Presentation on theme: "EU Institutions and Public Affairs Training"— Presentation transcript:
1EU Institutions and Public Affairs Training 2 July 2010
2Outline The EU institutions and the balance of power The European CommissionRole, Structure, PeopleThe European ParliamentRole, political landscape, Committees and key MEPs, Voting behaviour patternsThe Council of MinistersKnow your Councils, Role, Presidencies, Levels of negotiation, Voting systemEU Lobbying
3Today’s objectivesToday we will provide a basic understanding of the key players and functioning of the EU institutions and how to interact with them:Who are the key players?What do they do?How are decisions really made?
4EU Institutions and balance of power CommissionproposesParliamentCouncilamends/decidesamends/decides
5The Treaty of LisbonTreaty of Lisbon entered into force on1 December 2009Amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them.Creation of two new posts:President of the European Council: Herman Van RompuyHigh Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Catherine AshtonImpact on institutions (limited) is the following:Increased involvement of the EP in the legislative process through extended co-decision with the Council on a number of issues such as trade, budget, agriculture, transport, regional aid and justice and home affairsEP will decide on the entire EU budget together with the CouncilSize of the Commission will reduce from 1 per Member State to 1 for two-thirds of Member States from 2014The number of MEPs will be limited to 750
6Institutional balance of power European CommissionRepresents the EU interestAppointed, not elected - civil servantsEuropean ParliamentRepresents EU citizens & political ideasDirectly electedPolitical groupsRight of scrutiny over the Executive and non-elected bodyCouncil of the European UnionRepresents Member States’ governmentsGeopolitics (North/South; Atlantic / Mediterranean; East/West)Size and weight (QMV)Old and new Member States
7The Co-decision Procedure PROPOSALFIRST READINGSECOND READINGTHIRD READINGADOPTIONNO TIME LIMITMAX. 4 MONTHSEUROPEAN PARLIAMENT[Lead Committee]COUNCIL OF MINISTERSWorking Group:GovernmentPerm RepsEUROPEAN PARLIAMENT[Lead Committee]OPINION(1st Reading)OPINION(2nd Reading)EUROPEAN COMMISSIONCONCILIATIONPARLIAMENTCOUNCILCOMMISSION (FACILITATOR)ADOPTEDLEGISLATIONNO TIME LIMITCOMMON POSITIONMAX 24 WEEKS[Timing]COUNCIL OF MINISTERSWorking Group:GovernmentPerm RepsMAX. 4 MONTHS
9The European Commission Who is the Commission?27 Commissioners – political appointees23,000 civil servants – jobs for life.The defender of the European interestWhat do they do?The Administration of the European Union – right of initiative and implementation of existing legislationGuardian of the Treaty – launches infringements proceduresThe European Antitrust AuthorityThe Trade Negotiator of the European UnionThe Think Tank of the European Union
10European Commission in a nutshell Commission: total staff of around 24,000 (excl. external staff).‘College’ of 27 CommissionersAppointed every 5 years within 6 months of the European Parliament elections (next: November 2014)Decision making body of the Commission, alongside the relevant Commission’s Directorate Generals1 Commissioner per Member StatePortfolios similar to national governmentsLoyalty to the EU, not to the Member States
11Drafting of legislative proposals Council of MinistersCollegeof CommissionersEuropean ParliamentHeads of CabinetsCommissioner’sCabinetInter-service consultation(10-15 days allocated)DGDirector GeneralDirectorStakeholderconsultation(duration:+/- 8 weeks)Unit
13The European Parliament Democratic Representation(only directly elected institution)Platform for political debate3 fundamental powers:Legislative powerAmends and adopts legislative textsNo power to initiate European legislative proposalsPower of political initiativeBudgetary powerSupervisory powerRight to approve/reject newly appointed CommissionersPower to censure CommissionRegular reports by Commission and Council PresidencyRight to table written and oral questions
14European Parliament Outline Elected every 5 years (next: June 2014).736 MEPs (Germany with the most: 99; Malta with the least: 5).1or 2 assistants per MEP on average.Three seats: Brussels (committees), Strasbourg (plenary), Luxembourg (administration)20 Committees, 2 sub-committees, 1 temporary committee, 35 delegations, informal inter-groupsSecretariat with some 5,000 staff, of whom about 1,500 work in the linguistic services covering a total of 23 working languages.The EP’s budget for 2009 is €1,53 billion, which covered staff costs, buildings, MEPs' travel allowance and expenses.
15European Parliament Key Facts 20 parliamentary committeesA committee consists of between 30 and 76 MEPs, and has a chair, a bureau and a secretariat. The political make-up of the committees reflects that of the plenary assemblyCommittees meet once or twice a month in Brussels. Their debates are held in public.The committees amend and adopt legislative proposals.Parliament can also set up sub-committees and temporary committees to deal with specific issues, and committees of inquiry under its supervisory remit.MEPs might also set up interest groups – not part of formal structures but political platform.
16The European Parliament Political Make Up 855426418454313526NI
17European Parliament Decision Making Procedure CouncilPlenary VoteDeadline for AmendmentsCommittee VoteDeadline for AmendmentsCommittee DebatesEP appoints Committees andRapporteursCommission
18Co-decision competence The co-decision procedure, as established by the Maastricht Treaty, applies to the following policy areas:Environment (Energy)TransportTrans-European networks (Energy)ResearchNon-discrimination on the basis of nationalityThe right to move and resideThe free movement of workersSocial security for migrant workersThe right of establishmentThe internal market (Energy)EmploymentCustoms co-operationEqual opportunities and equal treatmentThe fight against social exclusionImplementing decisions regarding the European Social FundEducationCultureHealthVocational trainingConsumer protectionTransparencyImplementing decisions regarding the European Regional Development FundPreventing and combating fraudStatisticsEstablishment of a data protection advisory bodyThe Lisbon Treaty has extended the application of the co-decision procedure to a larger number of policy areas, therefore giving more decision-making powers to the Parliament. These areas include agriculture, energy security, immigration, justiceand home affairs, health and structural funds
19Consultation competence In the consultation procedure, the Commission submits a proposal to the Council, which then consults the European Parliament. While it is not bound by Parliament's opinion, the Council must nevertheless consult it in a certain number of cases, failing which the proposal cannot become legally binding:Police and judicial co-operation in criminal mattersRevision of the treatiesDiscrimination based on gender, race or ethnic origin, religion, political beliefs, handicap, age or sexual orientationEuropean citizenshipLegal immigration and the other policies connected to the free movement of peopleCompetition lawTax provisionsEconomic policy
20Some EP voting behaviour patterns Political groups vs. political groupsCommittee vs. committeeAlliance of national delegationsPro-environment MEPsAd-hoc coalitions on specific issues
22Council of Ministers: know your Councils Council of the European Union: also referred to as the Council of Ministers, the Council of the European Union is one of the 3 key EU institutions, together with the Parliament and the Commission.European Council: this is the official name for the summits of EU leaders, which take place every 3 months, taking high-level political decisions and setting the strategic direction of the EU.Council of Europe: a separate organisation based in Strasbourg, whose aim is to promote human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation.
23Council of the EU Who is the Council? Represents 27 individual Member StatesRotating six-month Presidency sets the Council’s political agendaPermanent Representations as ‘Ambassadors’What do they do?Pass European law - jointly with EPCo-ordinate Member States policiesConclude international agreementsApprove EU budget – jointly with EPDevelop EU‘s Common Foreign & Security PolicyDiplomatic, ‘secretive’ decision-making, the least transparent institution.
24Council of Ministers: its role Decision-maker, shares with Parliament the responsibility for passing laws and taking policy decisions.Representative of the 27 national governments.Meets in different compositions depending on issue: Environment, Competitiveness, etc.Rotating six-month Presidency sets the Council’s political agenda.Diplomatic, ‘secretive’ decision-making, the least transparent institution.Recent attempts to make it more transparent: when the Council addresses a proposal that falls under the co-decision procedure, the public will be able to listen to:The initial presentation by the Commission and the ensuing debateThe final vote and explanations of voting by Ministers
25Council of Ministers: 3 levels of negotiation Working GroupsCOREPERMinisters
26The Council Decision Making Process Heads of Government / MinistersPermanent RepresentativesAttachésNational expertsBrusselsBrusselsMember States
27Council of Ministers: 3 levels of negotiation TechnicalPoliticalWorking Group level:COREPER level:Council of Mins level:First stageAttended by attachés from Perm Reps and experts from MS capital cities.Working group discussions take place in parallel to EP with ongoing advice/intervention from Commission.Second stageNegotiate preliminary deals prior to Council meetings.Trade-offs possible.Committee of Permanent RepresentativesCOREPER II: MS AmbassadorsCOREPER I: MS Deputy AmbassadorsFinal stageEach Council meeting -Environment, Energy, Competition, etc - consists of relevant ministers from the national governments of all 27 MSs.Each country has a number of votes in the Council broadly reflecting the size of their population, but weighted in favour of smaller countries.Most decisions are taken by qualified majority vote, although ‘sensitive’ issues such as defence, taxation, foreign policy require unanimity.Possibilty to influence
28Council of Ministers voting system The Council votes either by unanimity, when everyone has to be in agreement, or qualified majority voting - a system of weighted votes.QMV is the most common method of decision-making, used in all but the most sensitive issues such as social policy, taxation, defence, foreign policy and treaty revision.Since the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the conditions for passing a vote have been simplified. Indeed, a QMV decision requires now a 'double majority' of 55% of MSs representing 65% of citizens. The aim of this change was to make it more difficult for a minority of countries to block a decision.
29Council of Ministers voting system Member StateVotes allocatedGermany29United KingdomFranceItalySpain27PolandRomania14Netherlands13Greece12Czech RepublicBelgiumHungaryPortugalSweden10AustriaBulgariaMember StateVotes allocatedSlovakia7DenmarkFinlandIrelandLithuaniaLatvia4SloveniaEstoniaCyprusLuxembourgMalta3Total345Qualified majority255
31Introducing lobbying What is the purpose of EU lobbying? Essentially to communicate a message in view to:Achieve a desired legislative outcomeStrategic positioning (in a policy debate, for example) & reputationWhat is lobbying in the EUConflict avoidanceBe part of the solutionSustained working relations with EU decision-makersReputationWho are the lobbyists?Companies, trade associations, NGOs, consumer groups, trade unions, industry federations, governments, international organisations, the media, consultants
32Lobbying in Brussels: A competitive environment 27 Member States25,000 policy and decision-makers194 diplomatic representations> 3,000 interest groups> 15,000 lobbyists4,400 lobbyists accredited by the European Parliament
33Influences on the Decision Making Procedure Technical/Regulatory AgenciesTrade AssociationsEEAOFTSESARBusinessEuropeDigital EuropeEuropiaIFOAMCompaniesMediaMicrosoftShellNestleBrussels press corpsMedia in key marketsTrade PressEU InstitutionsNational GovernmentsBEUCEuropean Transport Safety CouncilGreenpeaceWWFOxfamEPC, CEPS,Friends of EuropeCitizenOrganisationsDiplomatic missionsNGOsThink-tanksThird countries
34What does lobbying involve? Mastering the information flowsAnalysing and understanding the issues & impactsStrategy: Does it matter? (resources) -Taking actionFocused approach on key issuesInfluence: Communicating with target audiences in time to achieve goalsGeographical reach to 27 MS
35Golden Rules for Lobbying Good knowledge of EU institutions and decision-making processFollowing all relevant issuesAnticipating upcoming issues and events – early warningAnalysis of processesStakeholder analysisCoalition BuildingStrong personal network and relationships with opinion leaders and decision-makersTiming is essentialBe honest – Brussels is too small to lose your credibility
36Multiple channels and levels Successful Lobby GroupsGaining InfluenceBusinessResponsiveReputationInnovationTech. expertiseEnergyDesired outcomeRegulationEnvironmentTransportCompetitivenessMultiple channels and levelsof communication
37Is lobbying positive?“What gives the lobbyists influence is the people who hire them to work for them. It's all the people they represent.” – Bill Clinton"The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Individuals and organisations reasonably want to influence decisions that may affect them, those around them, and their environment. Government in turn needs access to the knowledge and views that lobbying can bring." – UK House of Commons Select Committee