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13th Jul 2020

Magazine

Parliament should have 'initiation' role

  • Chair of the constitutional affairs committee, and former president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy) wants the parliament to be able to initiate laws (Photo: European Parliament)

As a former president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani is a powerful chairman of the constitutional affairs committee (AFCO), and one who wants the EU parliament to be able to initiate legislation.

"The European parliament is the only chamber directly-elected by citizens that does not hold the right of initiative," the Italian MEP from Forza Italia points out to EUobserver.

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This is a priority for his committee in the next five years, and he also wants the parliament to have the right of inquiry.

"I know that these are ambitious goals," he adds, but says the EU elections in May have give these efforts a boost.

"The recent elections showed an important increase of participation. For this reason, we must answer to the raising voice of European citizens," Tajani said, adding: "the EU needs to change immediately, and to strengthen the link between institutions and citizens".

Tajani said that with his fellow MEPs on the committee, they will put "all our efforts to push forward all the proposals aimed at increasing the role of the European parliament".

He also welcomed EU commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen's proposals for a conference on the Future of Europe, which would start in 2020 and run for two years to bring together citizens, according to her plans.

"In my opinion, it is a key instrument to listen our citizens' needs and concerns and, on that base, to reform deeply the European Union," Tajani said.

Tajani said he hopes to speed up the process of institutional reforms.

"In this regard, the AFCO committee already invited many scholars and researchers, from all over Europe, in order to investigate a potential implementation of the right of initiative," he said.

He said the committee's work in the next five years will shape the future Europe, from the right of inquiry to the Future of Europe conference, through the reform of the lead candidate process (dubbed 'Spitzenkandidaten' based on the ideas's German origins), to electoral law and transparency issues.

"We must work hard to have a better Europe during this legislative term," Tajani said.

Steering clear of the controversial issues, Tajani said the committee is "united in working for a better and more functioning union".

"Of course, there are different views, based on political differences and values. As chair, my role is to give voice to everyone in order to have every political groups' contribution to the major debates," he added.

The chairman is Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), with vice-chairs: Gabriele Bischoff (S&D, Germany), Charles Goerens (Renew, Luxembourg), Guiliano Pisapia (S&D, Italy).

Coordinators: Danuta Hubner (EPP, Poland), Domenec Ruiz Devesa (S&D, Spain), Pascal Durand (Renew, France), Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA, Germany), Gerolf Annemans (ID, Belgium), Geert Bourgeois (ECR, Netherlands), Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL, Ireland).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.
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