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Justice programme 2021-2027

21-04-2021

In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Justice programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now expected to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Justice programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now expected to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

Plenary round-up – March I 2021

12-03-2021

The highlight of the March I 2021 plenary session was the official signature of the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe, allowing the Conference's work finally to get under way. Another important point was the celebration of International Women's Day, which was held just before the start of the session, with Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of America, and Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, addressing the plenary in video messages, and Ursula ...

The highlight of the March I 2021 plenary session was the official signature of the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe, allowing the Conference's work finally to get under way. Another important point was the celebration of International Women's Day, which was held just before the start of the session, with Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of America, and Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, addressing the plenary in video messages, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also participating, in the chamber. The main debates held during the session concerned the economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic – focusing on investment, competitiveness and skills, as well as the proposed action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, in preparation for the Social Summit in Porto in May. Members also discussed the application of the rule of law conditionality mechanism, respect for the partnership principle in the preparation and implementation of national recovery and resilience plans, and ensuring good governance of the expenditure of EU funding. Proposals on the European Semester annual strategies, corporate due diligence and corporate accountability, as well as the InvestEU and EU4Health programmes, were also debated and voted. Parliament also adopted a resolution declaring the EU an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone. Members debated government attempts to silence free media in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. Debates were held on reforming the EU policy framework to end tax avoidance in the EU following the OpenLux revelations. Members debated statements by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borell, on the current political situation in Georgia and on the continuing conflict in Syria.

New strategy to reinforce application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights: Local and regional perspective

10-02-2021

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness ...

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness of the Charter among EU citizens. The debate around how to promote awareness of the Charter, and of citizens' rights more broadly, in the EU has been going on for a number of years. In this context, a new strategy for effective application of the Charter has been adopted and will guide action for the next 10 years, to raise awareness and promote its effective use. Furthermore, in 2020 the European Commission launched a public consultation to collect input from a wide range of stakeholders on the subject, including actors at local level. The basic idea was that as local and regional authorities represent the tiers of government closest to the public, they are well placed to make the Charter known to citizens. This briefing provides guidance and tools to help local and regional authorities inform citizens of their rights under the Charter. It also presents best practice from selected EU Member States on promoting the principles underpinning the Charter at regional and local level.

Controversial legislative elections in Venezuela

21-12-2020

The mandate of the Venezuelan National Assembly, democratically elected in 2015, comes to an end on 5 January 2021; to renew it, the Maduro government called new legislative elections for 6 December 2020. While the government tightened its grip on power to secure a favourable outcome for itself, including through the appointment of a new electoral council, the opposition-led National Assembly presided by Juan Guaidó insisted on holding free and fair presidential and legislative elections with recognised ...

The mandate of the Venezuelan National Assembly, democratically elected in 2015, comes to an end on 5 January 2021; to renew it, the Maduro government called new legislative elections for 6 December 2020. While the government tightened its grip on power to secure a favourable outcome for itself, including through the appointment of a new electoral council, the opposition-led National Assembly presided by Juan Guaidó insisted on holding free and fair presidential and legislative elections with recognised international observers. The main opposition parties boycotted the 6 December elections – which were also ignored by at least 70 % of eligible voters – and held an alternative public consultation from 7 to 12 December, which resulted in a slightly higher turnout. The opposition described the elections as fraudulent, claiming that they had not met the minimum democratic requirements to qualify as free, fair and transparent. This position was shared by international players such as the European Union, the United States, the Organisation of American States and the Lima Group. Though the outlook of the Venezuelan crisis remains uncertain, there is still hope for a negotiated solution.

Protection of the Union's budget in case of 'rule of law' deficiencies

15-12-2020

On 10 December 2020, the European Council reached an agreement on the implementation of the regulation linking EU funding to respect for the rule of law. Hungary and Poland, in opposing this new mechanism, had been blocking the Union’s new budget but have now agreed to a compromise. The regulation on the rule of law is part of the package on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and the Next Generation EU recovery instrument. The Parliament is due to vote in December at second reading ...

On 10 December 2020, the European Council reached an agreement on the implementation of the regulation linking EU funding to respect for the rule of law. Hungary and Poland, in opposing this new mechanism, had been blocking the Union’s new budget but have now agreed to a compromise. The regulation on the rule of law is part of the package on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and the Next Generation EU recovery instrument. The Parliament is due to vote in December at second reading on the agreed text.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders on 10 and 11 December 2020

15-12-2020

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved ...

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved a significant breakthrough in combating climate change, by committing to a binding EU reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 % by 2030. Moreover, the European Council discussed the development, purchase and the EU-wide distribution of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and stressed the need to take forward proposals for a health union. EU leaders also agreed to step up the fight against radicalisation, terrorism and violent extremism.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 November 2020

24-11-2020

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators ...

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament on the issue of rule-of-law conditionality, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are currently not able to support it. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, indicated that discussions to find an acceptable solution for all would continue. The exchange of information on the coronavirus pandemic focused in particular on the development of vaccines, ensuring that they would be available and affordable to all EU citizens, and on the coordination of the exit from the second-wave restrictions. The European Council agreed once more to further strengthen coordination of action against the coronavirus pandemic.

Strengthening media freedom in the EU

19-11-2020

The EU is actively engaged in protecting the independence and safety of journalists as crucial components of the proper democratic functioning of its institutions and Member States. Media freedom, however, has been deteriorating in recent years. Threats, harassment, public shaming and even assassinations of media actors are on the rise. At its November II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on an own-initiative report concerned with strengthening media freedom. The report emphasises ...

The EU is actively engaged in protecting the independence and safety of journalists as crucial components of the proper democratic functioning of its institutions and Member States. Media freedom, however, has been deteriorating in recent years. Threats, harassment, public shaming and even assassinations of media actors are on the rise. At its November II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on an own-initiative report concerned with strengthening media freedom. The report emphasises that combating media capture, hate speech and misinformation is fundamental when it comes to defending the rule of law and democracy in the EU.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, October I 2020

09-10-2020

During the first October 2020 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament held a debate on the rule of law and fundamental rights in the context of introducing conditionality measures in the framework of the 2021 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU. In parallel, Parliament's negotiating team on the next MFF announced a pause in talks, due to concerns over the Council's lack of engagement on the key issue of top-ups for 15 flagship EU programmes. Parliament also discussed ...

During the first October 2020 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament held a debate on the rule of law and fundamental rights in the context of introducing conditionality measures in the framework of the 2021 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU. In parallel, Parliament's negotiating team on the next MFF announced a pause in talks, due to concerns over the Council's lack of engagement on the key issue of top-ups for 15 flagship EU programmes. Parliament also discussed the conclusions of the special European Council meeting of 1 2 October and the preparations for the next regular European Council meeting, on 15 16 October 2020. Parliament approved the allocation of new responsibilities to Executive Vice-President of the Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and approved the appointment of Mairead McGuinness as member of the European Commission. Parliament also debated the role of the European Supervisory Authorities in the Wirecard scandal, on the fight against money laundering, following the FinCEN revelations, and on the impact of the Covid 19 outbreak on long-term care facilities. Parliament debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the resumption of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, on the EU diplomatic mission in Venezuela, and on the situation in Iran.

An EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights

02-10-2020

Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enshrines the Union's founding values. As these shared values are binding on Member States and the European Union (EU) institutions, several mechanisms have been created to promote them and ensure they are respected. EU institutions have made several proposals to strengthen the mechanisms. Parliament is due to vote during the October I plenary session on a legislative-initiative report proposing to integrate and reinforce them through an EU mechanism ...

Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) enshrines the Union's founding values. As these shared values are binding on Member States and the European Union (EU) institutions, several mechanisms have been created to promote them and ensure they are respected. EU institutions have made several proposals to strengthen the mechanisms. Parliament is due to vote during the October I plenary session on a legislative-initiative report proposing to integrate and reinforce them through an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF).

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