The Commission proposed today to amend the Comitology Regulation, increasing transparency and accountability in the procedures for implementing EU law.
In September 2016, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated, "It is not right that when EU countries cannot decide among themselves whether or not to ban the use of glyphosate in herbicides, the Commission is forced by Parliament and Council to take a decision. So we will change those rules."
The Commission is in many areas explicitly empowered by the European Parliament and/or the Council to adopt acts to implement EU law. These implementing acts range from individual product authorisations or work programmes to antidumping measures or rules on roaming.
Today the Commission proposed four targeted amendments to the Comitology Regulation which will enhance transparency about the positions taken by Member States, allow for greater political guidance, and ensure more accountability in the decision-making process. The four measures proposed are:
-changing the voting rules at the last stage of the comitology procedure (the Appeal Committee), so that only votes in favour or against an act are taken into account; this will reduce the use of abstentions and the number of situations where the Committee is unable to take a position and the Commission is obliged to act without a clear mandate from the Member States;
-involving national Ministers by allowing the Commission to make a second referral to the Appeal Committee at Ministerial level if national experts do not take a positon; this will ensure that sensitive decisions are discussed at the appropriate political level;
-increasing voting transparency at the Appeal Committee level by making public the votes of Member State representatives;
-ensuring political input by enabling the Commission to refer the matter to the Council of Ministers for an Opinion if the Appeal Committee is unable to take a position.
In a number of high profile and sensitive cases in recent years Member States have been unable or unwilling to take a position in the relevant Committee, obliging the Commission to take sensitive legal decisions without political guidance from the Member States.
Euronews and Euranet
The College of Commissioners took a decision to renew the framework partnership agreement between the European Commission and Euronews for 4 years. This will allow the Commission to continue its financial support for Euronews for 2017, the level of which will remain at the same level as 2016, as agreed by the College of Commissioners in December 2016.
Today the College also discussed financial solutions to ensure the Commission's continuous support for the radio network Euranet in its production of programmes on European affairs. Today's discussion follows an agreement by the Council and the European Parliament to increase the EU budget for Multimedia Actions which the Commission supports and on the basis of which will conclude a contract with Euranet as early as possible.