Headlines March 2010
European citizens would for the first time be able to directly suggest new legislation through the European Citizens' Initiative, proposed in detail today by the European Commission. An innovation contained in the Lisbon Treaty, the ECI will allow at least one million citizens from at least one third of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to bring forward legislative proposals in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.
On Tuesday, 23 March, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič was in Lisbon to give the keynote speech at a seminar on "The Citizens and the Treaty of Lisbon", organised by the European Affairs Committee of the Portuguese Parliament, in association with the European Commission and European Parliament. The Vice-President is visiting EU capitals to encourage national parliaments to make full use of the new possibilities they have been granted by the Lisbon Treaty to participate in the work of the EU, and to promote the European Citizens' Initiative. During his visit, Mr Šefčovič met Jaime Gama, President of the Portuguese Parliament, Pedro Lourtie, Secretary of State for European Affairs and Jorge Lacão, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
On Tuesday, 16th March, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, toured the Schuman-Josaphat rail tunnel in the company of Laurette Onkelinx, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health. The work to modernise the infrastraucture at Schuman has been the subject of close cooperation between the Commission and the Belgian authorities. The changes will improve public transport links between the main EU quarter and the rest of the Brussels region, the airport and major routes to other important centres in Belgium and beyond. The Vice President was keen to see for himself how the impressive works are progressing.
Maroš Šefčovič, Commission Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, today welcomed the very positive work carried out by the European Ombudsman for the benefit of the European public. Speaking at a conference in the European Parliament, Mr Šefčovič pledged that the Commission would work closely with Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros to iron out any administrative problems which come to light. The Vice-President underlined a number of features in the Lisbon Treaty, such as the Citizens' Initiative, which should bring the EU closer to the public. He also pledged to work hard on efforts to improve transparency.
On 16th March, the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) will launch a modernised and streamlined selection procedure for EU officials, with its first competition for Administrators under the new arrangements. The new system will be better by establishing annual competitions for the most common job profiles, thus allowing candidates to plan their applications more effectively and helping strategic human resource planning by the EU institutions. It will be faster and more efficient, involving fewer steps than the current set-up. And it will be stronger, shifting the emphasis from knowledge to competency-based assessment, which is proven to be one of the best predictors of future job performance.
Vice-President of the European Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šefčovič presented the Europe 2020 strategy in the Slovak Parliament on Thursday 4 March 2010 and symbolically started his first off i cial visit of a national parliament since taking up his new post.
Mr. Šefčovič informed the parliament that the main goal of the strategy is to lead the European economy out of the crisis and provide a completely new basis for European economic policy. He explained that without new stimulus, Europe could miss out on decades of growth, which would mean a decrease in living standard and gradual marginalization of the EU in the world.
Vice-President of the European Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šefčovič, who was paying the first official visit to his home country of his current term, met with Slovakia’s President Ivan Gasparovič on Thursday 4 March. Mr. Šefčovič informed the president of the new consultation mechanism that national parliaments will use in order to comment on EU legislation.
On 1-2 March, Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, Maroš Šefčovič, visited Luxembourg to get a first hand impression of both the Commission services and the other EU institutions situated in the Grand Duchy.
The Vice-President was especially keen to meet the 600 staff working in Luxembourg under his direct responsibility in DG HR, the PMO, OIL and DG DIGIT, as well as the staff representatives from the CLP.
"I wanted to get to Luxembourg as soon as possible to see our set-up first hand and discuss with the staff the challenges we face over the next five years," commented Vice-President Šefčovič. "