MEPs lukewarm on commission's 2013 work programme
By Benjamin Fox
The EU executive published its legislative plans for the final 18 months of the current legislative term on Tuesday (23 October) but MEPs gave only qualified support for the paper.
Announcing the programme during a debate with MEPs, administration commissioner Maros Sefcovic said the programme is aimed at "how the EU can best contribute to what is our most pressing priority: reviving growth and jobs."
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He added that: "2013 will be a decisive year for turning Europe around to face up to the crisis."
The programme features around 50 new files to be tabled in the last 18 months of the legislative term. In the financial field, these will include legislation on shadow banking and on the data used to calculate Libor, which works out the inter-bank interest rate.
In December the commission is expected to table plans for a Youth Employment Guarantee Scheme with young people hardest hit by the financial crisis and recession. It also intends to make proposals to establish a European Employment Guarantee and a formal network of European Public Employment Services.
However, there was no place for legislation on tobacco advertising, the draft bill at the heart of last week's departure health commissioner John Dalli over allegations that an associate of his had demanded a €60 million bribe for changing the legislation.
Internal market committee chair, UK conservative Malcolm Harbour, complained that the text is "not the commission's work programme at all. This is a list of new initiatives."
While offering the programme qualified support, Harbour accused the EU executive of failing to propose improvements to the quality of legislative drafting as well as qualitative impact assessments.
Critics say the commission uses it as an opportunity to re-jig already existing policy initiatives.
Liberal MEP, Andrew Duff said: "It is of course splendid that we are having more plans for lawmaking in the single market area, but we have to appreciate that the present package of single market law is far from complete."
The 2013 work programme will be the last chance for the commission to drive forward new legislation ahead of the 2014 European elections.
With Parliament formally dissolved over a month before the June election, the opening months of 2014 will see the EU institutions battle to get new laws on the statute. Files that have not been adopted by Parliament's dissolution are scrapped, with the emphasis on the Commission to re-table the texts.