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EU BYTES


the last Commission (i.e. Jean-Claude Juncker), all the infringement cases had been closed (2017). Another example concerns the own-initiative reports on online gambling provided by the European Parliament. You might remember that there were a series of these reports. By the way, own-initiative means the European Parliament decided to provide a report to give its views even though there was no full legislative process involved. The questions important for gambling (or actually any lobbyist) would be: (1) Is the right Committee responsible for the report? (2) Do we have favourable MEPs in the Committee? (3) Are the favourable MEPs going to be Rapporteurs or Shadow Rapporteurs? (4) Are there other Committees providing a supportive opinion through which our ideal messaging would also be amplified? And so on.


SNAPSHOT


So, as mentioned, the President and Vice-President of the European Parliament will be voted on. Yet, it might happen that the vote for the President will be delayed as in parallel, the EU-28 Member States – yes, the UK still gets to take part – are currently voting on the EU top jobs (which includes Commission President, Parliament President, Council President, etc.). The problem herein is that even though the traditional centre-right (EPP) still has a majority in Parliament, the majority has been strongly eroded. So, now the political games have become more complicated with strong rumours going around that EPP’s Manfred Weber, the more prominent Commission President contender, is not getting the position he has been campaigning for so strongly. We will not go into the Spitzenkandidat (i.e. German for lead candidate) process here for one simple reason: whatever it intended to be, we don’t believe it is achieving it.


COMMITTEES TO WATCH OUT FOR


There are approximately 20 specialised standing Committees who, like in a “typical” Parliament, provide input into the legislative procedures through the adoption of reports, etc. They also, as mentioned, provide own-initiative reports or organise hearings with experts. Here we advise you to keep


an eye out primarily on the:  Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee –


think online gambling as well as gambling addiction  Culture and Education Committee – integrity of sports,


funding of culture and sports through gambling, etc.  Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee – Anti-money laundering…need we say more? And if that is not enough, we recommend you also keep an eye out for supportive committees which might provide an


opinion to a report of interest to gambling. This can include the Legal Affairs, or Industry, Research and Energy committees. There are also temporary special committees set up to


provide findings and recommendations on specific issues. For example, the Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance was established for a period of 12 months following Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football Leaks and the Paradise Papers. Pretty sure gambling fits in there somewhere…wink wink.


NEW EUROPEAN COMMISSION


Now for a small glimpse further into the future. The current European Commission (if all goes well) will hold its office until 31st October. The new European Commission will have to be approved by the European Parliament and then the European Council (28 Member States). It is also an interesting procedure to watch as previously certain candidates had to take back their candidacy due to some tough parliamentary vetting. Oh well; it seems inescapable. The Spitzenkandidat


process you probably hear so much on European television about was introduced for the elections in 2014. Hereby, every political party puts forward a candidate to become Commission President. Those with the most seats, put forward the Commission President. Like we said, from where we are sitting, doesn’t look like it is that much of a shoo-in process for the EPP.


Greetings from Brussels


JULY 2019 27


MoiraM/Adobe Stock


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