of current and former Members, Commissioners, and even staff. The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has on numerous occasions spoken out in favour of further measures, such as 'cooling-off periods', and has carried out several inquiries into potentially problematic revolving door cases. Following calls from Parliament, the Juncker Commission adopted a new and stronger Code of Conduct for Commissioners early in 2018. Even so, no one single Code can hope to bring an end to the debate.

Regulating lobbying in Canada

03-05-2017

The recent populist backlash against traditional political systems in many countries has put the issue of ethics at the forefront of government attempts to demonstrate that public policy is carried out without undue influence or interference from vested interests. As one of the first four countries in the world to regulate parliamentary lobbying activities, Canada provides an interesting example of legislation aimed at boosting transparency, honesty and integrity in public decision-making. Evolving ...

The recent populist backlash against traditional political systems in many countries has put the issue of ethics at the forefront of government attempts to demonstrate that public policy is carried out without undue influence or interference from vested interests. As one of the first four countries in the world to regulate parliamentary lobbying activities, Canada provides an interesting example of legislation aimed at boosting transparency, honesty and integrity in public decision-making. Evolving from the 1989 Lobbyists Registration Act, today’s Lobbying Act lays out the types of activities concerned and the processes of lobbying regulation, including sanctions, leading to a new wave of investigations and rulings. While a decision on the European Commission’s proposal for an obligatory transparency register is awaited, registration with the Registry of Lobbyists in Canada is already mandatory for any individual who is paid to carry out lobbying activities, on their own or on behalf of others. Lobbying activities are considered to include all oral and arranged communications with a public office about legislative proposals, bills, resolutions or grants. Consultant lobbyists must also declare meetings held with public office-holders, and communications they make regarding contracts for grants, on a monthly basis. Reporting takes the form of regular monthly ‘returns’, lodged with the Commissioner of Lobbying. In cases of conviction for a breach of the rules, sanctions can include fines and imprisonment. The lobbyists’ code of conduct, established in consultation with the lobbying community, is enforced by the Commissioner of Lobbying and provides guidance on access to public office-holders, conflicts of interest, and gifts. However, there are no fines or imprisonment for breaches of this code.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

16-01-2017

This paper provides an overview of fossil fuel subsidies globally and in the EU, as well as a summary of key components of successful reform efforts and why reform can be difficult to achieve for governments. This analysis was provided by Policy Department A for the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

This paper provides an overview of fossil fuel subsidies globally and in the EU, as well as a summary of key components of successful reform efforts and why reform can be difficult to achieve for governments. This analysis was provided by Policy Department A for the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Regulation of lobbying across the EU

07-12-2016

The infographic illustrates in broad terms the differences between Member States’ approaches to regulating lobbying (legislation or soft-regulation), as well as the existence of codes of conduct for lobbyists (either provided for by legislation, or through self-regulation by lobbyists’ organisations), and registers of lobbyists (mandatory or voluntary).

The infographic illustrates in broad terms the differences between Member States’ approaches to regulating lobbying (legislation or soft-regulation), as well as the existence of codes of conduct for lobbyists (either provided for by legislation, or through self-regulation by lobbyists’ organisations), and registers of lobbyists (mandatory or voluntary).

Knowledge and Know-How: The Role of Self-Defence in the Prevention of Violence against Women

18-11-2016

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request by the FEMM Committee, examined research on the effectiveness of self-defence and its place in policies at EU and Member State levels. It concludes that there is a growing evidence base that feminist self-defence can be effective in preventing violence. Whilst references to self-defence are present in the EU and Council of Europe policy documents, they are not substantial ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request by the FEMM Committee, examined research on the effectiveness of self-defence and its place in policies at EU and Member State levels. It concludes that there is a growing evidence base that feminist self-defence can be effective in preventing violence. Whilst references to self-defence are present in the EU and Council of Europe policy documents, they are not substantial and yet to be developed into a coherent approach. Self-defence should be considered a promising practice and be better promoted and supported. More space should be made for it in policy, financing and research.

Parlamendiväline autor

Liz Kelly and Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

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