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The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 presented parliamentary institutions around the world with a new and unprecedented scenario. Parliamentary rules of procedure in representative democracies are commonly built upon the principles of pluralism, deliberation and transparency, aiming to provide an arena in which representatives of the people have the opportunity to publicly confront each other's points of view in a free and fair setting. It is, therefore, safe to say that ordinary ...

On 10 January 2022, Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) held a hearing on the partial renewal of members of the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Subsequently, CONT gave a favourable opinion on three candidates: Czech nominee Jan Gregor (renewal), Latvian nominee Mihails Kozlovs (renewal) and Slovenian nominee Kristijan Petrovič (new candidate). CONT gave an unfavourable opinion, however, on the renewal of Polish nominee Marek Opioła's mandate. A plenary vote is scheduled for the January ...

Spain’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) is one of the biggest financed by the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument. It contains the largest amount, in terms of grants, under the unprecedented EU response to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For the time being, Spain has decided to use its national allocation for grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The proposed and approved amount (€69.5 billion) represents 9.6 % of the entire RRF, equal to 5.6 ...

As part of building a European Health Union, as well as in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, the European Commission proposed in November 2020 to reinforce the European Medicines Agency's role in crisis preparedness and the management of medicines and medical devices. The proposed regulation seeks to better anticipate possible shortages and to ensure timely development of high-quality medicinal solutions, to allow the EU to react to health crises more quickly, efficiently, and in a coordinated manner ...

In December 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a digital services act (DSA) designed to define clear responsibilities and accountability for digital service providers and promote a transparent and safer online environment. New rules are proposed to address emerging societal challenges such as the spread of counterfeit goods, hate speech and disinformation online. The new rules, once adopted, will re-shape the rights and obligations of digital service providers, online users, customers ...

Protests erupted in Kazakhstan on 2 January 2022 and quickly span out of control, resulting in multiple deaths and several days of chaos. Although initially triggered by a fuel price hike, the unrest points to deeper causes of discontent, including poverty, inequality and frustration at the lack of political change. A Russia-led peacekeeping mission has helped to restore order, but could also compromise Kazakh independence.

ANIT inquiry committee concludes its work

Sracfhéachaint 13-01-2022

Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 had a positive impact on animal welfare during transport after its entry into force; however, its implementation is not yet harmonised across the European Union (EU). To investigate its application across Member States and whether the European Commission is enforcing them properly, the European Parliament set up a Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT) in June 2020, which led to the drafting of a report and recommendations. A final ...

In absolute figures, Italy’s Recovery and Resilience Plan is the largest national plan under the unprecedented EU response to the crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Italy has decided to use its entire national allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), including its loan component. Totalling €191.5 billion, these resources represent 26.5 % of the entire RRF, equal to 10.7 % of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 (the RRF being 5.2 % of EU-27 GDP in 2019 ...

Since 2008, when the European Union introduced elaborate sustainable development provisions into its agreement with the Cariforum group of states, provisions on labour rights and the environment have become a central part of most of the EU's subsequent trade agreements, the one with South Korea (2011) being the first to contain a dedicated chapter. These provisions continue to evolve: for instance, recent agreements with some of the EU's developed partners, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, ...

Right to repair

Briefing 12-01-2022

The European Commission has announced the establishment of a 'right to repair', with a view of saving costs for consumers and facilitating the development of a circular economy. The right to repair may refer to different issues and situations: repair during the legal guarantee, the right to repair after the legal guarantee has expired, and the right for consumers to repair products themselves. Rates of repair depend on the type of a product, with the cost of repair being the most important reason ...