Views
2 years ago

Who is who in the new European Parliament committees

  • Text
  • Equality
  • Sustainable
  • Chairman
  • Gender
  • Defence
  • Coordinators
  • Climate
  • Committees
  • Parliament
  • European
When we first floated the idea to publish a magazine on the committees of the European Parliament, enthusiasm was low. It couldn't be that interesting, could it? But the ones who thought this would be a dull exercise, were very wrong.

JURI AI's ethical

JURI AI's ethical dilemma Legal Affairs Last year, the European Commission presented a strategy paper on how the EU should take the lead shaping the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. It is a challenge the JURI committee has tasked itself to complete over the next five years. By Nikolaj Nielsen The legal affairs committee, also known as JURI, made headlines this year when it dethroned European Commission designates, over conflicts of interests. "We already know that the commission is preparing proposals on the question of sustainable corporate governance," says Nethsingha. The move helped cement the enforcement status of a European Parliament that had in the past struggled to gain an equal foothold with member state capitals. Lucy Nethsingha presides over JURI and is a UK national from Southampton, whose home country is prying itself away from the European Union. It means, among other things, that the committee will have to figure out if company obligations should only deal with sustainability in a climate change sense, or in a wider environmental sense. A Liberal Democrat belonging to the Renew Europe group, Nethsingha however still maintains a long-term vision for a committee she may soon have to leave. The committee is responsible for the interpretation, application and monitoring of Union law. She ranks Artificial Intelligence (AI) and climate change as among JURI's biggest priorities over the next five years. Nethsingha says JURI's work on AI will have a particular impact on start-ups, as it hopes to help shape AI development and roll-out. The committee's coordinators are looking at four broad areas, amid plans to draw up initiative reports on each: on an ethical framework, on state authority, on liability, and on intellectual property rights. "A proper and balanced regulation on ethical aspects and on liability will help to build trust in this new technology," she says. Those coordinators include Axel Voss (EPP, Germany), Tiemo Wölken (S&D, Germany), Karen Melchior (Renew, Denmark), Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA, France), Gilles Lebreton (ID, France), Angel Dzhambazki (ECR, Bulgaria) and Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL, France). Chairwoman Lucy Nethsingha (Renew, UK): 'The main questions on the EU’s agenda, AI and climate change, will also be the main items on the JURI agenda'. Photo: European Union 2019 – Source: EP Building machines that can reason and learn poses a slew of ethical questions. Some warn that the intelligence revolution in machines could lead to self-awareness, otherwise known as 'the singularity'. Getting the right balance when it comes to the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence will likely be among the most difficult questions that will be posed in JURI. Nethsingha says that balance needs to be weighed against AI's innovation, development and deployment. "On the most divisive question, it is of course difficult to tell, but I think that our agenda will include questions regarding how far the duties of companies will stretch," she says. If it works out, Nethsingha says getting the own initiative reports sorted and taken up by the commission would become the committee's biggest achievement. Figuring out to what extent a company should have these duties and responsibilities in regard to their supply chains will also be difficult, notes Nethsingha. Climate change will also figure large as JURI's input aims to untangle thorny issues like company law. "The most divisive question may be the nature of any obligations. Should they be mandatory or advisory? What should the consequences be if the rules are not followed?," she says. 26 — EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES

LIBE Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy The European Parliament's civil liberties committee offers a snapshot of the European "state of mind", says its chair Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar. Its biggest challenge will be getting member states to unblock the EU asylum package. By Nikolaj Nielsen Article 80 of the Lisbon Treaty says European Union policies must by governed by the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility. It is an article that Spanish socialist MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar often repeats in the face of the major backlash among member states when it comes to overhauling the EU's complex asylum system. As chair of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE), Aguilar is faced with a daunting task to pressure capitals into applying article 80 in practice. His coordinators may choose to work with him or against him. On the EPP side is Roberta Metsola (Malta). The socialists have Birgit Sippel (S&D, Germany), the liberals Sophie In't Veld (Renew, Netherlands), plus there is Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA, Germany) and Tineke Srik (Greens/EFA, Netherlands). Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar is chairing Libe for the third time. Photo: European Union 2019 – Source: EP There is also Annalisa TARDINO (ID, Italy), Patryk Tomasz JAKI (ECR, Poland), Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL, Germany) listed as a provisional coordinator. LIBE's biggest challenge over the next five years will be getting the EU Council, representing member states, to unblock the asylum package. If Aguilar succeeds, it will also be the committee's biggest achievement. 'Dublin', a regulation that determines who is responsible for processing asylum applications, remains the most contentious item in the package as EU states baulk over a provision to share out people seeking international protection. Aguilar is not shy about his committee flexing its muscles in the face of an uncompromising council, telling EUobserver that member states have to understand that migration and asylum are no longer solely issues for national legislators. "We need a positive approach, we need a constructive approach and we need to cooperate, both co-legislators, the council and the European parliament, to have that legislation adopted. That would be, in my view, the number one priority," he said. But he also directed some of his complaints towards the upcoming European commission under president-elect Ursula von den Leyen, saying the cross-cutting nature of the files will make it more difficult to hold the future commissioners to account. Von den Leyen has promised a new pact on migration. Details remain sparse. "Protecting the European Way of Life" (previously migration), home affairs, transparency, justice and equality are all spread across five commissioners and in ways that are difficult to delineate. Aguilar says security is a second priority. It means making sure the security package aligns with fundamental rights and respects the principles of necessity and proportionality, he says. Among the big files is tackling terrorist content online, plus e-privacy, and e-evidence. The inter-operability of EU-level security and police databases is also key. But having to deal with some of the most politically toxic issues also means LIBE is bound to attract a diverse range of views. Aguilar describes his committee as a snapshot of the European "state of mind" - with MEPs who oppose the European Union and dabble in hate speech. "The LIBE committee is always the busiest committee in the house, very active, very intense, debates are often passionate, the issues are hot and divisive," he said. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES — 27

More magazines