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European Parliament work in the fields of Impact Assessment and European Added Value: Activity Report for July 2019 to December 2020

25-03-2021

This activity report summarises and explains the work undertaken by the European Parliament in the fields of impact assessment and European added value during the first 18 months of the current 2019-24 EU institutional cycle. It details the support given by the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) to assist parliamentary committees in their oversight and scrutiny of the executive in the fields of ex-ante impact assessment ...

This activity report summarises and explains the work undertaken by the European Parliament in the fields of impact assessment and European added value during the first 18 months of the current 2019-24 EU institutional cycle. It details the support given by the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) to assist parliamentary committees in their oversight and scrutiny of the executive in the fields of ex-ante impact assessment, European added value, and ex-post evaluation of EU law and policy in practice. It also details wider horizontal support provided in the respect of the policy cycle to the institution as a whole. During the 18 months under review, 116 substantive pieces of work were published by the Directorate, all of which can be accessed by hyperlinks in this report.

Understanding the European Commission's right to withdraw legislative proposals

05-03-2021

Although the European Commission exercises its right to withdraw a legislative proposal sparingly, doing so may become a contentious issue, particularly where a legislative proposal is withdrawn for reasons other than a lack of agreement between institutions or when a proposal clearly becomes obsolete – such as a perceived distortion of the purpose of the original proposal. Closely connected with the right of legislative initiative attributed to the Commission under the current Treaty rules, the ...

Although the European Commission exercises its right to withdraw a legislative proposal sparingly, doing so may become a contentious issue, particularly where a legislative proposal is withdrawn for reasons other than a lack of agreement between institutions or when a proposal clearly becomes obsolete – such as a perceived distortion of the purpose of the original proposal. Closely connected with the right of legislative initiative attributed to the Commission under the current Treaty rules, the European Court of Justice issued a judgment on the matter in case C 409/13. The Court spelled out the Commission's power to withdraw a proposal relative to the power of the two co-legislators, and also indicated the limits of this power. In this sense, the Court considers the Commission's power to withdraw proposals to be a corollary of its power of legislative initiative, which must be exercised in a reasoned manner and in a way that is amenable to judicial review. However, the Court's judgment does not solve all the issues connected to this matter. Whilst the judgment develops the Court's arguments along the lines of the current institutional setting, academia has expressed some concern as to whether the judgment is truly in line with the recently emerged push for a higher democratic character in institutional dynamics. The forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe may provide the opportunity to rethink some of the issues surrounding the exercise of legislative initiative; which remains a matter of a constitutional and founding nature.

European Commission: Facts and Figures

04-02-2021

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Under the Treaties, its tasks are to 'promote the general interest of the Union', without prejudice to individual Member States, to 'ensure the application of the Treaties' and adopted measures, and to 'execute the budget'. It also holds a virtual monopoly on the right of legislative initiative, alone proposing nearly all EU legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The College of Commissioners is currently ...

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Under the Treaties, its tasks are to 'promote the general interest of the Union', without prejudice to individual Member States, to 'ensure the application of the Treaties' and adopted measures, and to 'execute the budget'. It also holds a virtual monopoly on the right of legislative initiative, alone proposing nearly all EU legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The College of Commissioners is currently composed of 27 individuals: the President, Ursula von der Leyen, three Executive Vice-Presidents, five Vice-Presidents and eighteen Commissioners. The Executive Vice-Presidents both manage a specific portfolio and coordinate one of the core parts of the Commission's political agenda. The five Vice-Presidents each coordinate a single specific policy priority. The other Commissioners manage the specific portfolios, under the coordination of the Vice-Presidents. This Briefing sets out the responsibilities, composition and work of the Commission and its leadership, both in the current Commission and in the past. It also gives details of the staff of the Commission’s departments, their main places of employment, gender distribution and national background, as well as providing a breakdown of the EU’s administrative budget and budgetary management responsibilities.

European Commission work programme 2021

25-11-2020

This briefing, which focuses on legislative initiatives only, is intended as a background overview for parliamentary committees (and their respective secretariats) which are planning their activities in relation to the European Commission work programme for 2021 (CWP 2021), adopted on 19 October 2020. It provides an overview of the CWP 2021 with regard to its structure and key aspects, and includes information on two types of EPRS publications that might be of interest to the relevant committees ...

This briefing, which focuses on legislative initiatives only, is intended as a background overview for parliamentary committees (and their respective secretariats) which are planning their activities in relation to the European Commission work programme for 2021 (CWP 2021), adopted on 19 October 2020. It provides an overview of the CWP 2021 with regard to its structure and key aspects, and includes information on two types of EPRS publications that might be of interest to the relevant committees in their consideration of the upcoming legislative proposals: initial appraisals of Commission impact assessments (provided by the Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit, IMPA) and implementation appraisals (provided by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit, EVAL). The annex to the briefing provides, inter alia, a tentative indication of the committee concerned by the 82 legislative files included in the CWP 2021.

Regulating digital finance

30-09-2020

The use of new technologies to enable and enhance the activities of the financial sector has the potential to provide significant benefits, including efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved data management and transparency. At the same time, it entails risks in fields such as financial stability, financial crime and consumer protection. These risks may further increase due to the fragmented regulatory landscape in the EU, and uneven global developments in regulating the sector. There is therefore ...

The use of new technologies to enable and enhance the activities of the financial sector has the potential to provide significant benefits, including efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved data management and transparency. At the same time, it entails risks in fields such as financial stability, financial crime and consumer protection. These risks may further increase due to the fragmented regulatory landscape in the EU, and uneven global developments in regulating the sector. There is therefore a need for the EU to create a comprehensive and stable regulatory framework in this area. Parliament is expected to debate a legislative-initiative report with recommendations to the European Commission to act in this area during its October I plenary session.

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

30-09-2020

This European Added Value Assessment assesses the potential added value of an EU pact on Democracy the Rule of law and Fundamental rights covering all Member States as proposed by the European Parliament, comparing it to the European Commission's approach in its annual rule of law report, which only covers the rule of law and further integration requiring Treaty change. It concludes that the pact proposed by the European Parliament would lead to significant benefits in terms of more effective monitoring ...

This European Added Value Assessment assesses the potential added value of an EU pact on Democracy the Rule of law and Fundamental rights covering all Member States as proposed by the European Parliament, comparing it to the European Commission's approach in its annual rule of law report, which only covers the rule of law and further integration requiring Treaty change. It concludes that the pact proposed by the European Parliament would lead to significant benefits in terms of more effective monitoring and enforcement of EU values. An approximation of its potential positive effects on the EU economy indicates annual gains of €413 billion corresponding to 3.3 % of EU GDP, far outweighing the costs of its development.

The European Parliament’s right of initiative

09-07-2020

The European Parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU. Yet, unlike most parliaments, it has no formal right of legislative initiative. Initiating legislation lies almost solely with the EU's executive bodies, the Commission, and – to a limited but increasing extend – the European Council and the Council. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, reveals that Parliament ...

The European Parliament is the only democratically elected body in the EU. Yet, unlike most parliaments, it has no formal right of legislative initiative. Initiating legislation lies almost solely with the EU's executive bodies, the Commission, and – to a limited but increasing extend – the European Council and the Council. This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, reveals that Parliament’s „own-initiative-reports” form a widely underestimated and unrecognized tool to informally shape the EU’s policy agenda. The study provides for a comprehensive analysis of non-legislative and legislative own-initiative reports. We argue that Parliament is able to create a cooperative environment in order to bring the Commission in line with its own legislative priorities and sometimes very specific legislative requests. Building on the empirical evidence of Parliament’s practice since 1993, we finally discuss means and ways for pragmatic reform and Treaty revision.

Externý autor

Andreas MAURER, Michael C. WOLF

Parliament's right of legislative initiative

12-02-2020

The European Commission has a near monopoly on legislative initiative in the European Union (EU), with special initiative rights for other institutions applying only in certain specific cases. However, the European Parliament and the Council may invite the Commission to submit legislative proposals. Whilst this 'indirect' initiative right does not create an obligation on the Commission to propose the legislation requested, the Treaty of Lisbon codified the Commission's obligation to provide reasons ...

The European Commission has a near monopoly on legislative initiative in the European Union (EU), with special initiative rights for other institutions applying only in certain specific cases. However, the European Parliament and the Council may invite the Commission to submit legislative proposals. Whilst this 'indirect' initiative right does not create an obligation on the Commission to propose the legislation requested, the Treaty of Lisbon codified the Commission's obligation to provide reasons for any refusal to follow a parliamentary initiative. Against this backdrop, some argue that Parliament could take the Commission to the Court of Justice of the EU if it fails to justify a negative decision. Others see Parliament's increasing participation in overall political planning – particularly through negotiations on the Commission's annual work programme (CWP) – as a further channel for Parliament to increase its influence on EU legislation. It is thus argued that the increased role of Parliament in the legislative procedure should have reduced the need for its Members to make use of legislative initiatives. Notwithstanding that, there is a trend towards greater use of formal parliamentary legislative initiatives to assert greater influence on the political process. Most recently, in her inaugural address in July 2019 and in her Political Guidelines, the then newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pledged to strengthen the partnership with the European Parliament, inter alia, by responding with a proposal for a legislative act whenever Parliament, acting by a majority of its members, adopts a resolution requesting that the Commission submit legislative proposals. She added that this commitment would have to be in full respect of the proportionality, subsidiarity and better law-making principles. President von der Leyen also declared herself supportive of moves towards recognition of a right for Parliament of legislative initiative. This briefing is an update of a European Parliament Library briefing from 2013, by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

The added value of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), and its revision

13-04-2018

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens, by enabling them to invite the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. Introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the ECI should provide every citizen with the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. However, the ECI in practice has had various procedural hurdles, preventing the fulfilment of the regulation's objectives. The ECI is thus not fulfilling its potential with regard to ...

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens, by enabling them to invite the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. Introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the ECI should provide every citizen with the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. However, the ECI in practice has had various procedural hurdles, preventing the fulfilment of the regulation's objectives. The ECI is thus not fulfilling its potential with regard to bringing the EU closer to its citizens. Against this background, the present study outlines the weaknesses in the existing ECI procedure. Moreover, it assesses, with a view to their added value, the main reform proposals that have been put forward to improve the ECI's functioning.

European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)

29-01-2018

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), introduced in 2009 with the Lisbon Treaty, is a key element of participatory democracy, allowing citizens to play an active role in the EU's democratic life, through addressing a request to the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. The procedure and conditions for ECIs are governed by Regulation (EU) No 211/2011, in force since April 2012. In September 2017, the European Commission presented a proposal for its amendment, picking up on a number ...

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), introduced in 2009 with the Lisbon Treaty, is a key element of participatory democracy, allowing citizens to play an active role in the EU's democratic life, through addressing a request to the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. The procedure and conditions for ECIs are governed by Regulation (EU) No 211/2011, in force since April 2012. In September 2017, the European Commission presented a proposal for its amendment, picking up on a number of suggestions for improvement. This is a further update of an 'at a glance' note published in July 2017: PE 608.644. For more detailed information on the proposed amendment of the ECI Regulation, please see EPRS' 'EU Legislation in progress' briefing, Revising the European Citizens' initiative, PE 614.627.

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