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The Portuguese Parliament and EU affairs

12-01-2021

According to the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, Portugal is a semi-presidential Republic and a parliamentary democracy. It is a unitary state which also includes two autonomous regions (the Azores and Madeira archipelagos) with their own political and administrative statutes and self-governing institutions (Article 6 of the Constitution). The Constitution of the Third Republic created a single representative body: the Assembly of the Republic (Assembleia da República). The Assembly exercises ...

According to the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, Portugal is a semi-presidential Republic and a parliamentary democracy. It is a unitary state which also includes two autonomous regions (the Azores and Madeira archipelagos) with their own political and administrative statutes and self-governing institutions (Article 6 of the Constitution). The Constitution of the Third Republic created a single representative body: the Assembly of the Republic (Assembleia da República). The Assembly exercises national sovereign power alongside the President of the Republic, the Government and the courts. Its primary function is to represent all Portuguese citizens, and as such it acts as the main legislator and is the body to which the executive is accountable. The Assembly and the Government share legislative competence, but the Assembly also has exclusive responsibility to legislate on certain specific matters such as on elections and referendums, the working of the Constitutional Court, political associations and parties, and national symbols (see Article 164 of the Constitution for the full list). This briefing is part of an EPRS series on national parliaments (NPs) and EU affairs. It aims to provide an overview of the way the NPs of EU Member States are structured and how they process, scrutinise and engage with EU legislation. It also provides information on relevant NP publications.

States of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis: Normative response and parliamentary oversight in EU Member States during the first wave of the pandemic

04-12-2020

This study examines the normative response of the 27 EU Member States during the first phase of the Covid 19 pandemic (March to mid June 2020) and parliamentary oversight over the measures adopted. The study reveals that Member States' normative responses to the pandemic were generally efficient, as very few of them were not preventively equipped with a set of rules enabling the national authorities to adopt the containment measures needed to address the first peak of the health crisis, and because ...

This study examines the normative response of the 27 EU Member States during the first phase of the Covid 19 pandemic (March to mid June 2020) and parliamentary oversight over the measures adopted. The study reveals that Member States' normative responses to the pandemic were generally efficient, as very few of them were not preventively equipped with a set of rules enabling the national authorities to adopt the containment measures needed to address the first peak of the health crisis, and because the Member States lacking those normative tools were able to adopt the necessary empowering legislative acts quickly. The study also reveals that all EU national parliaments played some role in the management of the pandemic, either through the supervision of the measures adopted by the executive to contain the spread of the virus or through the exercise of their ordinary legislative and budgetary powers to provide the government with the normative tools needed to address the pandemic.

SSM and the SRB accountability at European level: room for improvements?

12-05-2020

The paper distinguishes two contrasting models of accountability, one based on principal-agent relations, which is backward-looking, the other a dynamic and forward-looking model. The paper argues that this second model of accountability is more appropriate for independent bodies like the ECB/SSM and the SRB, operating in technically complex, rapidly evolving environments under conditions of high uncertainty, where parliaments and other political authorities have very limited sanctioning powers. ...

The paper distinguishes two contrasting models of accountability, one based on principal-agent relations, which is backward-looking, the other a dynamic and forward-looking model. The paper argues that this second model of accountability is more appropriate for independent bodies like the ECB/SSM and the SRB, operating in technically complex, rapidly evolving environments under conditions of high uncertainty, where parliaments and other political authorities have very limited sanctioning powers. It then goes on to review the nature and effectiveness of three main forms of accountability as applied to these institutions – administrative, judicial, and political – together with the contribution of external review bodies, such as the European Court of Auditors and the European Ombudsman, to their accountability at European level. Following the dynamic, forward-looking approach advocated above, the paper argues that the best way to improve the accountability of the SSM and the SRB is to request the ECB/SSM and SRB to make the findings of their internal quality assurance and review bodies publicly available (subject to constraints on professional secrecy) and for the EP to use these findings to scrutinize and stimulate public debate about the operations and effectiveness of the two institutions.

Zunanji avtor

Jonathan ZEITLIN, Filipe BRITO BASTOS

The powers of the European Parliament

04-11-2019

Since its inception in 1951, the European Parliament has come a long way. Initially a consultative body composed of delegations of national parliaments, it became a directly elected institution, obtained budgetary and legislative powers, and now exercises influence over most aspects of EU affairs. Together with representatives of national governments, who sit in the Council, Parliament co-decides on European legislation, in what could be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. It can reject ...

Since its inception in 1951, the European Parliament has come a long way. Initially a consultative body composed of delegations of national parliaments, it became a directly elected institution, obtained budgetary and legislative powers, and now exercises influence over most aspects of EU affairs. Together with representatives of national governments, who sit in the Council, Parliament co-decides on European legislation, in what could be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. It can reject or amend the European Commission's proposals before adopting them so that they become law. Together with the Council of the EU, it adopts the EU budget and controls its implementation. Another core set of European Parliament prerogatives concerns the scrutiny of the EU executive – mainly the Commission. Such scrutiny can take many forms, including parliamentary questions, committees of inquiry and special committees, and scrutiny of delegated and implementing acts. Parliament has made use of these instruments to varying degrees. Parliament has the power to dismiss the Commission (motion of censure), and it plays a significant role in the latter's appointment process. Parliament has a say over the very foundations of the EU. Its consent is required before any new country joins the EU, and before a withdrawal treaty is concluded if a country decides to leave it. Most international agreements entered into by the EU with third countries also require Parliament's consent. Parliament can initiate Treaty reform, and also the 'Article 7(1) TEU' procedure, aimed at determining whether there is a (risk of) serious breach of EU values by a Member State.

Overview of external briefings on the SSM and SRB during the 8th parliamentary term

06-09-2019

To facilitate the parliamentary scrutiny work, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (including its Banking Union Working Group) has drawn on external experts to provide briefings on topics of relating to both the SSM and SRM. Prior to December 2015, experts had been requested on an ad-hoc basis, while thereafter, ECON could draw on expertise from two standing panels of experts, one panel for supervisory issues, the other for questions related to bank resolution. Topics for the panel of ...

To facilitate the parliamentary scrutiny work, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (including its Banking Union Working Group) has drawn on external experts to provide briefings on topics of relating to both the SSM and SRM. Prior to December 2015, experts had been requested on an ad-hoc basis, while thereafter, ECON could draw on expertise from two standing panels of experts, one panel for supervisory issues, the other for questions related to bank resolution. Topics for the panel of experts to be provided in advance of each public hearing are chosen by ECON Coordinators. Since their inception, the two standing panels have in total provided 56 concise written briefing papers on 20 different topics.

Single Supervisroy Mechanism (SSM) – Accountability arrangements and legal base for hearings in the European Parliament - State of Play - August 2019

29-08-2019

This note prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit provides an overview of the EP’s accountability hearings in the context of the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

This note prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit provides an overview of the EP’s accountability hearings in the context of the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Parliamentary scrutiny of the European Commission: Implementation of Treaty provisions

09-07-2019

The European Parliament's application of scrutiny prerogatives of political oversight of the European Commission increases the democratic legitimacy of the European Union, and the transparency and accountability of the European executive. The update of the 2018 study examines the European Parliament's powers of scrutiny of the European Commission in the last two legislative terms. The cases examined pertain mainly to electoral and institutional issues, motions of censure, parliamentary questions, ...

The European Parliament's application of scrutiny prerogatives of political oversight of the European Commission increases the democratic legitimacy of the European Union, and the transparency and accountability of the European executive. The update of the 2018 study examines the European Parliament's powers of scrutiny of the European Commission in the last two legislative terms. The cases examined pertain mainly to electoral and institutional issues, motions of censure, parliamentary questions, inquiry committees and special parliamentary committees and reporting, consultation and provision of information. It also touches upon scrutiny in budgetary issues, scrutiny of delegated acts, scrutiny in the legislative procedure, legal proceedings and the EU's external relations.

The power of the European Parliament: Examples of EP impact during the 2014-19 legislative term

30-04-2019

As the only European Union institution elected directly, the European Parliament is at the heart of representative democracy, the foundation upon which the EU is built. Since its creation, the Parliament’s powers have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity. This paper provides an overview of the European Parliament's main powers, demonstrating how they interact ...

As the only European Union institution elected directly, the European Parliament is at the heart of representative democracy, the foundation upon which the EU is built. Since its creation, the Parliament’s powers have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity. This paper provides an overview of the European Parliament's main powers, demonstrating how they interact, and illustrating through practical examples from the most recent parliamentary term (2014-2019) the various ways in which the Parliament uses those powers in its daily work.

Zunanji avtor

DG, EPRS;

The International Monetary Fund: 15th General Review of Quotas

03-04-2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to engage in a quota review which is likely to have important institutional, economic and political consequences. Quotas are an essential component of the governance structure of the IMF, defining the influence member countries exert in the decision-making processes, their financial commitments and access to financing in case of need. The 15th review is likely to revolve around two key issues: overall sufficiency of IMF resources and redistribution of ...

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to engage in a quota review which is likely to have important institutional, economic and political consequences. Quotas are an essential component of the governance structure of the IMF, defining the influence member countries exert in the decision-making processes, their financial commitments and access to financing in case of need. The 15th review is likely to revolve around two key issues: overall sufficiency of IMF resources and redistribution of quota shares between countries. This paper, prepared by Policy department A, aims to provide a general description of the quota system and the current state of play of the review. It also discusses the dimension of parliamentary scrutiny.

The Scrutiny of the European Defence Fund by the European Parliament and national parliaments

01-04-2019

Since 2016, the European Union has developed a number of new initiatives on security and defence. In particular, the introduction of Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund have been designed to allow the EU to become a more autonomous actor with regard to crisis management, capacity building and protecting Europe and its citizens. Yet the development of these new initiatives raises questions about their overall coherence and the role of parliamentary scrutiny. It is necessary ...

Since 2016, the European Union has developed a number of new initiatives on security and defence. In particular, the introduction of Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund have been designed to allow the EU to become a more autonomous actor with regard to crisis management, capacity building and protecting Europe and its citizens. Yet the development of these new initiatives raises questions about their overall coherence and the role of parliamentary scrutiny. It is necessary to analyse the role of the European Parliament and national parliaments in relation to the scrutiny of the European Defence Fund. There is a need for recommendations on how parliamentary scrutiny can be enhanced at the EU level in the area of security and defence.

Zunanji avtor

Daniel FIOTT, Security and Defence Editor, EU Institute for Security Studies

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