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NGO Seminar on the Slovenian Presidency to the EU – ENVIRONMENT L jubljana, 7. – 8. June 2007 Decision-making process in the EU and the role of NGOs in.

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Presentation on theme: "NGO Seminar on the Slovenian Presidency to the EU – ENVIRONMENT L jubljana, 7. – 8. June 2007 Decision-making process in the EU and the role of NGOs in."— Presentation transcript:

1 NGO Seminar on the Slovenian Presidency to the EU – ENVIRONMENT L jubljana, 7. – 8. June 2007 Decision-making process in the EU and the role of NGOs in this process Regina Schneider, EEB Head of Communications European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement

2 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement Main points of my presentation: How decisions are made in the European Union – -Responsibilities and mandates of the EU institutions -The decision-making process Possibilities for NGOs/public involvement The perfect timing of lobbying The possible target groups in the EU context

3 Responsibilities and mandates of the EU institutions European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement There are basically two main areas in which you may wish to influence or ‘lobby’ EU institutions: –the legislative process –implementation and enforcement For EU decision-making Commission, Council and EP are the 3 most important EU Institutions

4 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Commission (1)  26 DGs (Directorate General) DG Environment, DG Agriculture, DG Regional Policy, DG Industry, DG Energy and Transport, … ‘The Commission’ can also refer to the college of 27 Commissioners, 1 per Member State Slovenia: Janez Potočnik, Commissioner in charge of Science and Research

5 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Commission (2)  Right of initiative -Proposals for new legislation or the revision of existing legislation must be tabled by the Commission; it is on basis of these proposals that Council and EP act -Get involved during the preparatory phase of a legal text -Usually good consultation -Process takes about 2-6 years Advantages: -It is easier to influence a text during the drafting phase -You will know the text very well which helps to elaborate your positions and when lobbying the EP and the Council Improvements: Better possibilities for public participation, stakeholder meetings, better access to documents

6 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement European Commission (3) Internal working papers leading to publication of a `thinking paper´.. White paper/`Towards strategy´ Questionnaires, stakeholder political or expert meetings Internet consultations Impact assessment studies of options /inputs Inter Service Consultation (fight with other DGs) Final proposal Green paper or directive/regulation/communication  1 DG develops but in end the whole Commission has to adopt it to have a Commission proposal

7 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The European Parliament (1) 785 MEPs elected for 5 years, 27 nationalities, 21 languages, 8 political ´parties´ 20 Committees – covering the DGs plus additional issues (eg women´s rights) – meet 2 x month in Brussels Committees – eg Env. and Public Health Committee, Budget Committee – all have own secretariats Parties groups – also all have own secretariats Plenary (all 785) 1 x month in Strasbourg

8 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement  Environment and budget 2 areas with important EP competences - In the environment sector the EP fully participates in the legislative process through the co-decision process. - For agriculture, for instance, this is not the case (foreseen in the EU Constitution to extend co-decision procedure to agriculture) The European Parliament (2)

9 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The European Parliament (2) For each law/regulation there is a leading MEP in charge of drafting the report (rapporteur). This MEP is `shadowed´ by 1 MEP from each of 7 other parties (if a Communication EP can chose if it reacts – own initiative report – no co-decision) 1 or more committees may adopt amendments but normally only one (lead committee) will decide which ones go to plenary vote. Rapporteur drafts his/her amendments then MEPs in th committee propose more. Committee votes on all of them Only amendments adopted in Committee plus extras suggested by plenary are voted on in plenary … during the EP’s Plenary Sessions, in what is called a Parliament `reading´

10 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Council (1) Council of the EU Represented by rotating `presidency´, changes each 6 months (currently German presidency, then Portuguese, Slovenian, French …) Councils for the different policy sectors Environment Council, Agriculture Council, Transport, Energy … Each one has working groups – eg on energy or a specific directive proposal - composed of national ministerial experts plus permanent representation staff

11 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Council (2)  Adopts legislative texts, in most cases in co- operation with the European Parliament (EP) in the co-decision procedure introduced with the Maastricht Treaty revision and extended to more areas in Amsterdam Treaty revision Concludes international conventions (eg in the transport, fisheries, trade sector)

12 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Council (3)  The Permanent Representations prepare the dossiers for the Council meetings  Important to lobby at national and EU level: national Ministries and Permanent Representations  Improved access to documents and transparency helpful, eg to know which countries block, try to weaken a proposal

13 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Council (4)  Lobby possibilities  On 1 particular issue, and there to all ministries or concentrating on the ‘difficult’ countries  Letter or meetings prior to Council meetings  Phone calls, personal contacts with people in charge in the cabinet  Letter or document (eg EEB Memorandum) to EU Presidency  Press releases, press briefings

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15 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement Co-decision procedure Involves the three different institutions and 2 readings – and this takes time Each reading in Parliament - first in small committee, then in whole Plenary Each reading in Council – Formation WG then Ministers EC proposal then –1st read. - EP, Council, (EC reactions), –2nd read. - EP, Council/EC/EP (trialogue/conciliation) Players: Commission experts, ministry's experts, EU politicians, trade unions, industry … and, of course, civil society groups Principle: communication, negotiation until a compromise is reached

16 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement The Brussels Scene  Lobbying is part of the political life  Around 18,000 lobbyists  Big majority industry lobby, some political lobbyists  Only around 2% lobby on behalf of civil society organisations (environment, health, consumer, social, animal welfare etc)  Number of potential interesting contact persons 50,000 or more (in Commission, EP, Permanent Representations, local and regional offices, media …)

17 European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement Perfect timing of lobbying and the possible target groups in the EU context No golden rules, it varies from case to case. However, some recommendations get involved as early as possible take the time to identify who your key contact persons are; they will change during the legislative process if appropriate, identify the country which risks to block or weaken a proposal prepare yourself a timetable Question of capacity, but don’t limit your lobbying to ‘one group’, i.e. not only to those working on environmental issues, not only to one political party in the EP, not only to the people of your country …

18 Build coalitions with other environmental stakeholders and those from other sectors, if you have social, consumer or health partners or cooperate with the trade unions this increases your outreach and the weight of your arguments Main target groups are the EU decision makers, but you should also follow what the other stakeholders do, know their main arguments and be ready to react to them Media, help to inform the public European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement Lobbying

19 Thank you for your attention The EU decision-making process is complex. If we want to have influence we have to do the right thing at the right moment at the right level. Our chances our better if we cooperate. European Environmental Bureau Bureau Européen de l’Environnement


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