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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.

Road transport: Enforcement and special provisions for posted workers

07-07-2020

The EU has established a range of social measures applicable to the road transport sector, which aim at improving drivers' working conditions, road safety and competition. To give real substance to these measures, compliance is key. The 2006 Enforcement Directive was therefore adopted to effectively implement the social provisions of the Driving Time Regulation. The present proposal, published in the context of the European Commission's 2017 'Europe on the move' initiative, seeks to remedy some shortcomings ...

The EU has established a range of social measures applicable to the road transport sector, which aim at improving drivers' working conditions, road safety and competition. To give real substance to these measures, compliance is key. The 2006 Enforcement Directive was therefore adopted to effectively implement the social provisions of the Driving Time Regulation. The present proposal, published in the context of the European Commission's 2017 'Europe on the move' initiative, seeks to remedy some shortcomings of the Enforcement Directive, such as non-uniform implementation. Additionally, it puts forward specific rules on the posting of workers in the road sector, to respond to concerns raised regarding the inadequacy of the Posting of Workers Directive, when applied to the road transport sector. The European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) adopted its report in June 2018. After further debates and procedural developments, the Parliament adopted its first-reading position on 4 April 2019. The Council agreed a general approach in December 2018, under the Austrian Presidency. After four rounds of negotiations, Parliament and Council reached provisional agreement on the proposal on 12 December 2019, subsequently approved by Coreper on 20 December. The Council formally adopted its first-reading position on 7 April 2020, and on 8 June the TRAN committee recommended Parliament approve it at second reading. The agreed text thus returns to plenary in July for a final vote at second reading. Its adoption would put an end to three years of debate on a complex and controversial proposal. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Road transport: Driving, breaks, rest times and tachographs

07-07-2020

The Driving Time and Tachograph Regulations were adopted to improve drivers' working conditions and road safety, as well as to enhance compliance with the rules, and competition between road operators. In the context of the European Commission's 2017 'Europe on the move' package, the present proposal aims to remedy the shortcomings of these regulations, on which a broad consensus has emerged: lack of clarity, non-uniform implementation, insufficient enforcement and a need for strengthened cooperation ...

The Driving Time and Tachograph Regulations were adopted to improve drivers' working conditions and road safety, as well as to enhance compliance with the rules, and competition between road operators. In the context of the European Commission's 2017 'Europe on the move' package, the present proposal aims to remedy the shortcomings of these regulations, on which a broad consensus has emerged: lack of clarity, non-uniform implementation, insufficient enforcement and a need for strengthened cooperation between Member States and authorities. In June 2018, Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) adopted its report. After further debate and procedural developments, Parliament adopted its first-reading position on 4 April 2019. The Council, on its side, reached a general approach on the proposal in December 2018, under the Austrian Presidency. After four negotiating rounds, the Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the proposal on 12 December 2019, which was approved by Coreper on 20 December. The Council formally adopted its first-reading position on 7 April 2020, and on 8 June the TRAN committee recommended approving it at second reading. The agreed text thus now returns to plenary for a vote at second reading in July. If adopted, this would put an end to three years of debate on a complex and controversial proposal. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The German Parliament and EU affairs

01-07-2020

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not ...

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not confer legislative power on the Federation. Federal law takes precedence over Länder law. Areas of exclusive federal legislation, such as foreign policy, defence and trade, are governed at federal level. In areas of concurrent legislation, the Länder can adopt legislation as long as there is no existing federal legislation. Over time, federal legislation has been expanding. Only in some areas, for example in education, culture, police and administrative law, have the Länder retained their exclusive legislative powers. This briefing is part of an EPRS series on national parliaments and EU affairs. It aims to provide an overview of the way the national parliaments of EU Member States are structured and how they process, scrutinise and engage with EU legislation. It also provides information on relevant publications of the national parliaments.

Europeanising European Public Spheres

15-06-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, provides a brief overview of the academic debates on Europeanisation as well as contestation and politicisation of the EU and European integration. Against this background, it focuses on the European public sphere(s), in particular those based on the media and parliaments. The study further discusses current reform proposals aiming to Europeanise ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, provides a brief overview of the academic debates on Europeanisation as well as contestation and politicisation of the EU and European integration. Against this background, it focuses on the European public sphere(s), in particular those based on the media and parliaments. The study further discusses current reform proposals aiming to Europeanise the European elections and concludes with recommendations on increasing the legitimacy of the European Union.

Külső szerző

Katrin AUEL, Guido TIEMANN

Better Regulation practices in national parliaments

03-06-2020

Ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation are regulatory policy tools that help inform the policy-making process with evidence-based analysis. Both tools are geared towards raising the quality of policies and legislation. While Better Regulation is widely deemed a prerogative of the executive branch, increasingly, parliaments are also emerging as actors. This study sheds light on the parliamentary dimension of Better Regulation. Based on a survey, it maps the capacities and experiences of ...

Ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation are regulatory policy tools that help inform the policy-making process with evidence-based analysis. Both tools are geared towards raising the quality of policies and legislation. While Better Regulation is widely deemed a prerogative of the executive branch, increasingly, parliaments are also emerging as actors. This study sheds light on the parliamentary dimension of Better Regulation. Based on a survey, it maps the capacities and experiences of the national parliaments of all 27 European Union (EU) Member States and of 11 further Council of Europe countries in the field of ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation. The study reveals that roughly half of the surveyed parliaments engage in regulatory policy beyond classical parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms. Overall, these parliaments show a very diverse pattern in terms of drivers, types and depth of engagement. There is no 'one size fits all' approach.

Parliaments in emergency mode: How Member States' parliaments are continuing with business during the pandemic

24-04-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a huge array of public measures aiming to protect against and mitigate the consequences of the virus. While citizens have had to adjust to weeks of lockdown in their homes as a consequence of the emergency measures adopted by Member States, public institutions have been forced to move quickly to adapt their ways of working to a new and unprecedented scenario. These changes are particularly challenging for parliamentary institutions, as their functioning ...

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a huge array of public measures aiming to protect against and mitigate the consequences of the virus. While citizens have had to adjust to weeks of lockdown in their homes as a consequence of the emergency measures adopted by Member States, public institutions have been forced to move quickly to adapt their ways of working to a new and unprecedented scenario. These changes are particularly challenging for parliamentary institutions, as their functioning is based on the principles of pluralism, deliberation and transparency. How can decisions be adopted on the basis of those principles if many members cannot attend parliamentary sessions owing either to the restrictions on freedom of movement and bans on public gatherings in virtually all Member States, or to personal health concerns? National parliaments in the EU have adopted a variety of approaches to address this challenge. Some have gone entirely digital, using remote technology to ensure all members can take part in parliamentary work, including voting. Others have opted to adopt parliamentary decisions with a reduced number of members while ensuring the balance of power between their different political groups. Some others, finally, have decided to adopt social distancing measures, allowing members to continue with their parliamentary activities from different rooms of the parliament premises or from another location entirely. Given the particular difficulties in travelling between Member States, the European Parliament opted for the first solution, holding its first ever digital plenary session, in which Members voted remotely using a new electronic voting procedure, on 26 March 2020.

Remote voting in the European Parliament and national parliaments

25-03-2020

In the words of Parliament’s President, David Sassoli, the 'European Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy'. Ways have therefore had to be found to enable Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to exercise their public duties should it become impossible for them to attend committees or plenary sessions in person. The need to keep parliaments functioning in emergency situations has been on Member States' agendas too. The European Parliament’s Bureau has taken ...

In the words of Parliament’s President, David Sassoli, the 'European Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy'. Ways have therefore had to be found to enable Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to exercise their public duties should it become impossible for them to attend committees or plenary sessions in person. The need to keep parliaments functioning in emergency situations has been on Member States' agendas too. The European Parliament’s Bureau has taken the unprecedented decision to provide for remote voting during the extraordinary plenary session on 26 March so as to allow for the rapid adoption of EU legislation to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The European Parliament’s Right of inquiry in context - A comparison of the national and the European legal frameworks

16-03-2020

One of Parliament’s main tools of political control vis-à-vis the EU executive is its capacity to establish Committees of inquiry. This possibility, now formally recognised in Article 226 TFEU, has existed since 1981 but it has been scarcely used by Parliament. This study provides an analysis of Parliament’s right of inquiry as it stands after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and examines how it has evolved since it was first introduced. It also compares Parliament’s right of inquiry ...

One of Parliament’s main tools of political control vis-à-vis the EU executive is its capacity to establish Committees of inquiry. This possibility, now formally recognised in Article 226 TFEU, has existed since 1981 but it has been scarcely used by Parliament. This study provides an analysis of Parliament’s right of inquiry as it stands after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and examines how it has evolved since it was first introduced. It also compares Parliament’s right of inquiry with the investigatory powers of other European Union institutions and bodies, and with the rules governing the right of inquiry of Member State parliaments. The study concludes with some proposals for reform.

Külső szerző

Diane FROMAGE

Inquiries by Parliaments - The political use of a democratic right

16-03-2020

Conducting in-depth investigations is an ancient and essential right of parliaments in Europe. Yet, despite a provision of the Lisbon treaty, the European Parliament still has a limited institutional capacity to conduct inquiries. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, discusses the theoretical basis of parliamentary investigation, compares recent committees of inquiries and develops ...

Conducting in-depth investigations is an ancient and essential right of parliaments in Europe. Yet, despite a provision of the Lisbon treaty, the European Parliament still has a limited institutional capacity to conduct inquiries. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, discusses the theoretical basis of parliamentary investigation, compares recent committees of inquiries and develops recommendations for up-grading the European Parliament’s capacity.

Külső szerző

Olivier ROZENBERG

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