Fabian Demicoli

Working at the European Parliament

GRTU has, as member of the MEUSAC Core Group, attended once again this monthly appointment. Main item on the agenda this week was the work of the European Parliament during the first year of the new legislation, priorities and work plan for the next year.

 

Dr Simon Busutill, one of Malta's MEPs, said the voting procedure people see in Parliament is only the tip of the iceberg of the work carried out in Parliament. For every vote that comes up prior work at committee level, groups, MEP expert meetings has to be done until one can reach a decision. Their main target is always that of achieving the majority vote, usually around 369 votes. He explained that they are for this reason used to act together with other political groups.

Dr Busuttil said he is a member and a substitute on other committees. He said that for example in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs there are always a number of very important issues being discussed for the EU, how this effects the Maltese legal system and Laws and how this effects the citizen. He also follows a number of delegations covering the area of the Balkans. He explained how important networking is.

MEP Busuttil also mentioned that in October there will be the Malta week which will be set up by the 5 Maltese MEPs, he mentioned this is the first event on such a scale from a member state, and that it had to be Malta, the smallest member state to do this. He concluded by saying that the work in the parliament cannot have an impact if they do not come back and communicate the happenings and achievements as they have done today at the MEUSAC Core Group meeting. Efforts to do this are always increasing.

MEP Louis Grech was also present, he said that the way politics are conducted at EU level do not have the same sharp divide as in Malta. At EU level, different groups do not keep so much distance between each other. MEP Grech said that there you do not buy respect but you have to earn it with reports, networking, etc… and only than you can become influential, through the work at committee level. He admitted that there are areas where the opposing groups find consensus and that coverage by media is still given most on local issues but even through this is important their objectives are on a larger scale.

Louis Grech said that his main work was when Parliament entrusted him with drafting a report on the Re-launching of the Single Market. He said not even the Euro represents the EU as much as the single market. The citizen, the unions and SMEs do not feel they form part of the single market and without this it cannot work. In his report he emphasized the need for a Single Market Act, where consumers and citizens must feature on each piece of legislation. He said that most questioned did not understand the single market. He said a ‘top 20' must be done on the top frustrations and that he recently received from the European Commission that action is being taken on his proposal of the ‘top 20'. He admitted progress was done but there is still much to be achieved such as wages, recognition of qualifications, consumer protection, the services directive. He emphasized the need to include collective regress and a citizens charter where people know their rights and obligations. Through his suggestions a single market forum will be established in November.

MEP Grech mentioned that the committees are also entrusted with checking if the Commission is going beyond its legislative powers. He concluded by saying that the European Parliament is the only institution that has a direct link to the citizen. The fact that you are coming from a small delegation tends to push one back, this is however a mistake. While it is important to accept this limitation, if you are clever in your work you can surpass your capabilities. He finally said he would appreciate more feedback on what they do.

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