Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2016-06-09-Speech-4-254-000"

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"Mr President, in 2009 the Lisbon Treaty created the European Parliament we know today, although already since 2006 it had been progressively included in more and more negotiations and consultations on numerous important matters, such as the second Schengen information system for example. The point of retelling these public and well-known facts was simply to point out one rather simple matter: even though over the last decades all of the Union’s institutions have evolved and gained new powers and responsibilities, Parliament has undoubtedly evolved the most. Today it is by right amongst the top four EU institutions in terms of power, the others being the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Council. In fact, in a majority of cases when important decisions are concerned, Parliament has to agree to their implementation, not to mention that quite a few of them may get amended in the process as well. In this instance, it specifically applies to the conclusion of international agreements, something that the Lisbon Treaty has brought to the table. Moreover, not only does the Parliament in this respect possess the power of the consent procedure, it also has to be provided with comprehensive information on the process leading to the conclusion of an agreement in question, meaning that, even though Parliament can ask for specific information when such a need arises, it should be given to it of the other involved institutions’ own accord. In other words, I fully support the implementation of additional and the reinforcement of the currently existing measures aimed at a fully functional operation of the system, whose goal is to inform Parliament on the negotiation process of international agreements. It is, of course, fully understandable that, depending on each and every particular case, information may not be fully available for various reasons. However, the points mentioned in the debated oral question should indeed be a bare minimum. The third country in question, for example, the type of agreement discussed, the stage of the procedure and the relevant documents pertaining to the negotiations. Parliament does not legally have the power of legislative initiative, something that sets it far apart from the national parliaments in our Member States. But then again, the European Union itself is not a federation or a single state, and Parliament is essentially still a consultative assembly. However, it is a consultative assembly with some very advanced powers unlike those of any other similar institutional body around the world, including the ability to ask the Commission to draft the necessary legislation. So, in this respect, Parliament even has a power of legislative initiative. Committee and delegation hearings and non-binding resolutions have an indirect, albeit quite powerful, influence on the Union’s foreign policy. For example: approval of overseas development grants, EU enlargement etc., not to mention the non-binding quotes on new EU treaties, even without possessing the respective veto powers. All of this makes the Parliament an actor to be taken into utmost consideration. To put the overall idea a bit more simply, thanks to the enormous legitimacy gained through European elections directly from the EU citizens themselves, and due to the long-term constant expansions of various powers through the EU treaties, Parliament has the right to be constantly kept in the loop of essentially every EU-level and international development that concerns the European Union, which undoubtedly also includes information provision concerning negotiations on international agreements involving the EU."@lv2

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