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On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

Western Balkans on the European Council agenda: Overview of discussions since the Lisbon Treaty

02-04-2020

The European Council to endorse the 24 March 2020 Council political agreement on the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

The European Council to endorse the 24 March 2020 Council political agreement on the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

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.

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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.

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Olivier ROZENBERG

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - February 2020

10-02-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2019

20-12-2019

The December plenary session highlights included the election of the European Ombudsman; commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding; and the award of the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Parliament adopted positions on the rule of law in Malta, following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI-free zones. It also debated statements ...

The December plenary session highlights included the election of the European Ombudsman; commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding; and the award of the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Parliament adopted positions on the rule of law in Malta, following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI-free zones. It also debated statements by the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on the humanitarian situation of the Uyghur in China and in Venezuela and Nicaragua, on the migration and refugee crisis, and on the violent crackdown on recent protests in Iran. Debates took place, inter alia, on Commission and Council statements on: the 30th anniversary of the Romanian revolution of December 1989; the post-2020 EU disability strategy; the COP25 outcome; animal welfare conditions during transport to third countries; and the US Trade Representative's announcement on France's digital service tax. Parliament also voted on appointments to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

The European Council under the Lisbon Treaty: How has the institution evolved since 2009?

04-12-2019

On 1 December 2009, with the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council became a formal EU institution. Ten years later, the European Council is seen by many as representing the centre of gravity of the EU's institutional framework. However, was this development purely the result of the changes to the Treaties made with Lisbon or did it happen naturally over time? This study analyses both the formal changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and the incremental evolution resulting ...

On 1 December 2009, with the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council became a formal EU institution. Ten years later, the European Council is seen by many as representing the centre of gravity of the EU's institutional framework. However, was this development purely the result of the changes to the Treaties made with Lisbon or did it happen naturally over time? This study analyses both the formal changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and the incremental evolution resulting from the institution's day-to-day practice, including the European Council's behaviour during the various crises of the last decade. It outlines the responsibilities envisaged for the European Council in the Treaty and the informal roles it has taken on over time. It explores the extent to which the Lisbon Treaty changed the functioning of the European Council, and how EU leaders themselves tried to optimise the working methods of their institution. Special attention is to the new position of full-time European Council President and the way in which the first two incumbents have interpreted their office. The analysis concludes that, while the EU’s various crises strongly contributed to the rise of the European Council, the Lisbon Treaty united two previously separate dimensions – the political and the legal, formally adding new competences to the role already performed by the EU Heads of State or Government. Many of these competences have yet to be fully exploited and represent a rich seam of unused Treaty potential for the future.

Western Balkans: State of play in the European Council

17-10-2019

The Western Balkans have regularly featured on the agenda of the European Council since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. Three dimensions – enlargement, counter-terrorism and migration – have been at the centre of the EU leaders' discussion of the subject. The European Commission recommended twice in the last two years the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. In the absence of an agreement at the 15 October 2019 General Affairs Council, the ...

The Western Balkans have regularly featured on the agenda of the European Council since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. Three dimensions – enlargement, counter-terrorism and migration – have been at the centre of the EU leaders' discussion of the subject. The European Commission recommended twice in the last two years the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. In the absence of an agreement at the 15 October 2019 General Affairs Council, the decision on whether to open accession negotiations with the two countries now lies with the European Council.

Research for REGI Committee – Cohesion policy: The European Parliament’s role since the Treaty of Lisbon

15-07-2019

This study assesses the role of the European Parliament in the field of cohesion policy since the Treaty of Lisbon introduced ‘co-decision’ procedure whereby Parliament and Council have equal powers in agreeing the regulations of the EU Structural and Investment Funds. In addition to the formal processes, the study also considers the informal ones from policy development at the pre-legislative stage to the interinstitutional negotiations as well as the Parliament’s scrutiny role over cohesion policy ...

This study assesses the role of the European Parliament in the field of cohesion policy since the Treaty of Lisbon introduced ‘co-decision’ procedure whereby Parliament and Council have equal powers in agreeing the regulations of the EU Structural and Investment Funds. In addition to the formal processes, the study also considers the informal ones from policy development at the pre-legislative stage to the interinstitutional negotiations as well as the Parliament’s scrutiny role over cohesion policy.

Awtur estern

Jürgen PUCHER, Haris MARTINOS, Serafin PAZOS-VIDAL, Jasmin HAIDER

Adapting legal acts to Articles 290 and 291 TFEU

10-04-2019

By introducing delegated and implementing acts, the Lisbon Treaty (2007) reformed the system of conferring upon the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative measures. However, a certain category of pre-Lisbon acts, referred to as 'regulatory procedure with scrutiny' (RPS) measures, remained unaligned to the new system. Following Commission proposals of December 2016, a number of acts referring to RPS are now to be aligned with the Lisbon Treaty, while others remain to be negotiated. Having reached ...

By introducing delegated and implementing acts, the Lisbon Treaty (2007) reformed the system of conferring upon the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative measures. However, a certain category of pre-Lisbon acts, referred to as 'regulatory procedure with scrutiny' (RPS) measures, remained unaligned to the new system. Following Commission proposals of December 2016, a number of acts referring to RPS are now to be aligned with the Lisbon Treaty, while others remain to be negotiated. Having reached an agreement with the Council on 64 acts, the Parliament is expected to vote on the proposals during its April II plenary session.

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