New rules on how Parliament and the Commission work together were backed by an overwhelming majority of Constitutional Affairs Committee MEPs on Monday. The deal, to be put to a plenary vote on 20 October, would give Parliament new rights and powers to participate in EU policy making, reflecting its new position under the Lisbon Treaty.
The committee approved two reports by Paulo Rangel (EPP, PT), one on the "Framework Agreement" enshrining the new rules and the other on changes needed in Parliament's internal rules. The deal is to be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole on 20 October. If endorsed, it will take effect immediately.
The Framework Agreement is updated every five years, and the latest round of negotiations on it ended in June 2010. At the time, Parliament negotiators lead by Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE), welcomed the fact that the results achieved should enhance Parliament's powers.
Equal treatment of Parliament and the Council
A key achievement was a Commission commitment to the principle of equal treatment by the Commission of Parliament and the Council of Ministers. This relates especially to access to meetings and documentation.
New rules bring major improvements
Major improvements were also achieved on rules on keeping MEPs informed of progress in international negotiations and Commission meetings with national experts on EU legislation, Parliament's participation in international conferences, the use of "soft law", Parliament's access to classified and confidential information and the participation of Commissioners in election campaigns. Further changes should also step up Parliament's participation in programming.
In the chair: Carlo CASINI (EPP, IT)