BETA


2018/2113(INI) Implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead AFCO BRESSO Mercedes (icon: S&D S&D) BROK Elmar (icon: PPE PPE), MESSERSCHMIDT Morten (icon: ECR ECR), SELIMOVIC Jasenko (icon: ALDE ALDE), SCHOLZ Helmut (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), DURAND Pascal (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), CASTALDO Fabio Massimo (icon: EFDD EFDD), ANNEMANS Gerolf (icon: ENF ENF)
Committee Opinion CONT ZDECHOVSKÝ Tomáš (icon: PPE PPE) Nedzhmi ALI (icon: ALDE ALDE), Georgi PIRINSKI (icon: S&D S&D)
Committee Opinion JURI
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2019/07/17
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2019/02/12
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2019/02/12
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 494 votes to 92, with 85 abstentions, the resolution on the implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission.

Parliament has at its disposal a set of instruments to call the Commission to account, such as the motion of censure, the ability to ask the President of the Commission to withdraw his or her confidence in an individual member of the Commission, the right of inquiry, the competence of scrutiny over delegated and implementing acts, the right to ask oral and written questions, and the right to institute legal proceedings against the Commission on an issue of legality or in case of failure to act by the Commission.

Main conclusions

Members recalled that scrutiny over the EU bodies is one of the main roles of the European Parliament and that the accountability of the Commission to Parliament is an underpinning principle of the functioning of the EU and of internal democratic control.

Parliament considered that it is not making full use of all its instruments of political control over the executive, owing to a variety of reasons, some being inherent to the institutional structure of the Union and others being, for example, the results of the changing interinstitutional dynamics, which have made some of the instruments difficult to apply or not sufficiently effective.

Whilst acknowledging the potential and successful implementation of the Spitzenkandidaten process, Members stated that the stronger political link created between Parliament and the Commission as a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process should not make the Commission subject to less stringent parliamentary oversight.

Parliament recalled that the Treaties do not confer any legislative functions or right of legislative initiative on the European Council. It expressed concern that in recent years the European Council has, against the spirit and the letter of the Treaties, taken a number of important political decisions outside of the Treaty framework, thereby de facto excluding those decisions from the oversight of Parliament and undermining the democratic accountability which is essential with regard to such European policies.

Members regretted the fact that in the absence of sincere cooperation by the Council, it is not possible to scrutinise the Council’s budget through the institutional practice of budgetary discharge by Parliament, and that this situation constitutes a serious failure to comply with the Treaty obligations stipulating that Parliament shall scrutinise the whole of the Union’s budget. They suggested that negotiations be launched between the Council, the Commission and Parliament so as to ensure Parliament has the right to access information on how the Council is implementing its budget, either directly or via the Commission, and that the Council answers written questions from Parliament and attends hearings and debates on the implementation of its budget.

Recommendations

Parliament suggested the following:

- the Commission to take more serious account of the legislative initiatives launched by Parliament under Article 225 TFEU, and the possibility for Parliament to be given the right of legislative initiative in the context of a future Treaty change should be given serious consideration;

- Parliament to reinforce its capacity for scrutinising the preparation and implementation of delegated and implementing acts;

- the Conference of Presidents to put question time back on the plenary agenda.

The resolution encouraged the exchange of best practices in parliamentary scrutiny among national parliaments, such as the holding of regular debates between the respective ministers and the specialised committees in national parliaments before and after Council meetings, and with Commissioners in an appropriate setting and timeframe, as well as meetings between the European Parliament and national parliaments.

Members also considered that the establishment of an annual European week would allow Members and Commissioners, notably Vice-Presidents in charge of clusters, to stand before all national parliamentary assemblies to discuss and explain the European agenda alongside MPs and representatives from civil society.

Parliament considered it necessary in a future Treaty change to improve the instruments for holding individual commissioners accountable to Parliament throughout their term of office, building on the somewhat limited existing provisions in the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Lastly, the resolution affirmed that the conditions under which negotiations took place with the United Kingdom on its withdrawal from the European Union were exemplary in terms of their transparency and the involvement of Parliament.

Documents
2019/02/12
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2019/02/11
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2019/01/28
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Mercedes BRESSO (S&D, IT) on the implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission.

Parliamentary oversight is a precondition for democratic legitimacy. Recent changes in the law-making process and the increased legislative role of the executive have created the need for a reinforcement of parliamentary scrutiny procedures.

Parliament has at its disposal a set of instruments to call the Commission to account, such as the motion of censure, the ability to ask the President of the Commission to withdraw his or her confidence in an individual member of the Commission, the right of inquiry, the competence of scrutiny over delegated and implementing acts, the right to ask oral and written questions, and the right to institute legal proceedings against the Commission on an issue of legality or in case of failure to act by the Commission.

Main conclusions and recommendations

All in all, it seems that Parliament has powerful instruments of political control over the Commission at its disposal. However, it appears necessary to improve their implementability and to better adjust them to the challenges specific to the EU institutional structure.

Parliament is not making full use of all its instruments of political control over the executive, owing to a variety of reasons, some being inherent to the institutional structure of the Union and others being, for example, the results of the changing interinstitutional dynamics, which have made some of the instruments difficult to apply or not sufficiently effective.

Members acknowledged the potential and successful implementation of the Spitzenkandidaten process, whereby all European citizens have a direct say in the choice of the president of the Commission by means of a vote for a list headed by their preferred candidate. They support continuing this practice for future European elections and encouraged all political forces to participate in this process.

They are convinced that the Spitzenkandidaten should head the lists of the European political parties in the elections to the European Parliament.

The report considered it necessary to establish a genuinely bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive.

Members expressed concern that in recent years the European Council has, against the spirit and the letter of the Treaties, taken a number of important political decisions outside of the Treaty framework, thereby de facto excluding those decisions from the oversight of Parliament and undermining the democratic accountability which is essential with regard to such European policies.

The report suggested, with a view to extending Parliament’s power of budgetary control to the whole of the Union budget, that negotiations be launched between the Council, the Commission and Parliament so as to ensure Parliament has the right to access information on how the Council is implementing its budget, either directly or via the Commission, and that the Council answers written questions from Parliament and attends hearings and debates on the implementation of its budget.

Members recommended:

- the Commission to take more serious account of the legislative initiatives launched by Parliament under Article 225 TFEU;

- Parliament to reinforce its capacity for scrutinising the preparation and implementation of delegated and implementing acts;

- the Conference of Presidents to put question time back on the plenary agenda.

Members considered that even though Parliament does not have a formal right of legislative initiative under the current Treaties, the possibility to be given the right of legislative initiative in the context of a future Treaty change should be given serious consideration.

They encouraged the exchange of best practices in parliamentary scrutiny among national parliaments, such as the holding of regular debates between the respective ministers and the specialised committees in national parliaments before and after Council meetings, and with Commissioners in an appropriate setting and timeframe, as well as meetings between the European Parliament and national parliaments.

Members also considered that the establishment of an annual European week would allow Members and Commissioners, notably Vice-Presidents in charge of clusters, to stand before all national parliamentary assemblies to discuss and explain the European agenda alongside MPs and representatives from civil society. This initiative could reinforce the democratic accountability of the Commission required by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Documents
2019/01/22
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2019/01/08
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2018/11/28
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2018/10/30
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2018/07/03
   EP - ZDECHOVSKÝ Tomáš (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in CONT
2018/06/14
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2018/06/11
   EP - BRESSO Mercedes (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in AFCO

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - Am 2

2019/02/12 Outcome: -: 499, +: 143, 0: 32
HU GB CY IE ?? PL EE DK SE SK LV LT LU MT FI SI CZ NL HR BE EL AT BG PT RO FR IT ES DE
Total
16
61
1
9
3
49
3
13
16
11
8
10
6
6
12
8
20
25
11
18
16
17
15
19
27
70
63
50
89
icon: ECR ECR
62

Slovakia ECR

2

Latvia ECR

For (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

1
2

Czechia ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

2

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Greece ECR

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

1

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Germany ECR

3
icon: ENF ENF
33
2

Netherlands ENF

3

Belgium ENF

For (1)

1
3

Germany ENF

For (1)

1
icon: NI NI
18

Hungary NI

2

United Kingdom NI

Abstain (1)

3

NI

Against (1)

1

Denmark NI

Against (1)

1

France NI

2

Germany NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2
icon: EFDD EFDD
34

EFDD

2

Poland EFDD

1

Lithuania EFDD

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1

Czechia EFDD

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1

Germany EFDD

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1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
46

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1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

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1

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3

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1

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1

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1

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3

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4

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2
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4

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1

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2

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1

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2

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3

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1
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64

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1

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3

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3

Latvia ALDE

1

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1

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1

Czechia ALDE

4

Croatia ALDE

2

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1

Portugal ALDE

1

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2
4
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165

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3

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3
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204

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2

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1

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2

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - § 4

2019/02/12 Outcome: -: 536, +: 118, 0: 15
EE EL CY LU LT BE ?? FI SI HR DK LV SE MT BG IE AT CZ SK NL ES PT HU RO DE FR PL GB IT
Total
3
16
1
5
9
19
3
12
8
11
13
8
16
6
15
9
17
19
12
25
49
20
17
27
86
70
48
60
63
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
44

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

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1

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1

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

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1

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1

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1

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1

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4

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3

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2

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3

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1
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64

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1

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1

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3

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2

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1

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1

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1

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4

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1

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2

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4

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1
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46

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1

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1

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1

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1

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3

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3

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3

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1

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2
icon: NI NI
18

NI

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1

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1

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2

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2

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2

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3
icon: EFDD EFDD
34

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1

EFDD

2

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1

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1
icon: ENF ENF
33

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1

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3

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3

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1

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2

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4
icon: ECR ECR
61

Greece ECR

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1

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3

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1

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1

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2

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2

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3
icon: S&D S&D
163

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2

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3

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2

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2
3

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3

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1

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3
3

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204

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3

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2

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2

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - Am 3

2019/02/12 Outcome: -: 391, +: 234, 0: 37
GB HU ?? EL CY NL DK EE SK PL IE LU SI IT LT FR LV AT SE MT BE HR FI BG CZ PT RO ES DE
Total
63
16
3
16
1
24
13
3
12
49
9
5
8
60
10
63
7
17
17
6
19
11
12
15
20
20
27
50
84
icon: ECR ECR
62

Greece ECR

For (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1
2

Bulgaria ECR

1

Czechia ECR

2

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Germany ECR

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
46

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

Abstain (1)

4

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

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1

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For (1)

1

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1

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1

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1

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1

France Verts/ALE

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6

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

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3

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2

Croatia Verts/ALE

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1
4
icon: ENF ENF
32

Netherlands ENF

3
2
3

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1

Germany ENF

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1
icon: EFDD EFDD
36

Poland EFDD

1

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1

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1

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1
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44

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1

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1

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3

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3

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2

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1

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2

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2
icon: ALDE ALDE
61

United Kingdom ALDE

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3

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1

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1

Slovenia ALDE

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1

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1

Austria ALDE

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1

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2

Portugal ALDE

1

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2

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4
icon: S&D S&D
159

Netherlands S&D

3
3
3

Ireland S&D

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1

Luxembourg S&D

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1

Slovenia S&D

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1

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2

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1

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3

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2

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2

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3
icon: PPE PPE
202

United Kingdom PPE

2

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2

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1

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1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Slovenia PPE

5

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2

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - § 8

2019/02/12 Outcome: +: 646, -: 17, 0: 8
DE FR IT GB ES PL RO NL CZ PT SE AT HU BE BG EL DK SK HR LT IE FI LV SI MT LU ?? CY EE
Total
88
69
63
62
50
49
27
24
19
19
17
17
17
16
15
16
13
12
11
10
9
11
8
8
6
6
3
1
3
icon: PPE PPE
201

United Kingdom PPE

2

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
166

Netherlands S&D

3

Czechia S&D

3

Croatia S&D

2

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Luxembourg S&D

Against (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
63

Germany ECR

3

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Czechia ECR

2

Bulgaria ECR

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

1
2

Latvia ECR

For (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
63

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Romania ALDE

For (1)

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2

Portugal ALDE

1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Finland ALDE

Against (1)

3

Latvia ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

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For (1)

1

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1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
45

Italy Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
45

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2

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1

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3

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1

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3

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1
icon: EFDD EFDD
35

Germany EFDD

For (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1

Lithuania EFDD

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1
icon: ENF ENF
33

Germany ENF

For (1)

1

United Kingdom ENF

4

Poland ENF

2

Netherlands ENF

3
3

Belgium ENF

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1
icon: NI NI
18

Germany NI

2

France NI

For (1)

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2

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

3

Hungary NI

2

Denmark NI

1

NI

For (1)

1

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - § 10

2019/02/12 Outcome: +: 495, -: 147, 0: 32
DE IT ES RO FR HU AT PT BG BE SE HR SI LT NL LU FI CZ SK IE MT LV EE EL PL CY ?? DK GB
Total
89
63
50
26
68
17
17
20
15
19
16
10
8
9
25
6
12
20
12
9
6
8
3
16
49
1
3
13
62
icon: PPE PPE
203

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom PPE

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1
icon: S&D S&D
165

Croatia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Netherlands S&D

Abstain (1)

3

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For (1)

1

Czechia S&D

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3

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

Abstain (1)

3

Latvia S&D

1
3
icon: ALDE ALDE
65

Germany ALDE

Abstain (1)

4

Romania ALDE

2

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Czechia ALDE

4

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Estonia ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

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3

United Kingdom ALDE

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
46

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1

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

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4

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

Against (1)

4
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
45

Italy GUE/NGL

2

Portugal GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

4

Sweden GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

Against (1)

3

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

3

Cyprus GUE/NGL

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1
icon: NI NI
18

Germany NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2

France NI

2

Hungary NI

2

NI

For (1)

1

Denmark NI

1

United Kingdom NI

3
icon: EFDD EFDD
35

Germany EFDD

Against (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

Against (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1

EFDD

2
icon: ENF ENF
32

Germany ENF

For (1)

1

Austria ENF

3

Belgium ENF

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

3

Poland ENF

2

United Kingdom ENF

For (1)

4
icon: ECR ECR
63

Germany ECR

3

Romania ECR

Against (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

Against (1)

1

Belgium ECR

3

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Finland ECR

2

Czechia ECR

2

Latvia ECR

Against (1)

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1

A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso - Am 6

2019/02/12 Outcome: +: 469, -: 197, 0: 11
GB IT FR ES EL DE NL SE BE DK PT AT IE LT CZ FI MT BG RO ?? HR EE SK CY LU PL LV SI HU
Total
63
63
70
49
16
87
25
17
19
12
20
17
9
10
20
12
6
15
27
3
11
3
12
1
6
49
8
8
17
icon: S&D S&D
166

Netherlands S&D

3

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Czechia S&D

3

Malta S&D

3

Croatia S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
65

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Portugal ALDE