Parliamentary end of term in Brussels
MEPs see the upcoming plenary votes as important even if it is clear the file cannot be concluded by the end of the legislature. This is because all votes taken by the Parliament in plenary before the elections remain legally valid for the next Parliament. As a result, after the elections, these files will continue from the point of departure and will move on to the next stage of the decision-making procedure once the new Parliament has been formed.
For any legislative business that has not reached the plenary before the elections (i.e. that is still in committee stage), the work done on these files during the previous parliamentary term lapses. At the beginning of the new parliamentary term, the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (the President of the European Parliament and the political group leaders) may decide to continue the work already done on those files but that will depend largely on the political will of the newly-constituted parliament.
With only three Plenary Sessions and a mini-plenary session in Brussels left before the break-up of parliament for the European elections, coupled with the added need to adopt Brexit-related rules and regulations to prepare for a possible no deal scenario, MEPs now need to pack plenty of votes into a relatively short window of time.
Of relevance to lawyers, we can expect the Parliament to give an opinion on the Recast of the Brussels II bis Regulation, which is a Council Regulation dealing with matrimonial and parental matters. This is subject to a special legislative procedure, in which the Parliament takes a consultative role and the Council can adopt the act after the Parliament has had its say.
We can also expect the final vote on the proposals for the directives on the supply of digital content and the sale of goods to take place. These would then only require final formal adoption by the Council before being published in the EU’s Official Journal.
Given the short amount of time left before the end of the mandate, the Regulation on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil and commercial matters will be passed to next legislature. The file has been amended and approved by Parliament, and now requires the Council to conclude its position at first reading. Similarly, the proposal amending the Motor Insurance Directive will be passed on to the next Parliament, as it has been referred back to the committee stage for inter institutional negotiations.