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Passerelle clauses in the EU Treaties: Opportunities for more flexible supranational decision-making

16-12-2020

Passerelle clauses are a mechanism for introducing Treaty change of a very specific nature. They modify the decision-making rules that affect acts of the Council, by allowing a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting or from a special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure. This study explores the differences between passerelle clauses and other flexibility measures (enhanced cooperation, the flexibility clause, and accelerator or brake clauses) and explores the main ...

Passerelle clauses are a mechanism for introducing Treaty change of a very specific nature. They modify the decision-making rules that affect acts of the Council, by allowing a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting or from a special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure. This study explores the differences between passerelle clauses and other flexibility measures (enhanced cooperation, the flexibility clause, and accelerator or brake clauses) and explores the main legal issues surrounding the introduction, revocation, and effects of passerelle clauses and their relationship with the other Treaty revision mechanisms. The analysis focuses not only on the two general passerelle clauses set out in Article 48(7) TEU, but also on the specific passerelle clauses contained in the Treaties in the field of environment, social policy, the multiannual financial framework, common foreign and security policy, family law and enhanced cooperation. Finally, the study outlines recent Commission proposals to use general and/or specific passerelles in certain policy areas, and the approaches taken by other institutions with respect to this constitutional tool.

Protecting the EU budget against generalised rule of law deficiencies

25-06-2020

When preparing the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed to strengthen the link between EU funding and respect for the rule of law. To this end, on 3 May 2018, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation that would introduce a general rule of law conditionality into the EU's financial rules. Any Member State where a generalised rule of law deficiency is found could be subject to the suspension of payments and commitments, reduced funding and a prohibition ...

When preparing the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission proposed to strengthen the link between EU funding and respect for the rule of law. To this end, on 3 May 2018, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation that would introduce a general rule of law conditionality into the EU's financial rules. Any Member State where a generalised rule of law deficiency is found could be subject to the suspension of payments and commitments, reduced funding and a prohibition on concluding new commitments. On 13 November 2019, the decision of the European Parliament's Budget and Budgetary Control Committees to enter interinstitutional negotiations on the proposal was announced in plenary. Negotiations will be based on Parliament's first-reading position adopted in plenary in April 2019. Parliament's main amendments are concerned with the definition of generalised deficiencies, procedural issues (the panel of independent experts and the need to put Parliament on an equal footing with Council), and with the protection of end beneficiaries of EU funding. The rule of law conditionality has become an important element of the negotiations on the legislative package for the 2021-2027 MFF and the Recovery Instrument for the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Possible Avenues for Further Political Integration in Europe - A Political Compact for a More Democratic and Effective Union?

03-06-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, analyses possible avenues for further political integration in the EU after Brexit. The study maps the multiple crises that the EU has weathered in the past decade and explains how these crises, including the recent Covid-19 pandemic, reveal several substantive and institutional weaknesses in the current EU system of governance. The study considers ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, analyses possible avenues for further political integration in the EU after Brexit. The study maps the multiple crises that the EU has weathered in the past decade and explains how these crises, including the recent Covid-19 pandemic, reveal several substantive and institutional weaknesses in the current EU system of governance. The study considers the potentials of the nascent Conference on the Future of Europe to renew the EU and examines the obstacles and opportunities for EU treaty reforms, considering the option of channelling the Conference’s outcome into a new Political Compact, subject to new, less-than-unanimous ratification rules.

Unlocking the potential of the EU Treaties: An article-by-article analysis of the scope for action

28-05-2020

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view ...

The latest Eurobarometer surveys indicate that there is consistent support for more EU action in various policy areas, including preventing climate change, tackling irregular migration, designing a common foreign and security policy and preventing terrorism. Assuming that the Treaty of Lisbon will be the framework for EU action for the foreseeable future, this paper explores possibilities for broadening the scope of EU action in order to respond to these repeated calls from EU citizens. With a view to reappraising the legal framework of the EU, it aims at identifying those legal bases in the Treaties that remain either under-used (in terms of the purposes they could be used to achieve) or completely unused. It analyses possible ways of delivering on EU policies, including in the development of common rules, providing enhanced executive capacity, better implementation of existing measures, targeted financing and increased efficiency. An overview table sets out possible initiatives, which are then explored in greater detail in 50 fiches, organised according to broad policy clusters reflecting the priorities of the von der Leyen Commission. Possible measures are mentioned in each fiche, along with the legal bases in the current Treaties on which action could potentially be based. It is a revised and expanded version of a paper published in January 2019, ahead of the European elections.

Revising the European Citizens' Initiative

10-06-2019

The ECI enables European citizens to invite the Commission to table a proposal for a legal act. The detailed rules for such initiatives are laid down in a 2011 regulation, whose main stated aim is encouraging citizens' participation in the political life of the European Union (EU). However, since the regulation became applicable in April 2012, numerous actors have raised concerns regarding the instrument's functioning and have called for reform, aiming to simplify the existing procedures and increasing ...

The ECI enables European citizens to invite the Commission to table a proposal for a legal act. The detailed rules for such initiatives are laid down in a 2011 regulation, whose main stated aim is encouraging citizens' participation in the political life of the European Union (EU). However, since the regulation became applicable in April 2012, numerous actors have raised concerns regarding the instrument's functioning and have called for reform, aiming to simplify the existing procedures and increasing the tool's usability. On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented a legislative proposal which would update the tool and replace the existing regulation on the European Citizens' Initiative. Following interinstitutional negotiations between September and December 2018, the co-legislators reached provisional agreement on the proposal for revision of the ECI. The agreed text was approved by the Parliament and Council in March 2019 and published in the OJ in May 2019. The new provisions apply in full from 1 January 2020. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Laura Tilindyte. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Unlocking the potential of the EU Treaties: An article-by-article analysis of the scope for action

07-01-2019

Public opinion often expresses the view that the European Union should do more to improve the lives of citizens in various policy areas, but a lack of convergence among Member States on the desired changes, not to mention likely hurdles in the ratification process, as well as other factors make any significant reform of the