BETA


Events

2019/01/17
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2019/01/17
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2019/01/17
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 479 votes to 18, with 81 abstentions, a resolution on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU.

Following the inquiry into transparency, the Ombudsman found that the Council’s lack of transparency regarding public access to its legislative documents and its current practices with regard to transparency of its decision-making process – specifically during the preparatory stage at Coreper and working group level – constitute maladministration.

On 9 February 2018, the Ombudsman made six suggestions for improvements and three specific recommendations to the Council regarding transparency of its preparatory bodies, and asked the Council for a reply. The Council did not reply to the recommendations contained in the Ombudsman’s report within the legally prescribed timeline of three months, and, the Ombudsman decided not to grant the Council any extensions beyond this deadline, and submitted the report to Parliament.

Addressing the democratic deficit

Recalling the current criticism of the European Union for its democratic deficit, Members stressed that the fact that one of its three main institutions takes decisions without the transparency expected of a democratic institution is detrimental to the European project.

Members shared the Ombudsman's view that the Treaties impose a legal obligation to ensure that citizens are able to understand, follow in detail and participate in the legislative process, which is essential for the establishment of a modern democratic system.

Improving transparency

Parliament stated that the decision-making process at European level should be fully democratic and highly transparent in order to increase citizens' trust in the European project and the EU institutions, especially in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019.

A high level of transparency of the legislative process is essential to enable citizens, media and stakeholders to hold their elected representatives and governments accountable but also act as a safeguard against the spread of speculation, fake news and conspiracy theories

Preparatory meetings

Members deplored that, unlike committee meetings in Parliament, meetings of preparatory bodies and the majority of debates in the Council are held behind closed doors, that a large proportion of documents relating to legislative files are not published proactively by the Council and that documents relating to legislative dossiers distributed in its preparatory bodies are systematically classified under the marking 'LIMITE'.

Parliament stated that citizens, media and stakeholders must have access by appropriate means to the meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies, including via live- and webstreaming, and that the minutes of these meetings should be published in order to ensure a high level of transparency in the legislative process.

The resolution stressed that the lack of information prevents national parliaments from monitoring government action in the Council. It also leads to an imbalance in the information available and thus gives the Council a structural advantage over Parliament.

Members also wanted a high level of transparency to be applied to trilogues, which have become commonplace in reaching agreements on legislative dossiers.

Informal bodies

Parliament criticised the practice of pre-determining far-reaching economic and financial decisions in informal formats such as the Eurogroup and the Euro Summit. It insisted that EU legislation on transparency and access to documents should be applied to informal bodies and preparatory bodies within the Council, in particular the Eurogroup. It requested that the Eurogroup be fully formalised during the next revision of the Treaties in order to guarantee proper public access and parliamentary scrutiny.

Recommendations to the Council

Members fully endorsed the European Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Council and urged the Council – as a minimum – to take all measures necessary to implement as swiftly as possible the recommendations of the Ombudsman, namely:

- to systematically record the identity of Member State governments when they express positions in Council preparatory bodies;

- to develop clear and publicly available criteria for how it designates documents as ‘LIMITE’, in line with EU law;

- to systematically review the ‘LIMITE’ status of documents at an early stage, before the final adoption of a legislative act, including before informal negotiations in trilogues, at which point the Council will have reached an initial position on the proposal.

Parliament reiterated its call for the improvement of the exchange of documents and information between Parliament and the Council and for access to be granted to representatives of Parliament as observers to meetings of the Council and its bodies, in particular in the case of legislation, in a way equivalent to which Parliament grants the Council access to its meetings.

The Council is invited to:

- align its working methods with the standards of a parliamentary and participatory democracy, as required by the Treaties, rather than acting as a diplomatic forum;

- transform itself into a real legislative chamber in order to create a genuine bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive;

- use qualified majority voting and refrain, as far as possible, from taking decisions by consensus and therefore without a formal public vote.

Documents
2019/01/17
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2018/12/04
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Petitions have adopted an own-initiative report prepared jointly by Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE) and Yana TOOM (ALDE, EE) on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU.

Addressing the democratic deficit

Recalling the current criticism of the European Union for its democratic deficit, Members stressed that the fact that one of its three main institutions takes decisions without the transparency expected of a democratic institution is detrimental to the European project.

The decision-making process at European level should be fully democratic and highly transparent in order to increase citizens' trust in the European project and the EU institutions, especially in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019.

Members shared the Ombudsman's view that the Treaties impose a legal obligation to ensure that citizens are able to understand, follow in detail and participate in the legislative process, which is essential for the establishment of a modern democratic system.

A high level of transparency of the legislative process is essential to enable citizens, media and stakeholders to hold their elected representatives and governments accountable but also act as a safeguard against the spread of speculation, fake news and conspiracy theories.

The report deplored that, unlike committee meetings in Parliament, meetings of preparatory bodies and the majority of debates in the Council are held behind closed doors , that a large proportion of documents relating to legislative files are not published proactively by the Council and that documents relating to legislative dossiers distributed in its preparatory bodies are systematically classified under the marking 'LIMITE' .

The lack of information prevents national parliaments from monitoring government action in the Council. It also leads to an imbalance in the information available and thus gives the Council a structural advantage over Parliament.

Members also wanted a high level of transparency to be applied to trilogues , which have become commonplace in reaching agreements on legislative dossiers.

Recommendations to the Council

Members fully endorsed the European Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Council and urges the Council – as a minimum – to take all measures necessary to implement as swiftly as possible the recommendations of the Ombudsman, namely:

- to systematically record the identity of Member State governments when they express positions in Council preparatory bodies;

- to develop clear and publicly available criteria for how it designates documents as ‘LIMITE’, in line with EU law;

- to systematically review the ‘LIMITE’ status of documents at an early stage, before the final adoption of a legislative act, including before informal negotiations in trilogues, at which point the Council will have reached an initial position on the proposal.

The report reiterated its call for the improvement of the exchange of documents and information between Parliament and the Council and for access to be granted to representatives of Parliament as observers to meetings of the Council and its bodies, in particular in the case of legislation, in a way equivalent to which Parliament grants the Council access to its meetings.

The Council is invited to:

- align its working methods with the standards of a parliamentary and participatory democracy, as required by the Treaties, rather than acting as a diplomatic forum;

- transform itself into a real legislative chamber in order to create a genuine bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive;

- use qualified majority voting and refrain, as far as possible, from taking decisions by consensus and therefore without a formal public vote.

Lastly, Members called for the Eurogroup to be fully formalised during the next revision of the Treaties in order to ensure appropriate public access and parliamentary control.

Documents
2018/11/22
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2018/11/06
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2018/09/11
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2018/07/11
   EP - LEINEN Jo (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in AFCO
2018/07/11
   EP - TOOM Yana (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in AFCO
2018/07/11
   EP - LEINEN Jo (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in PETI
2018/07/11
   EP - TOOM Yana (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in PETI
2018/06/14
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2018/06/14
   EP - Referral to joint committee announced in Parliament

Documents

Votes

A8-0420/2018 - Jo Leinen et Yana Toom - § 16/1

2019/01/17 Outcome: +: 506, -: 51, 0: 27
DE FR ES IT GB RO SE AT NL CZ BG PT HU BE FI IE HR SI PL LT EL SK LU EE MT LV DK
Total
77
62
40
49
54
22
19
17
22
18
15
13
11
18
9
9
10
8
44
9
9
13
6
6
6
7
10
icon: PPE PPE
175

United Kingdom PPE

2

Finland PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
141

Netherlands S&D

3

Czechia S&D

3

Hungary S&D

2

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Croatia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Latvia S&D

1

Denmark S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
57

Germany ALDE

3

Romania ALDE

For (1)

1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Lithuania ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

3

Latvia ALDE

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
43

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
30

France GUE/NGL

2

Italy GUE/NGL

2

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Sweden GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
32

Germany EFDD

For (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

For (1)

1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1
icon: ENF ENF
33

Germany ENF

Abstain (1)

1

United Kingdom ENF

4

Netherlands ENF

3

Belgium ENF

For (1)

1

Poland ENF

2
icon: NI NI
12

Germany NI

2

France NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

2
icon: ECR ECR
60

Italy ECR

Against (1)

1

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Sweden ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Bulgaria ECR

Against (1)

1

Finland ECR

1

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Against (1)

1

A8-0420/2018 - Jo Leinen et Yana Toom - § 16/2

2019/01/17 Outcome: +: 360, -: 191, 0: 34
IT GB ES DE NL SE DK BE FI AT EL PT RO CZ EE LT HR SK LV IE BG LU SI MT FR PL HU
Total
50
56
42
74
20
19
10
18
9
17
9
14
22
19
5
9
10
12
7
9
14
6
8
6
64
44
11
icon: S&D S&D
145

Netherlands S&D

3

Denmark S&D

2

Czechia S&D

3

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Croatia S&D

2

Latvia S&D

1

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Bulgaria S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Hungary S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
55

Germany ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

1

Romania ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

2

Lithuania ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Latvia ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
42

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
35

Italy GUE/NGL

2

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Czechia GUE/NGL

2
icon: ECR ECR
59

Italy ECR

1

Netherlands ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Sweden ECR

2

Finland ECR

1

Greece ECR

For (1)

1

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Latvia ECR

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
32

Germany EFDD

For (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

For (1)

1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1
icon: NI NI
11

United Kingdom NI

Abstain (1)

1

Germany NI

Against (1)

2

France NI

2

Poland NI

Abstain (1)

3
icon: ENF ENF
33

United Kingdom ENF

Against (1)

4

Germany ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

3

Belgium ENF

Against (1)

1

Poland ENF

2
icon: PPE PPE
172

United Kingdom PPE

2

Netherlands PPE

Against (1)

1

Belgium PPE

For (1)

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

3

Finland PPE

Against (1)

1

Greece PPE

Against (1)

2

Estonia PPE

Against (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3
5

A8-0420/2018 - Jo Leinen et Yana Toom - Résolution

2019/01/17 Outcome: +: 479, 0: 81, -: 18
DE FR IT ES PL RO SE GB AT NL BG CZ BE PT HU SK HR FI LT SI EL LU LV DK MT EE IE
Total
71
62
48
43
43
22
19
55
17
22
15
19
18
14
11
13
10
8
9
8
8
6
7
9
6
5
9
icon: PPE PPE
172

United Kingdom PPE

2

Finland PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
144

Netherlands S&D

3

Czechia S&D

3

Hungary S&D

2

Croatia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Denmark S&D

2

Malta S&D

3

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
53

Germany ALDE

2

Romania ALDE

For (1)

1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Finland ALDE

2

Lithuania ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Denmark ALDE

2

Estonia ALDE

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: ENF ENF
33

Germany ENF

Abstain (1)

1
2

United Kingdom ENF

Against (1)

4

Netherlands ENF

3

Belgium ENF

For (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
32

Germany EFDD

Abstain (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

Abstain (1)

1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
33

Germany GUE/NGL

For (1)

Against (1)

5

France GUE/NGL

2

Italy GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

2

Sweden GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Portugal GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Greece GUE/NGL

2

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1
4
icon: ECR ECR
58

Italy ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Sweden ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Croatia ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Finland ECR

1

Lithuania ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Greece ECR

For (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Abstain (1)

1
icon: NI NI
11

Germany NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2

France NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2

United Kingdom NI

Abstain (1)

1
AmendmentsDossier
105 2018/2096(INI)
2018/11/06 AFCO, PETI 105 amendments...
source: 628.528

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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  • date: 2018-06-14T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: BROK Elmar group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: PAGAZAURTUNDÚA RUIZ Maite group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: ANDERSSON Max group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: AFCO date: 2018-07-11T00:00:00 2018-07-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Constitutional Affairs rapporteur: group: S&D name: LEINEN Jo group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: BROK Elmar group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: PAGAZAURTUNDÚA RUIZ Maite group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: ANDERSSON Max group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2018-07-11T00:00:00 2018-07-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: S&D name: LEINEN Jo group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana
  • date: 2019-01-14T00:00:00 body: EP type: Indicative plenary sitting date, 1st reading/single reading
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  • date: 2018-09-11T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE623.956 title: PE623.956 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2018-11-06T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE628.528 title: PE628.528 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
events
  • date: 2018-06-14T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2018-06-14T00:00:00 type: Referral to joint committee announced in Parliament body: EP
  • date: 2018-11-22T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2018-12-04T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2018-0420&language=EN title: A8-0420/2018 summary: The Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Petitions have adopted an own-initiative report prepared jointly by Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE) and Yana TOOM (ALDE, EE) on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU. Addressing the democratic deficit Recalling the current criticism of the European Union for its democratic deficit, Members stressed that the fact that one of its three main institutions takes decisions without the transparency expected of a democratic institution is detrimental to the European project. The decision-making process at European level should be fully democratic and highly transparent in order to increase citizens' trust in the European project and the EU institutions, especially in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019. Members shared the Ombudsman's view that the Treaties impose a legal obligation to ensure that citizens are able to understand, follow in detail and participate in the legislative process, which is essential for the establishment of a modern democratic system. A high level of transparency of the legislative process is essential to enable citizens, media and stakeholders to hold their elected representatives and governments accountable but also act as a safeguard against the spread of speculation, fake news and conspiracy theories. The report deplored that, unlike committee meetings in Parliament, meetings of preparatory bodies and the majority of debates in the Council are held behind closed doors , that a large proportion of documents relating to legislative files are not published proactively by the Council and that documents relating to legislative dossiers distributed in its preparatory bodies are systematically classified under the marking 'LIMITE' . The lack of information prevents national parliaments from monitoring government action in the Council. It also leads to an imbalance in the information available and thus gives the Council a structural advantage over Parliament. Members also wanted a high level of transparency to be applied to trilogues , which have become commonplace in reaching agreements on legislative dossiers. Recommendations to the Council Members fully endorsed the European Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Council and urges the Council – as a minimum – to take all measures necessary to implement as swiftly as possible the recommendations of the Ombudsman, namely: - to systematically record the identity of Member State governments when they express positions in Council preparatory bodies; - to develop clear and publicly available criteria for how it designates documents as ‘LIMITE’, in line with EU law; - to systematically review the ‘LIMITE’ status of documents at an early stage, before the final adoption of a legislative act, including before informal negotiations in trilogues, at which point the Council will have reached an initial position on the proposal. The report reiterated its call for the improvement of the exchange of documents and information between Parliament and the Council and for access to be granted to representatives of Parliament as observers to meetings of the Council and its bodies, in particular in the case of legislation, in a way equivalent to which Parliament grants the Council access to its meetings. The Council is invited to: - align its working methods with the standards of a parliamentary and participatory democracy, as required by the Treaties, rather than acting as a diplomatic forum; - transform itself into a real legislative chamber in order to create a genuine bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive; - use qualified majority voting and refrain, as far as possible, from taking decisions by consensus and therefore without a formal public vote. Lastly, Members called for the Eurogroup to be fully formalised during the next revision of the Treaties in order to ensure appropriate public access and parliamentary control.
  • date: 2019-01-17T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20190117&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2019-01-17T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2019-0045 title: T8-0045/2019 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 479 votes to 18, with 81 abstentions, a resolution on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU. Following the inquiry into transparency, the Ombudsman found that the Council’s lack of transparency regarding public access to its legislative documents and its current practices with regard to transparency of its decision-making process – specifically during the preparatory stage at Coreper and working group level – constitute maladministration. On 9 February 2018, the Ombudsman made six suggestions for improvements and three specific recommendations to the Council regarding transparency of its preparatory bodies, and asked the Council for a reply. The Council did not reply to the recommendations contained in the Ombudsman’s report within the legally prescribed timeline of three months, and, the Ombudsman decided not to grant the Council any extensions beyond this deadline, and submitted the report to Parliament. Addressing the democratic deficit Recalling the current criticism of the European Union for its democratic deficit, Members stressed that the fact that one of its three main institutions takes decisions without the transparency expected of a democratic institution is detrimental to the European project. Members shared the Ombudsman's view that the Treaties impose a legal obligation to ensure that citizens are able to understand, follow in detail and participate in the legislative process, which is essential for the establishment of a modern democratic system. Improving transparency Parliament stated that the decision-making process at European level should be fully democratic and highly transparent in order to increase citizens' trust in the European project and the EU institutions, especially in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019. A high level of transparency of the legislative process is essential to enable citizens, media and stakeholders to hold their elected representatives and governments accountable but also act as a safeguard against the spread of speculation, fake news and conspiracy theories Preparatory meetings Members deplored that, unlike committee meetings in Parliament, meetings of preparatory bodies and the majority of debates in the Council are held behind closed doors, that a large proportion of documents relating to legislative files are not published proactively by the Council and that documents relating to legislative dossiers distributed in its preparatory bodies are systematically classified under the marking 'LIMITE'. Parliament stated that citizens, media and stakeholders must have access by appropriate means to the meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies, including via live- and webstreaming, and that the minutes of these meetings should be published in order to ensure a high level of transparency in the legislative process. The resolution stressed that the lack of information prevents national parliaments from monitoring government action in the Council. It also leads to an imbalance in the information available and thus gives the Council a structural advantage over Parliament. Members also wanted a high level of transparency to be applied to trilogues, which have become commonplace in reaching agreements on legislative dossiers. Informal bodies Parliament criticised the practice of pre-determining far-reaching economic and financial decisions in informal formats such as the Eurogroup and the Euro Summit. It insisted that EU legislation on transparency and access to documents should be applied to informal bodies and preparatory bodies within the Council, in particular the Eurogroup. It requested that the Eurogroup be fully formalised during the next revision of the Treaties in order to guarantee proper public access and parliamentary scrutiny. Recommendations to the Council Members fully endorsed the European Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Council and urged the Council – as a minimum – to take all measures necessary to implement as swiftly as possible the recommendations of the Ombudsman, namely: - to systematically record the identity of Member State governments when they express positions in Council preparatory bodies; - to develop clear and publicly available criteria for how it designates documents as ‘LIMITE’, in line with EU law; - to systematically review the ‘LIMITE’ status of documents at an early stage, before the final adoption of a legislative act, including before informal negotiations in trilogues, at which point the Council will have reached an initial position on the proposal. Parliament reiterated its call for the improvement of the exchange of documents and information between Parliament and the Council and for access to be granted to representatives of Parliament as observers to meetings of the Council and its bodies, in particular in the case of legislation, in a way equivalent to which Parliament grants the Council access to its meetings. The Council is invited to: - align its working methods with the standards of a parliamentary and participatory democracy, as required by the Treaties, rather than acting as a diplomatic forum; - transform itself into a real legislative chamber in order to create a genuine bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive; - use qualified majority voting and refrain, as far as possible, from taking decisions by consensus and therefore without a formal public vote.
  • date: 2019-01-17T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
links
other
  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/secretariat-general_en title: Secretariat-General commissioner: TIMMERMANS Frans
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  • CJ35/8/13633
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  • 1.20.04 European Ombudsman
  • 1.20.05 Public access to information and documents, administrative practice
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  • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
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  • date: 2018-06-14T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: AFCO date: 2018-03-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Constitutional Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2018-03-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana
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  • body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: AFCO date: 2018-03-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Constitutional Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana
  • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
  • body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: JAHR Peter group: S&D name: KIRTON-DARLING Jude group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: GUE/NGL name: KUNEVA Kostadinka group: Verts/ALE name: AUKEN Margrete group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2018-03-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana
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    2018/2096(INI)
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    Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU
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