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Protecting EU common values within the Member States: An overview of monitoring, prevention and enforcement mechanisms at EU level

25-09-2020

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm ...

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm of Article 7 TEU) and enforcement mechanisms (preliminary reference rulings, infringement procedures and the sanctions arm of Article 7 TEU)). It also analyses a number of proposed mechanisms: the pact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights; rule of law review cycle; reviewed Council dialogues on the rule of law; and the rule of law budgetary conditionality.

Replacement of individual Commissioners

08-09-2020

On 26 August 2020, Commissioner Phil Hogan tendered his resignation to the President of the European Commission following controversy over his participation in an Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Golf Society dinner attended by more than 80 people, despite the applicable Irish public health guidelines adopted to contain the spread of Covid-19 limiting gatherings to a fraction of that number. In addition, questions were raised as to whether he had complied with applicable restrictions on movements after ...

On 26 August 2020, Commissioner Phil Hogan tendered his resignation to the President of the European Commission following controversy over his participation in an Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Golf Society dinner attended by more than 80 people, despite the applicable Irish public health guidelines adopted to contain the spread of Covid-19 limiting gatherings to a fraction of that number. In addition, questions were raised as to whether he had complied with applicable restrictions on movements after his arrival in Ireland. Although President Ursula von der Leyen had not formally requested his resignation, she accepted it and thanked Commissioner Hogan for 'his tireless and successful work' during the current mandate as Trade Commissioner and in his previous mandate as Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner. Consequently, the procedure to replace him has started, with President von der Leyen requesting that the Irish government propose both a female and a male candidate. On 4 September, the Irish government proposed two candidates to replace Phil Hogan: Mairead McGuinness, current European Parliament First Vice-President, and Andrew McDowell, a recent European Investment Bank Vice-President. On 8 September, President von der Leyen announced she had chosen Mairead McGuinness, and that she would take over financial services, financial stability and the capital markets union from Valdis Dombrovskis. The latter would take the trade portfolio permanently (having already taken it temporarily in the meantime), while continuing in his role of Executive Vice-President. Parliament is now expected to organise hearings with both.

States of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis: Situation in certain Member States

04-05-2020

With the first case of unknown pneumonia reported in the province of Wuhan (People's Republic of China) on 31 December 2019, within few weeks the coronavirus (Covid-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020. Since then it has spread to most corners of the globe. While the health threat it poses and the challenge it represents for human health is paramount, no less important is the strain it puts on the legal order. For most of the affected countries, in particular ...

With the first case of unknown pneumonia reported in the province of Wuhan (People's Republic of China) on 31 December 2019, within few weeks the coronavirus (Covid-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020. Since then it has spread to most corners of the globe. While the health threat it poses and the challenge it represents for human health is paramount, no less important is the strain it puts on the legal order. For most of the affected countries, in particular in the EU, this outbreak is posing unprecedented institutional challenges and has obliged institutions and governments to adopt strict measures affecting citizens' rights in a way unparalleled since the Second World War. While some Member States' constitutions include mechanisms allowing for recourse to a 'state of emergency' or the entrustment of special powers to specific institutions, other Member States' legal orders do not, either for historic reasons or owing to institutional tradition. Crucial aspects of the exercise of public powers under a pandemic threat include not only the extent of the measures adopted, but also their legitimacy, raising the question of their duration and of the degree of parliamentary oversight. This briefing is the first in a series intended to offer a comparative overview of the institutional responses adopted in different Member States, in the light of i) the constitutional framework for the state of emergency or legitimation of the emergency legislation ii) the specific measures adopted, iii) the extent of the parliamentary oversight exercised over the measures adopted. This first briefing, therefore, offers an overview of the responses to the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Parliaments in emergency mode: How Member States' parliaments are continuing with business during the pandemic

24-04-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a huge array of public measures aiming to protect against and mitigate the consequences of the virus. While citizens have had to adjust to weeks of lockdown in their homes as a consequence of the emergency measures adopted by Member States, public institutions have been forced to move quickly to adapt their ways of working to a new and unprecedented scenario. These changes are particularly challenging for parliamentary institutions, as their functioning ...

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a huge array of public measures aiming to protect against and mitigate the consequences of the virus. While citizens have had to adjust to weeks of lockdown in their homes as a consequence of the emergency measures adopted by Member States, public institutions have been forced to move quickly to adapt their ways of working to a new and unprecedented scenario. These changes are particularly challenging for parliamentary institutions, as their functioning is based on the principles of pluralism, deliberation and transparency. How can decisions be adopted on the basis of those principles if many members cannot attend parliamentary sessions owing either to the restrictions on freedom of movement and bans on public gatherings in virtually all Member States, or to personal health concerns? National parliaments in the EU have adopted a variety of approaches to address this challenge. Some have gone entirely digital, using remote technology to ensure all members can take part in parliamentary work, including voting. Others have opted to adopt parliamentary decisions with a reduced number of members while ensuring the balance of power between their different political groups. Some others, finally, have decided to adopt social distancing measures, allowing members to continue with their parliamentary activities from different rooms of the parliament premises or from another location entirely. Given the particular difficulties in travelling between Member States, the European Parliament opted for the first solution, holding its first ever digital plenary session, in which Members voted remotely using a new electronic voting procedure, on 26 March 2020.

Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache: Gefälschte und echte Dokumente online (FADO)

05-02-2020

2018 nahm die Kommission einen Vorschlag für eine neue Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache (Frontex) an. Neben vielen anderen Aspekten sieht der Vorschlag die Integration des Systems für gefälschte und echte Dokumente online (FADO) in den Rahmen der Europäischen Grenz- und Küstenwache vor. Die Mitgesetzgeber haben die neue Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache bereits angenommen, beschlossen jedoch, einen gesonderten Rechtsakt zu erlassen, um den Rechtsrahmen für ...

2018 nahm die Kommission einen Vorschlag für eine neue Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache (Frontex) an. Neben vielen anderen Aspekten sieht der Vorschlag die Integration des Systems für gefälschte und echte Dokumente online (FADO) in den Rahmen der Europäischen Grenz- und Küstenwache vor. Die Mitgesetzgeber haben die neue Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache bereits angenommen, beschlossen jedoch, einen gesonderten Rechtsakt zu erlassen, um den Rechtsrahmen für das FADO-System festzulegen. Das Europäische Parlament soll auf seiner Tagung im Februar über die mit dem Rat ausgehandelte Vereinbarung abstimmen.

Vote of investiture for the Commission

22-11-2019

On 27 November 2019, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the von der Leyen Commission as a whole. This would be one of the final steps in an investiture process that started in May 2019, following the European elections. If the Commission obtains Parliament's consent – by a majority of the votes cast by roll call – the European Council will then appoint its members by qualified majority, finally allowing the new Commission to take up its duties, expected to be on 1 December 2019.

On 27 November 2019, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the von der Leyen Commission as a whole. This would be one of the final steps in an investiture process that started in May 2019, following the European elections. If the Commission obtains Parliament's consent – by a majority of the votes cast by roll call – the European Council will then appoint its members by qualified majority, finally allowing the new Commission to take up its duties, expected to be on 1 December 2019.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Věra Jourová – Vice-President: Values and Transparency

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Parlamentarische Anhörungen der designierten Kommissionsmitglieder: Ein entscheidender Schritt beim Verfahren der Amtseinführung

23-09-2019

Die Anhörungen der designierten Kommissionsmitglieder durch die Ausschüsse des Europäischen Parlaments sind ein notwendiger Schritt, damit das Parlament seine Entscheidung über die Zustimmung oder Ablehnung des vorgeschlagenen Kollegiums sachkundig treffen kann. Jedes designierte Kommissionsmitglied stellt sich nach Beantwortung eines Fragebogens und der Vorlage seiner Interessenerklärung einer Einzelanhörung vor einem oder mehreren Ausschüssen des Parlaments. Bei Anhörungen in der Vergangenheit ...

Die Anhörungen der designierten Kommissionsmitglieder durch die Ausschüsse des Europäischen Parlaments sind ein notwendiger Schritt, damit das Parlament seine Entscheidung über die Zustimmung oder Ablehnung des vorgeschlagenen Kollegiums sachkundig treffen kann. Jedes designierte Kommissionsmitglied stellt sich nach Beantwortung eines Fragebogens und der Vorlage seiner Interessenerklärung einer Einzelanhörung vor einem oder mehreren Ausschüssen des Parlaments. Bei Anhörungen in der Vergangenheit wurde hauptsächlich kritisiert, dass es einigen Kandidaten an Fachwissen über ihren Geschäftsbereich mangelte, dass sie nur vage Antworten gaben und kaum zu Zusagen bereit waren und mögliche Interessenkonflikte im Zusammenhang mit dem zugewiesenen Geschäftsbereich und Bedenken gegenüber der Integrität des Kandidaten bestanden. Seit der Amtseinführung 2004 hat das Parlament seine Rolle bei der Ernennung der Kommission genutzt, um auf die Ersetzung bestimmter kontroverser Kandidaten zu dringen und Anpassungen bei bestimmten Geschäftsbereichen durchzusetzen, obwohl es das Kollegium nur als Ganzes ablehnen oder billigen kann. Einige Experten warnen zwar vor übermäßiger Politisierung der Anhörungen, andere jedoch begrüßen die gesteigerte Rechenschaftspflicht der Kommission gegenüber dem Parlament und sehen die sich vertiefende politische Verbindung zwischen den beiden als einen Schritt zu weiterer Demokratisierung des Entscheidungsprozesses der EU. Die Anhörungen sind zu einem entscheidenden Bestandteil der Kontrolle der Kommission durch das Parlament geworden und gewinnen an Bedeutung, um dem Parlament bei der Aufstellung der Agenda auf Ebene der EU zu einer Aufwertung zu verhelfen. Dies ist eine aktualisierte und erweiterte Fassung eines Briefings aus dem Jahr 2014 von Eva-Maria Poptcheva.

Recasting the Return Directive

14-06-2019

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of the EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (45.8 % in 2016 and 36.6 % in 2017), and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of the EU return policy, in September 2018, the Commission proposed a targeted ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of the EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (45.8 % in 2016 and 36.6 % in 2017), and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of the EU return policy, in September 2018, the Commission proposed a targeted recast of the directive aiming to 'reduce the length of return procedures, secure a better link between asylum and return procedures and ensure a more effective use of measures to prevent absconding'. In the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee discussed some 654 amendments to the proposal, tabled in February 2019 following the publication of the rapporteur's draft report. However, since the committee did not adopt a report at that time, the new Parliament will have to decide how to approach the file (with a new rapporteur). In the meantime, the Council has reached a partial general approach on the proposal. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache

10-04-2019

Das Europäische Parlament und der Rat haben eine vorläufige Einigung über die Annahme einer neuen Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache erzielt. Der Text zielt darauf ab, aufbauend auf früheren Bemühungen der Organe der Union um die Entwicklung eines Systems für ein integriertes europäisches Grenzmanagement den Schutz der Außengrenzen der Union zu stärken. Das Parlament wird während der April-II-Plenartagung über den Vorschlag abstimmen.

Das Europäische Parlament und der Rat haben eine vorläufige Einigung über die Annahme einer neuen Verordnung über die Europäische Grenz- und Küstenwache erzielt. Der Text zielt darauf ab, aufbauend auf früheren Bemühungen der Organe der Union um die Entwicklung eines Systems für ein integriertes europäisches Grenzmanagement den Schutz der Außengrenzen der Union zu stärken. Das Parlament wird während der April-II-Plenartagung über den Vorschlag abstimmen.

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