EP Legal Affairs Committee postpones vote

Subject: EP Legal Affairs Committee postpones vote
From: Barbara Schleihagen (Eblida@nblc.nl)
Date: ma 14 joulu  1998 - 14:22:38 EET

Dear list subscribers,

The following message is based on the EBLIDA Hot News, December 1998, which
will be put on the EBLIDA website in the course of this week at:

* Copyright: Vote in Legal Affairs Committee postponed

At their meeting on 8 December 1998, the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC),
that was scheduled to vote on all 300+ amendments from all committees
involved, decided to postpone the vote until 20 January 1999 with the vote
in the European Parliament’s plenary session to take place in February 1999.

Although a further delay in the procedure is generally speaking not
something anybody can be particularly happy about, there are good reasons
for that delay. EFPICC and EBLIDA have been in contact with some MEPs to
point out the normal rules of voting procedure. At their meeting, several
MEPs underlined the irregularities of the internal voting order which was
prepared by the LAC secretariat in cooperation with Mr Barzanti. It placed
Mr Barzanti's own amendments on top of all other amendments to each
specific article or recital. This would in most cases mean that all
following amendments by other MEPs or Committees on a specific article
would automatically be rejected. The normal procedure for a vote is that
the amendment that is furthest away from the original Commission text is
placed on top and voted first, followed by other amendments using the same

Finnish MEP Astrid Thors had tabled a written request to the LAC Chairman
to postpone the vote on the grounds that Mr Barzanti has tabled additional
seven "compromise amendments" which were only received by other members of
the LAC on Friday or even Monday, the day before the vote, and the
unacceptable order of the voting list.

Although Members of LAC voted first against postponing the vote (with 6 in
favour, 6 against and 1 abstention from the chairperson, which means that
the proposal is not adopted), the following discussion revealed that MEPs
saw major problems to vote on the basis of the prepared voting list. Next
day, following a meeting of the political co-ordinators the evening before,
also Mr Barzanti reluctantly offered to reconsider amendments and the
voting list if necessary. In addition, the voting list gives in some cases
wrong numbering and inconsistencies which could only add to the confusion
in the expected complicated and long voting procedure.

It was finally decided to postpone the vote. Some MEPs raised also concern
about the integrated versions containing all amendments only being
available in English and French and not in all EU languages. The Committee
agreed to forward their criticism on the voting list to the LAC secretariat
which is to prepare a revised list by 18 December. Mr Barzanti was asked to
clarify the relation between his “compromise amendments” and the text of
the amendments on articles and define their position in the voting list.

Best wishes,
Barbara Schleihagen

Barbara Schleihagen, Director
Heidi Hogan, EU Policy Officer
P.O. Box 43300
NL-2504 AH The Hague
Tel: +31-70-309 06 08
Fax: +31-70-309 07 08
email: eblida@nblc.nl

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