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“Parliament 2024”: The European Parliament is looking for a more modern and efficient House after the elections

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This week MEPs approved (with 429 votes in favour, 148 against, and 47 abstentions) the report implementing the recommendations by the Parliamentary reform group “Parliament 2024”, as endorsed by the Conference of Presidents (EP President Metsola and political group chairs) in December 2023.

The reforms will improve European Parliament’s functioning as a co-legislator, arm of the budgetary authority, and discharge authority, as well as increase its capacity to exercise democratic oversight and hold the other institutions, particularly the Commission, accountable. Improvements to plenary sessions are also included.

“Since my election in 2022, I have made modernisation of the European Parliament my priority. These reforms will make this House more efficient and more effective. With these measures in place the European Parliament will be on a much stronger footing starting from the next mandate.” – EU Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola commented on the reforms.

MEPs decided to improve the way in which committees cooperate by simplifying working methods to significantly reduce conflicts of competence among them. This will increase Parliament’s speed and efficiency and enhance its capacity to swiftly adopt consistent positions. The new referral procedure will allow for Commission proposals to be attributed in a more straightforward manner, which in turn will translate into legislative work starting earlier. The Conference of Presidents will now also have the possibility to propose to plenary to set up a temporary legislative committee to deal with especially broad crosscutting legislative proposals that would otherwise involve an unusually large number of committees, which would make the legislative process very difficult to handle.

Regarding Parliament’s institutional role, the reforms will ensure greater democratic control and accountability. MEPs introduced a new accountability mechanism to make sure Parliament’s institutional role is safeguarded and not undermined by Commission proposals for draft Council decisions addressing severe difficulties in member states, e.g. disruptions in the supply of certain products. These are proposals based on Article 122 TFEU, which was originally meant to be used only in very specific exceptional situations, but which has been increasingly relied upon by the Commission. In the same vein, MEPs included a proper review of the urgent procedure limiting it to exceptional and strictly necessary cases only, thereby reinforcing Parliament’s means of scrutiny and meaningful parliamentary deliberations.

To increase parliamentary scrutiny, MEPs voted in favour of, inter alia, introducing the concept of special scrutiny hearings to question Commissioners on an issue of major political importance. The reforms also include the possibility to hold ad hoc plenary sessions as well as special scrutiny sessions with the President of the Commission or selected Commissioners without a pre-defined theme, to be held once per plenary session.

The process of confirmation hearings for Commissioners-designate is also simplified and made more flexible.

On the budget and discharge, MEPs voted in favour of creating a strong link between their work on legislation and on the EU budget, thus making sure that Parliament’s policy priorities are backed up with the right amount of money. This integrated approach will see the legislative committees and Parliament’s budget experts work hand in hand throughout the legislative and budgetary cycle. All legislative proposals with an impact on the EU budget will from now on undergo a budgetary assessment, while Parliament will also update and focus its way of checking how the EU budget has been spent, to help ensure good value for money.

The new rules will come into force at the beginning of the first plenary session after the European elections on 16 July 2024.

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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