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The Rome Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments of 22-24 September 2000 will discuss items which have long been the object of careful consideration, both in this and in other forums of inter-parliamentary cooperation.
This Conference will reaffirm a tendency that has emerged during its last few meetings, that is to have an informed discussion on items directly linked to the specific institutional responsibilities of the Presiding Officers of Parliaments.
The issue of the role of parliaments in the reform process of the European Union and in the drafting of a EU Charter of rights is connected to a number of initiatives through which Parliaments have been scrutinising the activity of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) and have taken part in the drafting of the Charter. At this meeting in Rome, in view of the end of the Convention charged to draft the Charter and the subsequent European Summit in Nice, we are going to gather the different stances by the Presiding Officers of national parliaments and the European Parliament on the reforms needed to preserve as well as strengthen the effectiveness of Union action, also in relation to the future accession of new Member States. In addition, this meeting will provide a useful opportunity for an exchange of views on the content of the Charter and the legal value to be attributed to it.
The quality of legislation is also being taken into consideration especially in relation to its organisational and inter-parliamentary cooperation aspects, which may fall within the responsibility of Presiding Officers and parliamentary administrations. After the careful consideration which was given to this subject in Lisbon and in later meetings of the Working Group, the item is now being finalised. The draft final Memorandum includes guidelines which may be implemented by individual Parliaments or by Parliaments working in cooperation, in order to improve the quality of legislation within the European Union, to the advantage of the Union's competitiveness.
The definition both of the tasks of the Conference and of the principles governing its working procedures is the third subject on the agenda. The issue was successfully examined in Lisbon and, later, by a working party including the chairpersons of the last, present and future Conferences and the President of the European Parliament.
The three items revolve around the main mission of the Conference, i.e. to improve the functioning of parliamentary representation within the European Union. In this connexion, the three items converge on the title chosen for this Conference: The role of Parliaments in the European Union.
A special session of the Conference will be held Sunday late morning, dedicated to the meeting with the Speakers of Mercosur Parliaments. The meeting aims at establishing a parliamentary dimension in the relations developing between the European Union and the Mercosur countries. In particular, the Speakers of EU and Mercosur Parliaments share an interest in discussing the role of Parliaments to enhance representative democracy within those two organisations.