Parliament's Conference of Presidents, made up of the leaders of the political groups, unanimously back a deal struck between the negotiators of Parliament and Commission on the Framework Agreement governing the relations of the two institutions. The agreement has now been sent to the Constitutional Affairs Committee and needs to be adopted later by the plenary.
The Conference of Presidents, at its meeting on Thursday 1 July, decided to send the negotiated text to the Constitutional Affairs Committee, which will draft a report on it after the summer break. Parliament's rapporteur is Paulo Rangel (EPP, PT).
The Chair of Parliament's Working Party that was nominated to hold the bilateral negotiations with the Commission was Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE). He commented on the deal struck on Tuesday 29 June "I am very satisfied with the result of the negotiations. It is important to know that now, for the first time, there is a solid legal basis for this kind of agreement stemming from the Treaty. This is no longer just a gentlemen's agreement."
Second round of negotiations
The negotiations that were finalised on 29 June had started at the end of February and consisted of ten meetings of the EP Working Party with Commission Vice-President responsible for inter-institutional relations and administration Maroš Šefcovic. During this phase the negotiators transformed previously agreed priorities into the actual text of the Framework Agreement.
The first round of negotiations had already been concluded in February, right before the appointment of the new Commission. At that point, Commission President José Manuel Barroso endorsed the adoption of several principles governing the working relations of the two institutions. The key elements concerned equal treatment for Parliament and Council, legislative initiative requests, law-making aspects, improvements in accountability of the executive, Parliament's involvement in international negotiations and improved arrangements for programming.
Some of the major achievements of Parliament's negotiators in the second phase consolidate the key principles agreed during the first round. On international negotiations, the new agreement includes detailed provisions taking into account the enhanced role of Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty. These relate both to access to information and to participation in international conferences. Also on programming, there are revised provisions to improve the involvement of Parliament.
Furthermore, major improvements were achieved in issues concerning information on Commission meetings with national experts on EU legislation, the use of soft law, Parliament's access to classified and confidential information, new rules for the participation of Commissioners in election campaigns, a review of all pending proposals at the beginning of a new Commission's mandate, as well as a commitment by the Commission on adaptation of the "aquis communautaire" to the new regime of delegated acts.
The relations of the European Parliament and the European Commission have been governed by a Framework Agreement since 1990. This agreement is updated every five years. The last agreement was concluded in 2005. The current update is guided by the new institutional architecture under the Lisbon Treaty, with the establishment of two equal legislative and budgetary branches. The Framework Agreement defines the political responsibilities of each institution towards the other and sets rules on the flow of information between them.
Besides the Chair, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, the other Members of Parliament's Working Party were Hannes Swoboda (S&D, AT), Diana Wallis (ALDE, UK), Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE) and Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (S&D, DE).
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