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Parliamentary Highlights

This is for people who want more information on actual reports/legislation going through the Parliament.

Summary of Brussels "Mini" Session (25 - 26 February 2004)


British Budget Rebate under Scrutiny - Haug Report

MEPs adopted a non-binding resolution on a proposal from the Commission to make some largely technical changes to the system for financing the EU. One amendment insists that when the whole system comes up for review before the end of 2005, particular scrutiny is given to the British budget rebate and related measures applicable to Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.


Annual Policy Strategy of the European Commission for 2005

The Commission outlined its policy priorities for 2005, setting out the objectives and key initiatives to be taken and necessary in terms human and financial resources required. The Annual Policy Strategy is the first step in the strategic planning and programming cycle introduced in 2001. It starts the process which will lead to both the budget proposals for 2005 and the legislative and work programme, usually published in the autumn.


Spring Summit: Follow-up to Lisbon - Council and Commission statements

Statements were made to Parliament on preparations for the upcoming Spring Council in March. It is expected that the focus will be on economic reform and progress towards achieving the Lisbon goals (research, education and training). Reaching agreement on the EU Constitution and the EU-Russia relationship, in particular the situation in Chechnya, will also dominate


Staff Regulations - Harbour/Ortega Report

This revised proposal from Commission and Council on the modifications of staff regulations for EU officials was adopted. It includes changes that the Regulation should enter into force on the 1st of May 2004 in order to coincide with the date of accession of the new Member States.

Malcolm Harbour MEP said: "These new personnel policies must be quickly put into place, so that we have an effective, efficient Commission, able to tackle the challenge of enlargement and manage money and resources properly. We now need real progress on accounting system reforms - which have taken far too long - as the next part of the 'clean-up programme'."


EU-Russia Relations - Belder Report

The report, which urges strengthening of the EU-Russia relationship and assesses matters of trade, economic co-operation and human rights, was adopted. The report takes note of the impending accession of eight Baltic and Central European countries which will make Russia an even more important neighbour. Far from seeking any break with the strategic goals of the EU's current Russia policy, the recommendations proposed in the report seek to help the EU to become more efficient in its pursuit of progress towards these goals, which appears to require some radical changes to the methods used.


Better Lawmaking - Wallis Report

The report on the European Commission's 10th report on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality was adopted. It recommends areas of legislative activity that constitute a test-case in respect of subsidiarity and proportionality principles, such as the environment, to be included in the better lawmaking reports.

Malcolm Harbour MEP said: "This is good news, but we must now concentrate on the next report to widen this application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The Parliament must now deliver on its commitment to better lawmaking."


Rural Development - Daul Report



A non-binding resolution was passed to approve, without amendment, a Commission proposal relating to support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). This is a technical measure in view of EU enlargement.


Public Finances in EMU - Bigliardo Report

The report on the Commission's communication on public finance in the EMU during 2003 was passed. The report notes that in the Commission's view, the economic cycle is only partly to blame for the higher nominal deficits, which are in fact largely the result of a discretionary loosening of budgetary policy of some Member States.

The report also notes some countries have not taken sufficient measures to combat their respective deficits, and that there remain sufficient grounds for concern regarding the prospects for bringing their deficits below the figure of 3% of GDP in the immediate future. Strong condemnation of ECOFIN's decision to suspend Stability Pact procedures against Germany and France is stated. The report also endorses the Commission's move to ask the EU Court of Justice for a ruling to clarify the issue. France and Germany are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to the Pact, and the Commission is urged to present proposals for a "more intelligent application" of the Pact, including an early-warning mechanism when Member States do not achieve a budget surplus in periods of high growth.


  Plenary Highlights 9-12 February 2004
  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 28-29 January 2004
  Plenary Highlights 12-15 January 2004
  Plenary Highlights 17-20 November 2003
  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 5-6 November 2003
  Plenary Highlights 20-23 October 2003
  Plenary Highlights 22-25 September 2003
  Plenary Highlights 1-4 September 2003
  Plenary Highlights 30 June - 3 July 2003
  Plenary Highlights 2-5 June 2003
  Plenary Highlights 12-15 May 2003
    Plenary Highlights 7-10 April 2003
  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 26-27 March 2003
  Plenary Highlights 10-13 March 2003
  Plenary Highlights 10-13 February 2003
  Plenary Highlights 13-16 January 2003
  Plenary Highlights 17-20 December 2002
  Plenary Highlights 18-21 November 2002
  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 6-7 November 2002
  Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
  Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
  Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002