Committee guide: JURI working to improve the ‘quality of EU legislation’

Parliament’s legal affairs committee is a bit ‘different’ from the assembly’s other working groups, says Pavel Svoboda.

By Desmond Hinton-Beales

17 Oct 2014

The legal affairs (JURI) committee’s unique twin concerns, explains the committee’s Czech chairman, Pavel Svoboda, cover both “horizontal responsibilities” relating to the interpretation and application of union law and the compliance of EU acts with primary law, alongside extensive “legislative competence” in the fields of civil law and civil procedure, contract law, company law, intellectual property law as well as administrative law. “Both these aspects are of fundamental importance but in different ways”, says the EPP deputy. “The first is of importance for the operation of the parliament as an institution, while the second is hugely important for citizens who have chosen to exercise their right to live and work or develop a business within the EU’s internal market.”

"Common European sales law is an area where the EU institutions can provide a useful tool for citizens and businesses trading on-line".

Among its other prerogatives, the JURI committee also adopts measures concerning judicial and administrative cooperation in civil matters and deals with environmental liability and sanctions against environmental crime and looking ahead for the new parliamentary term, Svoboda says that he intends to steer the committee’s focus, “on a variety of topics” aimed at benefiting both citizens and businesses. “We will be closely involved in the European digital agenda by working on new rules concerning copyright and trademarks,” he says, adding that there is also, “a large area of contract or company law where there is a real need to improve existing legislation.” For example, says Svoboda, “common European sales law is an area where the EU institutions can provide a useful tool for citizens and businesses trading on-line”.

He told the Parliament Magazine that he is also personally “committed to improving the quality of EU legislation and in making sure our legislation is thoroughly evidence-based, through recourse to our policy unit and by using all the instruments available from the parliament’s research service, such as impact assessments, European added-value and the cost-of-non-Europe reports.” Svoboda says his ambition is to make sure that the committee continues to play a “special role” within the parliament. “I see the committee as continuing to provide legal expertise and act as a forum for hearings and workshops. I have already started studying all the proposals concerning intellectual property rights, which is an area I should like to focus on personally.”

Svoboda says he has a strong belief and high expectations in his committee colleagues and is “convinced that together we will achieve results which will benefit Europe’s citizens and justify their trust in us”. The JURI committee members, he adds “are looking forward to working with the new European commission team” and are keen to “get down to work on new commission proposals and to presenting our own initiatives to them. I am confident that this will be a very fruitful cooperation. I can already see from the way in which the tasks of the future commissioners were described by Jean-Claude Juncker that there will be many areas where we can cooperate with commission on behalf of Europe’s citizens.”

Pavel Svoboda is chair of parliament’s legal affairs committee


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