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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.

European Border and Coast Guard: False and authentic documents online (FADO) system

05-02-2020

In 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). Among many other elements, the proposal envisaged integrating the False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO) system into the EBCG framework. The co-legislators have already adopted the new EBCG Regulation, but decided to adopt a separate legal act to settle the legal framework of the FADO system. Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement negotiated with Council during the February ...

In 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). Among many other elements, the proposal envisaged integrating the False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO) system into the EBCG framework. The co-legislators have already adopted the new EBCG Regulation, but decided to adopt a separate legal act to settle the legal framework of the FADO system. Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement negotiated with Council during the February plenary session.

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.

Parliamentary hearings of the Commissioners-designate: A decisive step in the investiture process

23-09-2019

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament's committees are a necessary ingredient in informing Parliament's decision to give its consent to, or reject, the proposed college. Each Commissioner-designate appears before a single hearing, involving one or more parliamentary committees, after responding to a written questionnaire and presenting his or her declaration of interests. In past hearings, the main points of criticism have been some candidates’ lack of specialist ...

The hearings of the Commissioners-designate before the European Parliament's committees are a necessary ingredient in informing Parliament's decision to give its consent to, or reject, the proposed college. Each Commissioner-designate appears before a single hearing, involving one or more parliamentary committees, after responding to a written questionnaire and presenting his or her declaration of interests. In past hearings, the main points of criticism have been some candidates’ lack of specialist knowledge of their portfolio, their vague answers and reluctance to make commitments, the existence of possible conflicts of interests in relation to the assigned portfolio and concerns regarding the integrity of the candidate. From the 2004 investiture on, Parliament has used its role in the appointment of the Commission to press for the replacement of certain controversial candidates and to force adjustments to certain portfolios, although it can only reject or accept the college as a whole. Whilst some experts warn of excessive politicisation of the hearings, others welcome the increased accountability of the Commission to Parliament, and see the deepening political link between the two as a step towards further democratisation of the EU decision-making process. Hearings have become critical for Parliament's holding the Commission to account, and are gaining in significance as a means for Parliament to take a greater role in agenda-setting at EU level. This is a further updated and expanded version of a 2014 briefing by 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.

European Border and Coast Guard

10-04-2019

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement to adopt a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). The text aims at reinforcing the protection of the EU's external borders, building on previous efforts of EU institutions to develop a European Integrated Border Management (EIBM) system. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal during the April II plenary session.

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement to adopt a new regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). The text aims at reinforcing the protection of the EU's external borders, building on previous efforts of EU institutions to develop a European Integrated Border Management (EIBM) system. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal during the April II plenary session.

Data on returns of irregular migrants

05-04-2019

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation applied to return procedures. Under this directive, Member States shall generally issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing and obligation to leave the territory of Member States) against every third-country national (TCN) found to be irregularly present in their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently being discussed within the European Parliament and the Council. This infographic ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation applied to return procedures. Under this directive, Member States shall generally issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing and obligation to leave the territory of Member States) against every third-country national (TCN) found to be irregularly present in their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently being discussed within the European Parliament and the Council. This infographic aims to provide relevant data on the EU return policy.

Avvenimenti fil-ġejjieni

06-07-2020
Geopolitical implications of the COVID-19 crisis - online hearing
Smigħ -
AFET
06-07-2020
Follow-up of OLAF case files, fighting fraud, corruption and other irregularities
Smigħ -
CONT
07-07-2020
STOA roundtable on deconfinement going digital: The rise of contact tracing apps
Sessjoni ta' ħidma -
STOA

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