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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.

Plenary round-up – July 2021

09-07-2021

During the July 2021 plenary session in Strasbourg, Parliament continued to debate and adopt Multiannual Financial Framework programmes for 2021-2027, this time finalising programmes in the justice and home affairs, fisheries and infrastructure areas. Debates on a number of Council and Commission statements were held, including on the programme of activities of the Slovenian Council Presidency, on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021, on the Commission’s 2022 work programme ...

During the July 2021 plenary session in Strasbourg, Parliament continued to debate and adopt Multiannual Financial Framework programmes for 2021-2027, this time finalising programmes in the justice and home affairs, fisheries and infrastructure areas. Debates on a number of Council and Commission statements were held, including on the programme of activities of the Slovenian Council Presidency, on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021, on the Commission’s 2022 work programme, on the state of play of implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate Regulation, on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in aviation, and on the 70th anniversary of the Geneva (refugee) Convention. A number of other debates were held, inter alia on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary and Poland, on amendments to the Visa Information System, and on European Investment Bank activities in 2019. Members also debated international policy issues – the situation in Nicaragua, the repression of the opposition in Turkey, and the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Disinformation campaigns about LGBTI+ people in the EU and foreign influence

02-07-2021

The purpose of this briefing is to give a concise overview of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda campaigns about LGBTI+ persons and rights, originating from or being supported and/or multiplied by actors outside the EU. Based on a review of existing literature, the briefing examines the main narratives used, supported and circulated, as well as which actors or group of actors are involved. Where available, information on methods, funding and impacts on European values is provided. The ...

The purpose of this briefing is to give a concise overview of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda campaigns about LGBTI+ persons and rights, originating from or being supported and/or multiplied by actors outside the EU. Based on a review of existing literature, the briefing examines the main narratives used, supported and circulated, as well as which actors or group of actors are involved. Where available, information on methods, funding and impacts on European values is provided. The main narratives identified include negative othering, opposing a ‘gender ideology’, ‘heteroactivism’, restoring a ‘natural’ order, ‘colonialism’ and child safety. The briefing concludes that there is a need for more research, further harmonisation of legal frameworks, the scrutiny of financial flows and strengthened capacity to detect disinformation, misinformation, propaganda and hate speech.

Parlamendiväline autor

Cecilia STRAND, Jakob SVENSSON, Roland BLOMEYER, Margarita SANZ

The Slovenian Parliament and EU affairs

01-07-2021

Since 1991 the Republic of Slovenia has had a parliamentary system composed of the Državni zbor (National Assembly) and the Državni svet (National Council). The Slovenian Parliament has the features of an 'incomplete bicameral system', based on 'asymmetric duality' – the National Council has less authority and fewer competences than the National Assembly, in accordance with Chapter IV of the Constitution. The National Assembly is described as the 'supreme representative and legislative institution ...

Since 1991 the Republic of Slovenia has had a parliamentary system composed of the Državni zbor (National Assembly) and the Državni svet (National Council). The Slovenian Parliament has the features of an 'incomplete bicameral system', based on 'asymmetric duality' – the National Council has less authority and fewer competences than the National Assembly, in accordance with Chapter IV of the Constitution. The National Assembly is described as the 'supreme representative and legislative institution, exercising legislative and electoral powers as well as control over the Executive'. Its members are elected every four years from nine constituencies by a universal, equal, direct, and secret vote. Different, specific, rules apply to the election of one member each of the Italian and Hungarian national communities. The Government of Slovenia is accountable to the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister is elected by the National Assembly by a majority vote of all of its members. This briefing is part of an EPRS series on national parliaments (NPs) and EU affairs. It aims to provide an overview of the way the NPs of EU Member States are structured and how they process, scrutinise and engage with EU legislation. It also provides information on relevant NP publications.

Regulating targeted and behavioural advertising in digital services. How to ensure users’ informed consent.

01-07-2021

The study addresses the regulation of targeted and behavioural advertising in the context of digital services. Marketing methods and technologies deployed in behavioural and target advertising are presented. The EU law on consent to the processing of personal data is analysed, in connection with advertising practices. Ways of improving the quality of consent are discussed as well as ways of restricting its scope as a legal basis for the processing of personal data. This study is commissioned by ...

The study addresses the regulation of targeted and behavioural advertising in the context of digital services. Marketing methods and technologies deployed in behavioural and target advertising are presented. The EU law on consent to the processing of personal data is analysed, in connection with advertising practices. Ways of improving the quality of consent are discussed as well as ways of restricting its scope as a legal basis for the processing of personal data. This study is commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.

Plenary round-up – June II 2021

25-06-2021

During the June II 2021 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament continued to debate and adopt programmes financed under the multiannual financial framework for 2021 2027, specifically this session in the areas of regional development, with the Common Provisions Regulation, European Territorial Cooperation Regulation, European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund all finalised. Important debates on Council and European Commission statements were held, in particular on the preparation of the ...

During the June II 2021 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament continued to debate and adopt programmes financed under the multiannual financial framework for 2021 2027, specifically this session in the areas of regional development, with the Common Provisions Regulation, European Territorial Cooperation Regulation, European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund all finalised. Important debates on Council and European Commission statements were held, in particular on the preparation of the European Council meeting on 24 25 June 2021 and the relaunch of the Malta Declaration on external aspects of migration, on the urgent need to complete nominations for the full functioning of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, and on the future of EU-Swiss relations. Members also debated and adopted, inter alia, the proposed European Climate Law, the Public Sector Loan Facility, and discussed the Commission's 2020 rule of law report. António Guterres, the recently re-elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, addressed Parliament in a formal sitting.

The impact of disinformation campaigns about migrants and minority groups in the EU

24-06-2021

This analysis, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE), aims to explore the impact of disinformation activity originated or amplified from abroad targeting minorities in the EU over the years 2018-2021. While disinformation has become all-pervasive, it can be considered as yet another tool being used to target vulnerable groups in society. Looking at recent disinformation ...

This analysis, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE), aims to explore the impact of disinformation activity originated or amplified from abroad targeting minorities in the EU over the years 2018-2021. While disinformation has become all-pervasive, it can be considered as yet another tool being used to target vulnerable groups in society. Looking at recent disinformation campaigns that ethnic, religious and cultural minorities have been subjected to, this study finds both direct and indirect links between disinformation and fundamental rights, such as human dignity or physical and mental integrity, along with core European values, including equality, the rule of law and solidarity. The Roma are found to be victims of domestic disinformation, while migrants and the Jewish community are targeted by the Kremlin. The research found that disinformation by foreign and domestic actors as well as disinformation and organic content are increasingly merging, rendering measures to stop foreign disinformation more difficult.

Parlamendiväline autor

Judit SZAKÁCS, Éva BOGNÁR

Studies with a ‘Covid 19 angle’

23-06-2021

When the pandemic loomed over us in spring 2020, we asked experts to analyze whether it was possible to introduce a Covid angle into their studies. In many cases, it seemed prima facie a bit far-fetched. However, it soon became apparent that even in our area of work there were interesting aspects to investigate. This publication groups together the most relevant parts of the studies published so far and in which a Covid 19 angle has been presented and discussed.

When the pandemic loomed over us in spring 2020, we asked experts to analyze whether it was possible to introduce a Covid angle into their studies. In many cases, it seemed prima facie a bit far-fetched. However, it soon became apparent that even in our area of work there were interesting aspects to investigate. This publication groups together the most relevant parts of the studies published so far and in which a Covid 19 angle has been presented and discussed.

Reform of the European Ombudsman's Statute

21-06-2021

During the June II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to adopt a new European Parliament regulation governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman) to replace the existing statute, adopted in 2008. This follows a debate on the new text during the June I session and subsequent consent to the draft from the Council. This is an updated edition of an 'at a glance' note published ahead of the June I plenary session.

During the June II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to adopt a new European Parliament regulation governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman) to replace the existing statute, adopted in 2008. This follows a debate on the new text during the June I session and subsequent consent to the draft from the Council. This is an updated edition of an 'at a glance' note published ahead of the June I plenary session.

Priority dossiers under the Slovenian EU Council Presidency

21-06-2021

Slovenia will, in the second half of 2021, hold its second Presidency of the Council of the EU since joining the EU in 2004. It will conclude the work of the Trio Presidency composed of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. Slovenia is a democratic parliamentary republic with a proportional electoral system. The Slovenian parliament is bicameral, made up of the National Assembly (composed of 90 members) and the National Council (composed of 40 members). In the National Assembly, there are 88 representatives ...

Slovenia will, in the second half of 2021, hold its second Presidency of the Council of the EU since joining the EU in 2004. It will conclude the work of the Trio Presidency composed of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. Slovenia is a democratic parliamentary republic with a proportional electoral system. The Slovenian parliament is bicameral, made up of the National Assembly (composed of 90 members) and the National Council (composed of 40 members). In the National Assembly, there are 88 representatives of political parties and two representatives of the Italian and Hungarian national communities, the latter two elected to represent their interests. The National Assembly elects the Prime Minister and the government. The current government is a four-party coalition, made up of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS); the Modern Centre Party (SMC), the Democratic Party of Slovenian Pensioners (DeSUS) and New Slovenia—Christian Democrats (NSi). The Prime Minister, Mr Janez Janša from the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), was elected to office on 3 March 2020. The next general elections in Slovenia will take place no later than 5 June 2022. Other political parties represented in parliament are the List of Marjan Šarec (LMS), Social Democrats (SD), Party of Alenka Bratušek (SAB), The Left, and the Slovenian National Party (SNS).

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