EP – Commission interinstitutional agreement

As will be clear from some of the blogs on ACTA and the SWIFT agreement the EP is seeking to use its new powers following Lisbon. The changes themselves have necessitated some amendments to the inter-institutional agreement which details how relationships between the institutions will work in practice. The prior to Lisbon interinstitutional agreement from 2005 obviously required amendment as it did not (could not) take account of EP’s post Lisbon powers, particularly those with regard to international agreements (for general approach see art 218 TFEU). A ‘Framework Agreement’ was the subject of negotiation between the Commission and the EP in February 2010 with a final version being agreed (subject to formal approval by the Commission and EP) in the summer.

It seems that the Council of Ministers has, however, expressed concerns about the agreement, claiming it gave too much power to the EP, specifically with regard to the level of the EP’s involvement in international negotiations; the EP in its February Resolution at para h, emphasised the need for:

‘a commitment by the Commission for reinforced association with Parliament through the provision of immediate and full information to Parliament at all stages of negotiations on international agreements ‘

and has reiterated this in a (draft) report of the EP Constitutional Affairs Committee this September based on the provisional version concluded in June 2010 (link is to the statewatch site, though the document is also available directly from the Council Register). It seems to be that the Council remains opposed to this, understanding the scope of the Lisbon Treaty differently from both the Commission and the EP. Certainly the agenda for a COREPER meeting lists – at point 44 – the draft agreement as a matter for discussion, together with an opinoin from the Council Legal Service on the matter, for discussion. A recent blog suggests that the Council of Ministers is threatening legal action against the EP.

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