Saturday, 14 March 2009

European Union: Activity reports 2008

The Commission of the European Communities and the Swedish government have published their annual reports on the activities of the European Union. They are important sources for journalists, researchers, teachers, students, businesses, politicians, public officials, NGOs and interested citizens.

Has the Swedish example caught on in other EU member states?

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COMMISSION

General Report

On 4 March 2009 the Commission published the General Report on the Activities of the European Union in 2008.

On the about 260 pages of its annual report the Commission describes the main developments during 2008 under seven Chapter headings:

General political and economic framework
Prosperity
Solidarity
Security and freedom
Europe in the world
Life of the institutions, other bodies and agencies
Budget and financial activities

The General Report is available at:
http://europa.eu/generalreport/en/rg2008en.pdf

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Useful

Published in 22 languages, the General Report is a useful tool to get an overview of developments within each policy area of the European Union. The references to sources are helpful in the search for documents.

The General Report is complemented by the monthly Bulletin (provisional and final).


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Treaty basis

The Commission is required to publish a number of (annual) reports, among which the General Report is the centerpiece, based on Article 212 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC); in the consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/139:


Article 212 TEC

The Commission shall publish annually, not later than one month before the opening of the session of the European Parliament, a general report on the activities of the Community.


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Lisbon Treaty

In the consolidated Treaty of Lisbon the corresponding provision is Article 249(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), published OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/157.


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European Parliament

The General Report is addressed to the European Parliament, and Article 200 TEC concerns EP scrutiny (OJEU page 135):


Article 200 TEC

The European Parliament shall discuss in open session the annual general report submitted to it by the Commission.


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Lisbon Treaty

The corresponding provision in the consolidated Treaty of Lisbon is Article 233 TFEU (OJEU page 152).


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SWEDEN

The Swedish government publishes an annual report to the Parliament (Riksdagen) on activities in the European Union (as well as useful reports on the Council of Europe and the OSCE) .

For those who are able to read Swedish the latest EU report (Regeringens skrivelse 2008/09:85 Ber├Ąttelse on verksamheten i Europeiska unionen) is a valuable resource.

Like the previous reports, the 2008 version published 5 March 2009 offers at least the quantity (374 pages) and quality of the Commission’s General Report.

The Swedish report is available at:

http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/12/25/08/6109a562.pdf


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Duty to publish


The Swedish government’s duty to publish the report is based on the Riksdag Act (1974:153, as amended on 1 July 2007):


Chapter 10. Conduct of European Union business
Government’s obligation to inform the Riksdag of EU work
Art. 1. In accordance with Chapter 10, Article 6 of the Instrument of Government, the Government shall keep the Riksdag continuously informed concerning developments within the framework of European Union cooperation.

The Government shall account to the Riksdag concerning its actions at the European Union and shall submit a written communication annually to the Riksdag reporting activities at the European Union.






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Other national reports?

Dear Reader, do you know how your government reports on EU activities to its parliament and citizens?



Ralf Grahn