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Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Olivér Várhelyi - Neighbourhood and enlargement

11-11-2019

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.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Adina-Ioana Vălean - Transport

11-11-2019

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.

European Parliament and the path to German reunification

05-11-2019

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, set in motion by the events of 9 November 1989, which led to Germany’s full reunification within less than a year. The accession of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Republic) completed the reunification process on 3 October 1990. Moreover, with the accession of the former GDR to the Federal Republic, the GDR integrated into the European Economic Community (EEC) of the time via a special ...

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, set in motion by the events of 9 November 1989, which led to Germany’s full reunification within less than a year. The accession of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Republic) completed the reunification process on 3 October 1990. Moreover, with the accession of the former GDR to the Federal Republic, the GDR integrated into the European Economic Community (EEC) of the time via a special procedure. As the GDR's status as a subject of international law ended with its accession to the Federal Republic, a normal EEC Treaty accession procedure was not possible. The European Parliament followed the chain of profound political developments triggered by the fall of the Berlin Wall closely.

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.

European Parliament: Facts and Figures

25-10-2019

This Briefing, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service, is designed to provide key facts and figures about the European Parliament, both in the 2019 to 2024 parliamentary term now starting - and in the eight previous terms since direct elections were introduced in June 1979. It includes graphics of various kinds which: • detail the composition of the European Parliament now and in the past; • trace the increase in the number of parties represented in the EP and evolution of political ...

This Briefing, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service, is designed to provide key facts and figures about the European Parliament, both in the 2019 to 2024 parliamentary term now starting - and in the eight previous terms since direct elections were introduced in June 1979. It includes graphics of various kinds which: • detail the composition of the European Parliament now and in the past; • trace the increase in the number of parties represented in the EP and evolution of political groups; • chart the rise in the number of women sitting in the Parliament; • explain the electoral systems used in the 2019 elections to the Parliament across the Member States; • show how turnout in European elections compares with that in national elections; • summarise the activity of the Parliament in the current and previous five-year terms; • outline the composition of the Parliament’s committees and governing bodies. The Briefing will be updated regularly over the coming term to take account of latest developments.

Global and regional trends

25-10-2019

The European Union’s key institutions held a joint annual conference on 14-15 October entitled ‘Challenges and Choices for Europe.’ The annual event was organised under the auspices of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), which is a framework for cooperation between the administrations of the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of the European Union, European External Action Service and other bodies, to work together on medium- and long-term trends facing or relating ...

The European Union’s key institutions held a joint annual conference on 14-15 October entitled ‘Challenges and Choices for Europe.’ The annual event was organised under the auspices of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), which is a framework for cooperation between the administrations of the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of the European Union, European External Action Service and other bodies, to work together on medium- and long-term trends facing or relating to the European Union.

Commission as 'caretaker administration'

24-10-2019

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament’s committees took place between 30 September and 8 October 2019. The plenary vote on the entire Commission was originally planned for 23 October in Strasbourg, after a presentation by the Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen of the full College and its programme. However, three Commissioners-designate did not successfully complete the hearings process, making it necessary for three Member States to nominate new ...

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament’s committees took place between 30 September and 8 October 2019. The plenary vote on the entire Commission was originally planned for 23 October in Strasbourg, after a presentation by the Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen of the full College and its programme. However, three Commissioners-designate did not successfully complete the hearings process, making it necessary for three Member States to nominate new candidates and for committees to carry out new hearings. The new Commission will not, therefore, now be able to enter into office on 1 November, as scheduled. The outgoing Commission will thus remain in office until the formal appointment of its replacement, although questions arise as to its powers in that period.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, October II 2019

24-10-2019

The October II plenary session highlights included statements and debates on the outcome of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019, and a review of the Juncker Commission's term. Parliament also debated statements made on behalf of the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on the Turkish military operation in north-east Syria and its consequences, and on the violent suppression of young people's and ...

The October II plenary session highlights included statements and debates on the outcome of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019, and a review of the Juncker Commission's term. Parliament also debated statements made on behalf of the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on the Turkish military operation in north-east Syria and its consequences, and on the violent suppression of young people's and students' protests in Iraq. Debates took place, inter alia, on Commission and Council statements on the effects of the Thomas Cook bankruptcy, on the dangers of violent right-wing extremism, on criminalisation of sexual education in Poland and on storms in Europe, followed by debates on accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. Members declined to approve the 2017 accounts of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and European Council/Council, and adopted Parliament's position on the general budget of the EU for 2020, which now goes to conciliation.

The revised Brexit deal: What has changed and next steps?

22-10-2019

Brexit talks between the EU and the UK had reached a standstill in spring 2019, with the House of Commons refusing to vote in favour of the negotiated withdrawal agreement, including a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. The new UK government led by Boris Johnson, who came into office on 24 July, made a priority of finalising preparations for leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, unless the EU was willing to renounce the ‘backstop’ included in the Protocol. However, the EU continued ...

Brexit talks between the EU and the UK had reached a standstill in spring 2019, with the House of Commons refusing to vote in favour of the negotiated withdrawal agreement, including a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. The new UK government led by Boris Johnson, who came into office on 24 July, made a priority of finalising preparations for leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, unless the EU was willing to renounce the ‘backstop’ included in the Protocol. However, the EU continued to restate its opposition to removing what it considered a legally operational safety net that would prevent a future hard border on the island of Ireland, in the absence of concrete proposals from the UK. At the beginning of October 2019, the UK government sent its proposals on revising the above-mentioned protocol, which were received with a measure of concern by the EU and other stakeholders. Discussions aimed at bridging the gap between the UK and EU positions were stepped up and, after a series of concessions, the EU and UK announced they had reached a revised withdrawal agreement, which was then immediately endorsed by the European Council on 17 October 2019. With only days to go until 31 October 2019, the date on which the UK is set to leave the EU, completing the ratification procedures to allow the withdrawal agreement's entry into force on 1 November is going to be a challenge. Whereas on the EU side no major obstacles are foreseen, in the UK, the House of Commons decided on 19 October to withhold approval for the revised deal until Parliament passes the related implementing legislation. Required by law to send the EU a request for an extension of the Article 50 period until 31 January 2020, the UK Prime Minister is nonetheless still aiming to fulfil all the necessary steps for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement to allow its entry into force on 1 November. This is also the stated aim of the European Union, although if the European Council were to decide in favour of granting an Article 50 extension, following the UK request, that decision would have to be taken before the end of October.

Outcome of the European Council (Article 50) meeting on 17 October 2019

22-10-2019

Leaders of the 27 EU Member States endorsed the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union with a revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, as well as a revised political declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. They invited the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to take steps to ensure the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement by 1 November 2019. Following postponement of the House of Commons vote to approve the deal ...

Leaders of the 27 EU Member States endorsed the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union with a revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, as well as a revised political declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. They invited the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to take steps to ensure the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement by 1 November 2019. Following postponement of the House of Commons vote to approve the deal, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will consult the EU-27 Heads of State or Government as to whether to agree to the request he received on 19 October for an extension of the Article 50 negotiation period to 31 January 2020.

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20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
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