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EU Institutions and Public Affairs Training

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1 EU Institutions and Public Affairs Training
2 July 2010

2 Outline The EU institutions and the balance of power
The European Commission Role, Structure, People The European Parliament Role, political landscape, Committees and key MEPs, Voting behaviour patterns The Council of Ministers Know your Councils, Role, Presidencies, Levels of negotiation, Voting system EU Lobbying

3 Today’s objectives Today 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?

4 EU Institutions and balance of power
Commission proposes Parliament Council amends/decides amends/decides

5 The Treaty of Lisbon Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009 Amends the current EU and EC treaties, without replacing them. Creation of two new posts: President of the European Council: Herman Van Rompuy High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Catherine Ashton Impact 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 affairs EP will decide on the entire EU budget together with the Council Size of the Commission will reduce from 1 per Member State to 1 for two-thirds of Member States from 2014 The number of MEPs will be limited to 750

6 Institutional balance of power
European Commission Represents the EU interest Appointed, not elected - civil servants European Parliament Represents EU citizens & political ideas Directly elected Political groups Right of scrutiny over the Executive and non-elected body Council of the European Union Represents Member States’ governments Geopolitics (North/South; Atlantic / Mediterranean; East/West) Size and weight (QMV) Old and new Member States

7 The Co-decision Procedure

8 European Commission

9 The European Commission
Who is the Commission? 27 Commissioners – political appointees 23,000 civil servants – jobs for life. The defender of the European interest What do they do? The Administration of the European Union – right of initiative and implementation of existing legislation Guardian of the Treaty – launches infringements procedures The European Antitrust Authority The Trade Negotiator of the European Union The Think Tank of the European Union

10 European Commission in a nutshell
Commission: total staff of around 24,000 (excl. external staff). ‘College’ of 27 Commissioners Appointed 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 Generals 1 Commissioner per Member State Portfolios similar to national governments Loyalty to the EU, not to the Member States

11 Drafting of legislative proposals
Council of Ministers College of Commissioners European Parliament Heads of Cabinets Commissioner’s Cabinet Inter-service consultation (10-15 days allocated) DG Director General Director Stakeholder consultation (duration: +/- 8 weeks) Unit

12 European Parliament

13 The European Parliament
Democratic Representation (only directly elected institution) Platform for political debate 3 fundamental powers: Legislative power Amends and adopts legislative texts No power to initiate European legislative proposals Power of political initiative Budgetary power Supervisory power Right to approve/reject newly appointed Commissioners Power to censure Commission Regular reports by Commission and Council Presidency Right to table written and oral questions

14 European 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-groups Secretariat 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.

15 European Parliament Key Facts
20 parliamentary committees A 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 assembly Committees 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.

16 The European Parliament Political Make Up
85 54 264 184 54 31 35 26 NI

17 European Parliament Decision Making Procedure
Council Plenary Vote Deadline for Amendments Committee Vote Deadline for Amendments Committee Debates EP appoints Committees and Rapporteurs Commission

18 Co-decision competence
The co-decision procedure, as established by the Maastricht Treaty, applies to the following policy areas: Environment (Energy) Transport Trans-European networks (Energy) Research Non-discrimination on the basis of nationality The right to move and reside The free movement of workers Social security for migrant workers The right of establishment The internal market (Energy) Employment Customs co-operation Equal opportunities and equal treatment The fight against social exclusion Implementing decisions regarding the European Social Fund Education Culture Health Vocational training Consumer protection Transparency Implementing decisions regarding the European Regional Development Fund Preventing and combating fraud Statistics Establishment of a data protection advisory body The 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, justice and home affairs, health and structural funds

19 Consultation 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 matters Revision of the treaties Discrimination based on gender, race or ethnic origin, religion, political beliefs, handicap, age or sexual orientation European citizenship Legal immigration and the other policies connected to the free movement of people Competition law Tax provisions Economic policy

20 Some EP voting behaviour patterns
Political groups vs. political groups Committee vs. committee Alliance of national delegations Pro-environment MEPs Ad-hoc coalitions on specific issues

21 The Council of Ministers

22 Council 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.

23 Council of the EU Who is the Council?
Represents 27 individual Member States Rotating six-month Presidency sets the Council’s political agenda Permanent Representations as ‘Ambassadors’ What do they do? Pass European law - jointly with EP Co-ordinate Member States policies Conclude international agreements Approve EU budget – jointly with EP Develop EU‘s Common Foreign & Security Policy Diplomatic, ‘secretive’ decision-making, the least transparent institution.

24 Council 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 debate The final vote and explanations of voting by Ministers

25 Council of Ministers: 3 levels of negotiation
Working Groups COREPER Ministers

26 The Council Decision Making Process
Heads of Government / Ministers Permanent Representatives Attachés National experts Brussels Brussels Member States

27 Council of Ministers: 3 levels of negotiation
Technical Political Working Group level: COREPER level: Council of Mins level: First stage Attended 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 stage Negotiate preliminary deals prior to Council meetings. Trade-offs possible. Committee of Permanent Representatives COREPER II: MS Ambassadors COREPER I: MS Deputy Ambassadors Final stage Each 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

28 Council 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.

29 Council of Ministers voting system
Member State Votes allocated Germany 29 United Kingdom France Italy Spain 27 Poland Romania 14 Netherlands 13 Greece 12 Czech Republic Belgium Hungary Portugal Sweden 10 Austria Bulgaria Member State Votes allocated Slovakia 7 Denmark Finland Ireland Lithuania Latvia 4 Slovenia Estonia Cyprus Luxembourg Malta 3 Total 345 Qualified majority 255

30 Introducing lobbying

31 Introducing lobbying What is the purpose of EU lobbying?
Essentially to communicate a message in view to: Achieve a desired legislative outcome Strategic positioning (in a policy debate, for example) & reputation What is lobbying in the EU Conflict avoidance Be part of the solution Sustained working relations with EU decision-makers Reputation Who are the lobbyists? Companies, trade associations, NGOs, consumer groups, trade unions, industry federations, governments, international organisations, the media, consultants

32 Lobbying in Brussels: A competitive environment
27 Member States 25,000 policy and decision-makers 194 diplomatic representations > 3,000 interest groups > 15,000 lobbyists 4,400 lobbyists accredited by the European Parliament

33 Influences on the Decision Making Procedure
Technical/Regulatory Agencies Trade Associations EEA OFT SESAR BusinessEurope Digital Europe Europia IFOAM Companies Media Microsoft Shell Nestle Brussels press corps Media in key markets Trade Press EU Institutions National Governments BEUC European Transport Safety Council Greenpeace WWF Oxfam EPC, CEPS, Friends of Europe Citizen Organisations Diplomatic missions NGOs Think-tanks Third countries

34 What does lobbying involve?
Mastering the information flows Analysing and understanding the issues & impacts Strategy: Does it matter? (resources) -Taking action Focused approach on key issues Influence: Communicating with target audiences in time to achieve goals Geographical reach to 27 MS

35 Golden Rules for Lobbying
Good knowledge of EU institutions and decision-making process Following all relevant issues Anticipating upcoming issues and events – early warning Analysis of processes Stakeholder analysis Coalition Building Strong personal network and relationships with opinion leaders and decision-makers Timing is essential Be honest – Brussels is too small to lose your credibility

36 Multiple channels and levels
Successful Lobby Groups Gaining Influence Business Responsive Reputation Innovation Tech. expertise Energy Desired outcome Regulation Environment Transport Competitiveness Multiple channels and levels of communication

37 Is 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

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