Recent Developments in the EP EU

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					   HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS




Recent Developments in the European Parliament
                 and the EU




      Bulletin No. 10 : 4 May - 15 May 2009




   Prepared by the Oireachtas EU Liaison Office, Brussels
       Recent Developments in the European Parliament and the EU: 4 May - 15 May2009
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Contents                                                                                                 Page


Lisbon Treaty ......... ………………………………………….......................…...                                           3
      Czech Senate approves Lisbon Treaty ……….......................................                          3
      Report on relations with national parliaments.......................................                    3
      Report on institutional balance under the Lisbon Treaty............................                     4

European Parliament – Political and Legislative Highlights ..............…..........                          5
      Le Pen blocked from chairing opening session of parliament …………..                                       5
      Capital Requirements Directive adopted....……...................................                         5
      Economic Recovery Plan approved..........……..................................                           6
      Petrol Vapour Recovery proposal adopted………….................................                            7
      Energy labelling of TVs blocked,....……………..................................                             7
      Ban on trade in seal products..................................................................         8
      Working Time Directive for road transport workers rejected......................                        9

Inter-Parliamentary Activities …………………………………... ..................... 9
       COSAC XLI............................................................. .................................. 9
       Upcoming inter-parliamentary events .......................................................... 10

European Commission News …………….......................………………………. 10
    No confidentiality breach in Ryanair/Aer Lingus case.......... ..................... 10
    New proposal on regulation of aviation security charges.......... ..................... 10
    AIB recapitalisation approved...............……………….......... ..................... 11
    Commission opens debate on fishing quotas for 2010 ….......... ..................... 12

European Council / Presidency News …………………………….........………. 13
      Preparations for June EU Summit............................................ …..…….      13
      Forthcoming Council meetings.................................................... …..……. 13




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       Recent Developments in the European Parliament and the EU: 4 May - 15 May2009
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         Recent Developments in the European Parliament and the EU

                               May 4 - May 15 2009


1. LISBON TREATY

   Czech Senate approves Lisbon Treaty
   On Wednesday 6 May, the Czech Senate approved the Lisbon Treaty, with 54 of
   the 79 senators present voting in favour. The House of Representatives had
   already voted in favour of the text in February. Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty
   by the Czech Republic will not be completed until President Vaclav Klaus has
   signed the ratification law. However, the President has said that previously that he
   is not likely to do so until after the new treaty has been ratified in Ireland. There
   is further doubt about the Czech ratification as a small group of Senators has
   indicated that they may challenge the legitimacy of the treaty once more before
   the Czech Constitutional Court. Another referral to the court would further delay
   the procedure as Presidency Klaus has said that he would wait for the court's
   verdict before signing the treaty into law.


   Report on relations between the European Parliament and National
   Parliaments under the Lisbon Treaty
   The final plenary session of the European Parliament featured a debate on several
   reports on the Lisbon Treaty, including a report on future relations between the EP
   and National Parliaments. At the opening of the plenary session, MEP Mary Lou
   McDonald tabled a resolution to have the reports struck from the agenda, arguing
   that the House should show respect for the democratic process in Ireland and not
   attempt to "ratchet up" pressure on Ireland in the coming months in advance of a
   future referendum. The resolution was defeated by a large majority. MEPs argued
   that the proposed debate did not amount to adopting the treaty or prejudging a
   second referendum in Ireland. Given institutional and procedural implications of
   the Treaty, it would be irresponsible for the Parliament not to prepare for the
   treaty's ratification.

   The Report on relations between the European Parliament and national
   parliaments, authored by Elmar Brok MEP, welcomed the new rights that the
   Lisbon Treaty would give to national parliaments.

      It recommends that new forms of pre- and post-legislative dialogue between
       the EP and national parliaments be developed.
      It proposes that cooperation between the parliamentary committees of national
       parliaments and the European Parliament should be developed and placed on a
       systematic footing, particularly in the areas of the common foreign and
       security policy, economic and monetary union, the area of freedom, security
       and justice and constitutional affairs.
      A specific recommendation is that Joint Committee Meetings and Joint
       Parliamentary Meetings, currently held at the invitation of the European
       Parliament, should be maintained and developed systematically into a
       permanent network of corresponding committees.


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      The report calls for innovations in national parliament procedures such as
       giving Members of the European Parliament the right to speak once a year in
       plenary sittings of national parliaments, to participate in meetings of European
       affairs committees (as in the Oireachtas), and to take part in meetings of
       specialised committees whenever they discuss relevant pieces of EU
       legislation.
      The Parliament would also like to see more systematic monitoring of the pre-
       legislative dialogue between the national parliaments and the Commission (the
       "Barroso initiative") in order to be informed about the national parliaments'
       position at an early stage of the legislative process. The report calls on
       national parliaments to make the opinions they issue in this context available
       to the European Parliament at the same time.
      The report recommends investment in technical facilities for holding
       videoconferences between the rapporteurs in the specialised committees of the
       national parliaments and the European Parliament.
      Finally, on the role of COSAC the report proposes that it should remain
       primarily a forum for exchange of information and debate on general political
       issues and best practices with regard to the scrutiny of national governments.


   Report on the Institutional Balance under the Lisbon Treaty
   A Report by the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee, prepared by former
   Belgian PM Jean-Luc Dehaene MEP, deals with the impact of the Treaty of
   Lisbon on the development of the institutional balance of the EU. It highlights the
   role of the Parliament as „co-legislator‟ with the Council and the extension of the
   Parliament‟s role to areas such as agriculture and fisheries.. In order to fully
   benefit from these institutional changes, the report stresses that in-depth and
   permanent cooperation between institutions will be essential. Other key point
   made in the report include -

      the role of the European Council should be refocused on its fundamental task,
       which is to give the political impetus required and to define the guidelines and
       general objectives of EU activity;
      the need for a political agreement optimising the conditions under which the
       President of the European Parliament participates in discussions in the
       European Council;
      the designation of a permanent European Council president is welcomed, but
       the report underlines the fact that this person cannot be considered as the
       “president of the European Union”, but only as the person who will ensure
       preparation of and continuity in the work of the European Council, and
       represent the EU outside the EU within the framework of the CFSP;
      on the appointment of the President of the Commission, the report asks that
       the Parliament be consulted and involved in the procedure as if the Lisbon
       Treaty were already in force and that a political agreement should be
       concluded to this end between the EP and Council; in terms of the general
       procedure the report sets out a scheme involving consultations between the
       President of the European Council and the President of the European
       Parliament and the leaders of the political groups in the EP in advance of
       decision by the European Council;



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      the procedure for appointing other members of the future Commission should
       only be launched once the results of the second Irish referendum on the treaty
       are known; if there is a "yes" vote to the referendum (and assuming ratification
       has been completed in all other member states), approval by the whole of the
       Commission (including the president) by Parliament should only take place
       after the Lisbon Treaty takes effect.

   The Report also deals with the issue of the additional „Lisbon MEPs‟ under the
   transitional arrangements agreed at the December European Council. It envisages
   „pre-election‟ of the extra MEPs in the June elections (though clearly this is in the
   hands of the relevant Member States) and proposes that they sit in the Parliament
   as observers from the date the Treaty enters into force. The report acknowledges
   that for the extra MEPs to formally take their seats a modification in primary law
   would be required.



2. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE
   HIGHLIGHTS

   LePen blocked from chairing opening session of new parliament
   The European Parliament concluded the final legislative session of its term on
   Thursday 7 May. Campaigning now begins for the European elections, which
   will take place from 4-7 June. The inaugural session of the next parliament will
   take place in Strasbourg from 14-16 July.

   One of the final acts of the outgoing Parliament was to amend its rules of
   procedure with regard to the choice of the Member chairing the first session of
   the Parliament after the elections. According to the new provisions, it will be the
   outgoing EP President who will chair the first sitting. In case he or she is not re-
   elected, it would be up to an outgoing Vice-President in order of precedence or,
   failing him or her, the Member having held office for the longest period.
   Previously, the first session of the new Parliament was chaired by the oldest
   elected member. The avowed aim of this amendment was to make sure that the
   leader of the French National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen could not chair the first
   session of the newly elected parliament.


   Capital Requirements Directives adopted
   The European Parliament has adopted the revised Capital Requirements Directive,
   which will improve the transparency and the supervision of the financial system to
   ensure proper risk management in the banking sector and avoid a repetition in
   future of the current banking crisis, with bank failures putting pressure on other
   banks and leaving the whole financial system at risk. The amended Directive is
   designed to further strengthen the existing prudential framework for risk
   management and to establish processes by which information is shared and greater
   coordination takes place among supervisors in relation to cross-border groups,
   arising from the experience of market developments.
   The revised directive will result in enhanced liquidity risk management for banks.
   Additionally, it places requirements on investors to conduct due diligence and


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   originators and sponsors to increase transparency related to assets which they have
   securitised. It better aligns the role of the originator and sponsor to the role of the
   investor in securitised assets by requiring the retention by the originator / sponsor
   of 5% of the net economic interest of a securitisation position. The use of colleges
   of supervisors for the regulation of cross-border banking groups will facilitate the
   exchange of information and assist in the decision-making process. Specifically,
   this will require greater coordination between the Irish Financial Services
   Regulatory Authority and other supervisors in respect of those cross-border
   banking groups that it supervises. The proposal introduces both enhanced access
   to information for „host country‟ supervisors and greater authority for
   consolidating supervisors (i.e. the supervisor of the parent bank of a cross-border
   banking group). The proposal clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities of
   the supervisors in a crisis or emergency situation.

   Ireland supports the proposal as it is drafted. Member States will have to transpose
   the revised directive into national legislation by 31 October 2010 and apply the
   new provisions from the end of 2010.


   EU economic recovery plan (energy) approved
   Following political agreement with the Council, the European Parliament has
   approved the energy aspects European Economic Recovery Plan . The plan
   allocates €5 billion in 2009 and 2010 to energy and broadband internet projects
   (€3.98 billion ) and to measures relating to reform of the Common Agricultural
   Policy (€1.02 billion).

   Funding will be provided to energy projects in the following fields -

          gas and electricity infrastructure (€2,365 million);
          offshore wind energy (€565 million);
          carbon capture and storage (€1,050 million).

   The recovery plan will bear up to half of the costs of gas and electricity
   infrastructure and offshore wind energy projects. Carbon capture and storage
   (CCS) installations can be co-financed by up 80% of the costs. The programme
   reserves €200 million for supporting the construction of the Nabucco pipeline
   which will bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to the EU. The list of potential
   projects also includes offshore wind energy parks in the North Sea and projects to
   integrate future offshore wind installations in the North and Baltic Seas into the
   onshore grid.

   The Commission will monitor the implementation of the programme and publish a
   report each year together with its proposal for the budget of the following year. If
   this report in March 2010 identifies "serious risks in implementing the priority
   projects", the Commission will propose additional energy projects.

   The East West Electricity Interconnector linking Ireland and Wales is included on
   the list of energy projects, with a proposed allocation of up to €110 million. This
   will underpin regional energy market development and the All-island Single
   Electricity Market. It will ensure that Ireland, as a peripheral island nation, can



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   benefit from and contribute to the development of the internal energy market in
   Europe, enhancing competition, contributing to security of supply and assisting
   Ireland in meeting our renewable energy targets. Ireland could also benefit from
   the proposed allocation of funding for the North Sea Grid, involving projects to
   support the integration of off-shore wind energy.


   Petrol Vapour Recovery proposal adopted
   Following agreement with the European Council, the European Parliament has
   adopted a new directive which specifies that petrol vapour recovery technologies
   will become compulsory at new or renovated service stations with large
   throughput as of 1 January 2012. Almost all service stations (small ones will be
   exempted) will be obliged to install these new technologies by 2018. An exception
   exists also for service stations used exclusively in association with the
   construction and delivery of new motor vehicles. Member States will have to lay
   down rules on effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.

   Petrol vapour contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene,
   which is known to cause cancer, and contributes to the formation of ground-level
   ozone ('smog'), one of the air pollutants most damaging to human health and the
   environment. VOCs evaporate inside the fuel tank, filling the empty space in the
   tank above the fuel. As a vehicle is refuelled, these vapours are pushed out of the
   tank by the incoming fuel and, unless captured, escape into the atmosphere. New
   technologies allow this escaping vapour to be captured. This is done by creating a
   vacuum to suck back the vapour through the dispensing hose and nozzle, either to
   the station's underground storage tank or directly back to the fuel pump. Petrol
   vapour recovery technologies are currently being introduced by several European
   countries.

   According to Commission data, the EU has about 110,000 service stations that
   employ some 440,000 workers and have an annual turnover of €250 billion. The
   Commission will review the implementation of the directive by end 2014.


   Energy labelling of TVs blocked, approved for Fridges
   The European Parliament has blocked a Commission proposal for the energy
   labelling of TV sets, while approving a new label for household fridges and
   freezers.

   Under the current energy labelling directive, adopted by Parliament and Council
   in 1992, the Commission may set technical requirements, such as the energy
   classes for household appliances like freezers and washing machines, etc.
   Parliament and Council may block such implementing measures under a
   "regulatory procedure with scrutiny". Parliament can do so by an absolute
   majority of its members. The new measures proposed by the Commission for TVs
   and fridges were intended revamp the traditional layout of the energy label. There
   was a consensus view that change was needed as the “A” level of the A to G scale
   was becoming devalued. For many products covered by the labelling directive,
   “A” was becoming the norm, rather than the best. This was stifling further
   innovation in terms of energy efficiency, as manufacturers were reluctant to invest



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   in improving the energy efficiency of their products, when the energy labelling
   system could no longer differentiate their products from less efficient ones.

   Parliament blocked the Commission's plan on the format for the energy labelling
   of TV sets. The Commission proposal would have sub-divided the highest energy
   class 'A' by adding new classes such as 'A-20%', 'A-40%', 'A-60%' etc. The
   parliament took the view that as televisions are high-energy consuming appliances
   and consequently there is considerable potential for saving energy by adding this
   category to the energy labelling scheme. The parliament opposed the format
   proposed by the Commission since it could add to confusion about whether class
   'A' represents an efficient or an inefficient product. Instead the Commission
   should reserve A-label status for the top 10 – 20 % best performing equipment
   No labelling regime currently exists for TVs. As a result of the rejection,
   Parliament called on the Commission to submit new draft measures based on a
   closed 'A-G' scale by end of September 2009.

   However, the Commission's plans for introducing the new format for household
   fridges and freezers was adopted. In future a new fridge labelled "A-20%" will
   mean that this product consumes 20% less energy than an "A" model product.

   Ireland‟s stated preference was for a closed A – G label with re-ratings of existing
   appliances. However, Ireland supported the revised Commission proposal, fearing
   that rejection of the energy labelling measures may impact negatively on the
   process for approval of other related implementing measures under the Ecodesign
   of Energy Using Products Directive (EUP). For the success of the EU‟s efforts to
   achieve the energy efficiency elements of its 20/20/20 target, it is essential that the
   labelling and EUP measures progress quickly.


   Ban on trade in seal products
   Following the adoption of a legislative proposal in the European Parliament,
   arising from an agreement with the Council, the placing on the market of seal
   products will not be allowed banned. It will be permitted only where the seal
   products result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous
   communities. Otherwise the import is permitted where it is of an occasional nature
   and consists exclusively of goods for the personal use of the travellers or products
   that result from by-products of hunting and conducted for the purpose of
   sustainable management of marine resources on a non-profit basis. The new
   regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the placing on the market of
   seal products. It is therefore without prejudice to other Community or national
   rules regulating the hunting of seals. Member States will be required to lay down
   the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation and take all
   measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided
   for should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

   Nearly one million seals are slaughtered annually in commercial seal kills around
   the world. Ireland is pleased that agreement on a total ban has been reached, as
   this will ensure that the product of commercial sealing will be excluded from the
   EU market. Ireland also welcomed that the Regulation is without prejudice to
   national or Community law regulating the hunting of seals. The National Parks


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   and Wildlife Service issues a small number of licences each year to kill seals that
   are interfering with fish farms for example. A key concern for Council was the
   likelihood that Canada would challenge the EU under the WTO/GATT dispute
   arrangements on the basis that the ban constitutes an illegal interference with
   trade. Efforts have been made to limit the possible scope for any challenge,
   including by phrasing the ban as "non-discriminatory" and the allowing of the
   transit of seal products.


   Working time proposal for road transport workers rejected by Parliament
   The European Parliament has rejected, at first reading, a proposal by the
   Commission amending the existing Directive on the organisation of working time
   of persons performing mobile road transport activities. The reason behind the
   rejection was that the draft proposal did not take into account Parliament's demand
   for the full inclusion of self-employed drivers. The Parliaments report on the
   implementation of social legislation relating to road transport calls on Member
   States to implement the Directive as soon as possible in the interests of road safety
   and the health and safety of drivers and for the full inclusion of self-employed
   drivers within the scope of the Directive after the transitional period by 23 March
   2009.

   The existing Directive in this area was agreed in March 2005. Its aim was to
   ensure minimum social protection standards for mobile workers in the road
   transport sector and was perceived as an important step towards improving the
   health and safety protection of mobile workers. When adopting the Directive after
   a conciliation procedure, Council and Parliament agreed that it should in principle
   apply to self-employed drivers from 23 March 2009. In addition, the Commission
   was requested to present a report at the latest two years before that date to the
   European Parliament and the Council, followed by a legislative proposal, which
   would either define the modalities for the inclusion or exclude the self-employed
   drivers from the scope of the Directive. The Commission report concluded that
   there was not a decisive case for including self-employed drivers under the
   directive, but that it was important to address the issue of definitions to clarify the
   so-called 'false' self-employed drivers, i.e. drivers that are not tied by an
   employment contract but in effect do not have the freedom to work with other
   clients.

   The Parliament has called on the Commission to withdraw its proposal and take
   appropriate steps together with Parliament to submit a new proposal.


3. INTER-PARLIAMENTARY ACTIVITIES

   COSAC XLI
   The XLI COSAC meeting was held in the Czech Republic in Prague on 10/12
   May. The Joint Committee on European Scrutiny was represented by the
   Chairman, John Perry TD. The Joint Committee on European Affairs was
   represented by the Chairman, Bernard Durkan TD, Vice-Chairman Timmy Dooley
   TD and by Michael Mulcahy TD. The main guest speakers at the meeting were
   Mr. Jan Fischer, the newly appointed Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr.


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   Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, and
   Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic.

   The conference focused on topical issues such as the Czech Presidency, the
   current economic and financial situation and the role of national parliaments in the
   control of Europol and the evaluation of Eurojust. Also discussed was the role of
   the EU in defending democracy and human rights.


   Upcoming Inter-Parliamentary Events
     Thematic Study Visit (The codecision procedure in practice and the
       implications for national parliamentary scrutiny) 11-12 June, European
       Parliament, Brussels
     COSAC Chairpersons meeting, 5-6 July, Swedish Parliament, Stockholm.



4. EUROPEAN COMMISSION DEVELOPMENTS

   Ombudsman finds no evidence of confidentiality breach in Ryanair/Aer Lingus
   case
   The European Ombudsman has found no evidence that the European Commission
   breached confidentiality during its review of Ryanair's planned takeover of Aer
   Lingus. This follows a complaint from Ryanair, alleging that the Commission had
   improperly disclosed highly sensitive information provided to it by Ryanair. In
   October 2006, Ryanair notified the European Commission of its plans to merge
   with Aer Lingus. The Commission opened an in-depth inquiry into this proposed
   merger and, in June 2007, declared that the merger would be incompatible with
   the common market. In May 2007, Ryanair lodged a complaint with the
   Ombudsman alleging the Commission breached confidentiality during the inquiry.
   According to the airline, the Commission improperly disclosed to third parties
   highly sensitive information contained in several documents, including a so-called
   "remedies" document and the Statement of Objections.

   During his investigation, the Ombudsman found that leaks to the press had indeed
   taken place, but concluded that they could not be attributed to the Commission.
   The Ombudsman criticised the Commission, however, for an inadequate
   Confidentiality Declaration it used during its review of the proposed merger. Third
   parties, such as Aer Lingus, were asked to sign this Declaration when the
   Commission sent them sensitive information received from Ryanair. The
   Ombudsman also asked the Commission to improve cooperation with national
   competition authorities to ensure that confidential documents sent to them are not
   leaked


   Commission proposal on the regulation of aviation security charges
   The European Commission has published a proposal for a Directive on aviation
   security charges in Europe. The proposal follows a recent report on the financing
   of aviation security. The aims are to ensure transparency, non-discrimination and
   consultation of airlines when fixing the level of charges, as well as the cost-


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   relatedness of security charges. It also proposes to establish an independent
   supervisory authority in each Member State. At present, recovery of aviation
   security costs is regulated at national level. However, information to passengers on
   these costs can be inadequate and airlines are not systematically consulted at all
   EU airports. This situation hinders the existence of a true playing field for airports
   and air carriers alike, which is particularly critical in a very challenging
   environment for the entire aviation sector.
   The Commission proposes the following common principles for the levying of
   security charges at Community airports:
    Security charges should not discriminate between passengers or between
       airlines.
    Airlines should be consulted on the security charges in a compulsory and
       regular manner, at least once a year. Airports should take airlines' views into
       account before a decision is taken, and, in case no agreement is reached, should
       justify their decisions.
    Transparency needs to be ensured at three distinct levels:
            o Airlines should receive information from airports on the components
                serving as a basis for determining the level of security charges (for
                example, services and infrastructure provided in return for the charges,
                method of calculation or foreseen investment).
            o To allow airports to properly assess the requirements regarding future
                investment and better adapt their security infrastructure, airlines should
                share, for example, their traffic forecasts on a timely basis.
            o It is important to establish transparency in relation to the economic
                impact of national security measures that are more stringent than EU
                requirements.
    Security charges shall be used exclusively to meet security costs, and should
       take into account the grants and subsidies allocated by the authorities for
       security purposes, the cost of financing facilities and the costs of installations
       and security operations.
    Independent authorities should be established in each Member State to ensure
       the correct application of the measures, together with a procedure for resolving
       disagreements between airports and users.


   Commission approves recapitalisation of Allied Irish Bank
   The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an
   emergency recapitalisation worth €3.5 billion that the Irish government intends to
   grant to Allied Irish Bank. The Commission found the measure to be in line with
   its Guidance Communications on state aid during the current financial crisis. It
   took the view that the capital injection would enable Allied Irish Bank to weather
   the financial crisis whilst avoiding disproportionate distortions of competition. Due
   to the current financial crisis, even banks that meet the regulatory solvency ratios
   may experience distress and be required to reinforce their capital. In addition to
   difficulties caused by the global financial crisis, recent developments with regard
   to the sharp decrease of Allied Irish Bank's shares' value increased the need to
   reassure the financial markets of the bank's stability
   The Commission was satisfied that the measure meets the following criteria:




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          Necessity: AIB has an important role within the Irish financial sector and a
           loss of confidence could have led to a further disturbance of the financial
           situation and harmful spill-over effects to the economy as a whole
          Appropriate own contribution: a remuneration of 8% per annum is
           consistent with the Commission's Recapitalisation Communication.
          Avoidance of undue distortions of competition: the package foresees
           sufficient behavioural rules to prevent an abuse of the state support, e.g.
           prohibition of advertising of the aid, restrictions on the payment of
           dividends, restrictions on executives' remuneration, nomination of public
           interest representatives to the bank's board and the submission of a
           restructuring plan within six months for the Commission's assessment and
           approval.


   Commission opens debate on fishing quotas for 2010
   The European Commission presented            a consultation document sets out the
   approach the Commission intends to take when setting the Total Allowable
   Catches (TACs) and the fishing effort limitations for 2010 (COM 2009 224).. The
   Commission points out that slow progress has been made in stock recovery since
   the 2002 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. One of the reasons for this is
   that fishing opportunities consistently have been set at levels which were too high
   for the fish stocks to sustain. As a result, more than 80% of EU stocks are now
   overfished. However, several long-term plans have been implemented
   successfully, generating signs of stock recovery. The Commission is therefore
   proposing greater flexibility in changing TACs from year to year, to enable more
   effective recovery measures for overexploited stocks.

   The Communication assesses the current state of the EU fisheries resources and
   goes on to explain that the contribution of EU fisheries to the European economy
   and food supply is far smaller today than it used to be in the past. A number of
   changes are needed to address this situation -

      In the case of stocks which are seriously overfished, an annual limitation in the
       TAC variation is producing results which go against the longer-term interests
       of the industry. For these stocks, the Commission therefore proposes a more
       flexible approach to year-on-year changes in TACs, on the basis of advice
       from the Commission's Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on
       Fisheries (STECF).
       For stocks with a low level of biomass, it is proposed that TACs be reduced
       by up to 20% a year, as long as fishing mortality does not increase.
      For those stocks which have recovered beyond the level allowing the highest
       yield to be taken, TACs could be increased by up to 25% a year.
      Conversely, when STECF advises a zero catch, TACs should be reduced by at
       least 25%.
      For stocks where an analytical assessment is not available, the approach is
       being revised in light of new scientific advice and with consultation with
       stakeholders.




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   Member States and stakeholders are invited to present their views on the
   Commission's approach by 31 July. The Commission will then make formal
   proposals in the autumn to be adopted by Council before the end of the year.


5. European Council

   Preparations for June EU summit
   Alexandr Vondra, the Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs,
   addressed the European Parliament at its final plenary session in advance of the
   European Council of 18-19 June . Mr. Vondra was optimistic about ongoing
   efforts to finalise an agreement giving Ireland guarantees on various issues of
   concern to the Irish people, so that Ireland could ratify the Lisbon Treaty. The
   drafting these guarantees is still continuing but he was confident that the June
   summit would be able to approve them He also spoke about the appointment of
   the next European Commission, and in particular its president, after next month's
   European Parliament elections,

   He also indicated that the June European Council would appoint the next president
   of the Commission in compliance with the procedure included in the Treaty of
   Nice . Mr Vondra added that he was fully aware of the views expressed on the
   desirability of associating the European Parliament in this process in an adequate
   manner as if the Lisbon Treaty was already in force and said that the Czech
   Presidency is prepared to consult the Parliament immediately after the European
   elections in the sprit of the Lisbon Treaty”. Mr Vondra also indicated his personal
   support for Mr. Barroso continuing in the role.

   On the economic and financial crisis, Mr Vondra said the summit would look at
   the issue of better supervision and regulation of financial institutions and measures
   to support the real economy and employment. It would also discuss preparations
   for the Copenhagen summit on climate change and he stressed that the EU was
   ready to assume a large part of the costs but the amount of this international
   financial commitment will depend on the commitment made by other partners,
   particularly the US.

   The situation is not clear as to who from the Czech Republic will chair June's
   European Council, new Prime Minister Jan Fischer or President Vaclav
   KlausNegotiations are ongoing between the respective offices. However, Prime
   Minister Fischer said that the European Council agenda was not amended or
   influenced by this debate.

   Czech Presidency: forthcoming Council and Ministerial Meetings
      18-19 May: Gaerc
      25-26 May: Agriculture and Fish
      28-29 May: Competitiveness




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