From the DG’s desk: spotlight on the European Parliament
12 September 2019
As summer fades to a distant memory, the ‘new term’ in Brussels is off to a busy start. This week all eyes were on the Berlaymont, as Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the candidates for her new team. Now, attention is set to shift to another epicentre of EU policymaking: the European Parliament, where MEPs will scrutinise the nominees in a series of hearings.
Only once they have been confirmed by the plenary can the new Commissioners take office – a reminder of the central role the Parliament plays in the European Union’s institutional landscape.
For associations like Orgalim, successful dialogue with MEPs is important if we are to shape an enabling EU framework for our members. Today, the Parliament is a co-legislator on equal footing with the Council in the vast majority of policy areas – including many core issues for the technology companies we represent: from Internal Market and energy, climate and environment legislation, to industrial policy, research and innovation.
As the only directly elected EU body, the Parliament is also an important source of democratic legitimacy. And MEPs have often driven forward agendas close to citizens’ hearts, pushing the envelope beyond what Member States might have delivered alone: the Clean Energy Package being a case in point. However, some question whether this connection to the public is as robust as it should be, with parliamentary decisions sometimes seeming remote from market reality or Europeans’ everyday lives.
So as we gear up for a new legislative term, how should we expect these trends to evolve – and what does it mean for engagement between MEPs and industry representatives like Orgalim?
We can expect a more challenging environment, for sure: the ninth European Parliament is the most politically fragmented to date, with a swell in the ranks of MEPs openly hostile to the EU. At the same time, new opportunities may arise if coalition-building becomes more fluid and issue-based.
And the anti-EU clamour has lit a fire under the majority of MEPs committed to European cooperation in a globalised world. The pre-election debates made clear that there is no shortage of energy in the new Parliament to tackle the issues so vital for Europe’s future – whether climate change, digitalisation or reinvigorating the EU economy.
With the Commission in place, the new Parliament can translate this energy into action and shape EU policies to tangibly improve citizens’ lives. Close collaboration with industry will be key to make this reality. After all, the technology companies we represent are working towards many of these same goals, innovating solutions for climate neutrality, connected mobility and healthcare, or better quality of life in our cities. An innovative and competitive technology industry will be essential to deliver on these priorities – the priorities that matter most to Europe’s citizens.
For Orgalim, this means working with MEPs to make clear the central role our industries will play in shaping a future that’s good for the citizens they represent. Next week will see the formal launch of our engagement with the new Parliament, with a European Forum for Manufacturing (EFM) event in Strasbourg to be followed by an EFM roundtable with MEPs in Brussels on 25 September. Our message: let’s collaborate on an EU framework that embraces innovation-led transformation, enables European industrial leadership and helps transform societal challenges into drivers of prosperity. Together, we can show citizens how the hard work of their representatives in Europe makes a meaningful impact on their day-to-day lives.
Photo: © European Union 2019 / Source : EP / Photographer Fred Marvaux