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Despite EPP opposition, S&D Group secures monthly scrutiny sessions with Commission President


11 Apr 2024



As part of the Parliamentary reforms for the 2024 mandate, the Socialists and Democrats Group has secured increased scrutiny powers for the European Parliament, such as a monthly scrutiny session with the Commission President and special scrutiny hearings.

However, despite previous support in the EP's Working Group on Parliamentary Reform and in the constitutional affairs committee, the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) has backtracked and voted to weaken Parliament's scrutiny powers. In spite of EPP opposition, key reforms such as the monthly scrutiny sessions with the Commission President and gender balance in committees met the required threshold of a majority of component Members in today's plenary vote.

The reforms voted today, which include a number of changes to the structure of committees and plenary sessions, will enter into force at the start of the next legislative mandate in July.

Domènec Ruiz Devesa, S&D constitutional affairs spokesperson, said:

“Over the past year, we have worked hard to develop new and relevant rules to give the European Parliament more powers of inquiry and more capacity to ask tough questions when it really matters. In the draft reforms, we successfully pushed for a new system of special scrutiny hearings and plenary scrutiny sessions so that we can question company executives or leading members in EU institutions, like the Commission President, on the most pressing issues.

“The EPP Group is once again up to its old tricks – at the moment of truth it weakens and waters down real progress. For the Socialists and Democrats, responsibility and scrutiny are two sides of the same coin. As a Parliament, we owe it to citizens to equip the next mandate with more powers to ensure those in positions of power and responsibility face sufficient levels of scrutiny.”

Gaby Bischoff, S&D vice-president, said:

“Just three weeks ago, we secured cross-party support to give MEPs more scrutiny powers, including through scrutiny sessions with the Commission President every month. What has changed? Did EPP Members negotiate in bad faith or did they receive instruction from above to stop the Parliamentary spotlight shining on the office of the President of the European Commission? 

“The next Parliament should have the powers to bring in CEOs of companies for a Parliamentary grilling. Instead, the EPP Group has opted to take the heat off its business friends and limit special scrutiny hearings to Commissioners or others EU figureheads. From today's vote, it is clear the conservatives are happy to sacrifice scrutiny, accountability and, ultimately, stronger democracy, in order to protect their friends.

“The new rules will also improve the gender balance in parliamentary committees. Even though we were more ambitious and would have preferred to have a more comprehensive mechanism in place, the new rules are an important step forward and will ensure that the new Parliament strives for fair gender representation in the committees.”