One hundred days to go to the EU elections: the most anticipated, debated and controversial elections of the European Parliament since the first elections with universal suffrage 40 years ago, in 1979. One hundred days to go from February 13 to May 23rd, when Dutch citizens will lead off the European vote that by tradition will last four days. After The Netherlands, it will be the turn of Ireland, (may 24) and the Czech Republic (May 24-25), followed by Latvia, Malta and Slovakia (May 25). The elections cycle will be completed on Sunday, May 26, when the citizens of 21 Countries will go to the polls. These include Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Greece and Portugal. EU Citizens elect 705 MEPs, 76 of whom from Italy. The European Parliament will shrink from 751 – 73 Italians – to 705 MEPs when the United Kingdom leaves the EU (with 76 MEPs from Italy.
A busy agenda. In the past 100 days, in addition to an informally launched election campaign, the last items on the agenda of the European Parliament, that mark the conclusion of the present legislature, are taking place along with those on the agenda of the European Council of March 21-22, which should (and here we must use the conditional) put the seal on Brexit, scheduled for March 29. On May 9, Europe Day, an extraordinary summit of Heads of Government and State in Sibiu, Romania, will send a message to citizens on the future of Europe, encouraging citizens to cast their vote.
Following the elections of the end of May, the new Parliament will take office on July 2. Procedures for the election of the President of the Assembly in Strasbourg , the creation of the new EU Commission that next fall will replace the Executive chaired by Jean-Claude Juncker for the past five years, will ensue.
600 draft laws. The legislature that is nearing its end-of-term has been rather “productive” at a legislative level. In the meantime the European Parliament has had to address several political and social emergencies that include migration inflows, the strenuous recovery from economic and financial recession, regional crises (Syria, Africa), nationalistic and protectionist threats from the United States, Russia and Turkey. The eighth Parliamentary legislature has discussed 600 legislative proposals submitted by the Commission, in codecision procedure with the EU Council. But non-legislative procedures discussed in the EU Parliament and its commissions amount to more than one thousand.
From roaming to Brexit. MEPs have discussed and approved the Community budget, the safety of air flights and passenger rights, abolished roaming. They discussed and voted on measures relating to structural funds, support to farmers, data protection and free access to the Internet.
With reference to a number of examples Parliament has dealt with trade agreements with Canada, Japan and Singapore; on several occasions it addressed issues linked to citizens’ health, consumer protection, minority rights, support to SMEs, environmental protection and climate change.
Brexit debates were ongoing for the second half of the legislature.
Some figures… Figures prompt food for thought: between 2014 and the end of 2018 (not considering the last plenary meetings from January to April 2019), there were 1,993 hours of plenary sessions, during which MEPs voted 23,551 times (reports, resolutions, amendments). ..). Before the elections, the European Parliament meets again 5 times in plenary session: this week in Strasbourg (11-14 February); 11-14 March and 25-28 March again in Strasbourg; 3-4 April in Brussels; finally from 15 to 18 April again in Strasbourg. In the meantime, work continues in parliamentary committees and political groups, with a view to what is expected to be a fiery election campaign.