In today’s programme: where does the EP fit in the EU’s post-Lisbon architecture and how does it relate to other institutions? I’ll be talking to a leading MEP about one hoped-for change. How can the EU secure its energy supplies and end its dependence on Russian gas? And, friction over freedom of movement between Switzerland and the EU. Hello and welcome to EuroparlTV News. The Lisbon Treaty changed the relationship of the EU institutions, and some points remain to be resolved. Arnaud Demolder's report on the EP’s place in the new power structure is read by Lavinia Hoyos. In the EU it takes three to tango with the European Commission, the Council and Parliament. But the EP doesn’t want to be the third wheel, which means there’s no shortage of disputes. In February MEPs didn’t hesitate in rejecting SWIFT which aimed to share banking data with the USA. In his role as conductor, Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament uses all his influence to increase the political weight of the MEPs. Another important point is our access to some documents which are necessary for the Parliament to answer all the political questions and questions on the content of legislation. Just before his inauguration Barroso made many promises. He recalled the importance of better cooperation between the three players. An agreement must now be finalised between the Commission and the EP. It must help us to fashion a new culture of partnership and purpose to use our common leverage to offer a real advance for the European project. Two new players enter the game for the EU: Catherine Ashton, Foreign Affairs chief and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the Council. The posts open up perspectives. We would like to cooperate smoothly with the European Council and to prepare a similar framework agreement with the Council. Negotiations look set to be tough. After a row between Russia and Ukraine left thousands of Europeans without gas, the EU has been looking into ways to diversify and secure its supplies, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Hugues Wajnsztok. Lithuania celebrated 20 years of independence from Soviet occupation, however, this country remains 100% dependent on Russian gas supplies. The Industry Committee wants to resolve dependency via solidarity. The regulation hopes to develop the internal market and crisis measures to protect European consumers. East-West solidarity is when surplus gas is returned to countries, if a crisis should occur, via a reverse flow system. In the Yamal pipeline, gas flows from Poland to Germany but there is no reverse flow. Now with this regulation a reverse flow will be installed. Gas supply diversification with a trio of new gas pipelines Nord Stream, South Stream and Nabucco are proving divisive themselves. Bilateral projects are contrary to solidarity. Nabucco bypasses Russia completely, and aims to supply 5-10% of Europe’s gas, but some MEPs have their doubts. The role of the Union is not to politicise those economic projects. I’m not sure there will be enough gas from Nabucco. I would like to see that succeed. but that's not a political decision. Between economic and political actors, Europe may need to wait for energy independence day. But whether the law comes into effect before another crisis is another story. Earlier we heard about the Lisbon Treaty changing things. It may also give more investigative powers to MEPs. Yesterday I spoke to the member drafting that report. David Martin, Constitutional Affairs Committee member. You're preparing a report on the powers of committees of inquiry, and you believe that this now has the facility for being changed, because of the Lisbon Treaty, in what way? The Treaty only allows the EP to propose new rules for committees of inquiry. The EP has held 3 committees of inquiry: one on the transit regime, one on BSE, and on Equitable Life. At the end of the Equitable Life report the committee were very critical. They found in my own Member State that officials were reluctant to give proof. They found weakened access to documents, and generally felt it didn't have strong enough powers to inquire. Committee of Inquiry were only used 3 times in the history of the EP, but the powers are not adequate. We want to investigate what Lisbon says about re-writing the rules if we can agree on it. Most agree that committees of inquiry need more power to summon people and documentation. It must pass the Council of Ministers. -Yes, that will be the big trick. Lisbon gives us the power to summon witnesses but no power to act if they don't turn up. There we need Member States' support. We haven't discussed this formally in committee but my approach is to say that the EP should get the same powers as the national parliaments. Agreement is needed that the House of Commons has a right to bring witnesses in the UK, so the EP should have the same right. Excuse my ignorance, if the Latvian parliament doesn't have this right, then we shouldn't have rights above the Latvian parliament to call Latvians. It's about giving us the same status as national parliaments. It's not perfect, because it's still uneven for acquiring evidence. But it would improve the status quo. Council won't like it? -It will be a hard battle. David Martin, thank you. It’s time now for today's other news stories in brief. We start with the decision taken at the UN wildlife meeting in Qatar to reject the proposed ban on exports of bluefin tuna. The idea proposed by Monaco and backed by Norway, Kenya and the US had EU support for delayed implementation. But Japan, Canada and poor nations successfully argued it would adversely affect fishing communities. Athens puts the pressure on. PM Papandréou went before the Special Committee on the Financial Crisis. Battling with its budget deficit, Athens wants to know whether the EU will help or not. The message from Germany was reluctance to help. Athens warns that without clear EU support the country could turn to the IMF, embarrassingly for the EU. The saga continues at the EU Summit on Greek debt next week in Brussels. A question of weeks. MEPs want to extend maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks and create a two-week paternity leave. The measures' financial impact is being studied. The vote could be delayed. Music for freedom – it’s already 20 years since Lithuania escaped the Soviet grip. The EP marked the occasion. Lithuania became a member of the European Union back in 2004. After controversial elections and the ban on new minarets in Switzerland, problems are arising over the free movement of EU workers there. This report was prepared by Maria Maggiore. What’s up in Switzerland? New waves of protectionism? After the referendum about the ban on building minarets and mosques, this time it’s the turn of European workers who feel discriminated against when trying to enter Switzerland. The current controversy is about the so-called eight days rule – the time that Swiss Cantons apparently need, to check on the workers. The problem is that most of the time it’s about urgent services, like boiler or roof maintenance, and eight days on stand-by would mean losing the job. Swiss representatives have been invited to a public hearing at the EP today for the first time ever. They can hear the Europeans’ discontent and set out their reasons. There are certain problems, for example when it comes to services. We have problems with the so-called supporting measures that the Swiss Cantons and government use for fighting social dumping. Sometimes these measures are not proportionate. In 2008, every working day, more than 300 people came to Switzerland to work. But there are only 10 Swiss people going the other way, per day. This agreement works in a very asymmetric way. But Europeans are not satisfied. They fear that today it's temporary workers, but tomorrow other professionals will face closed doors too. At a legal level, Switzerland doesn’t risk too much. It's not part of the EU or the EEA, unlike Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. However, because of its 120 bilateral agreements with the EU, Switzerland is almost like a Member State - with many exceptions and derogations. That rounds off today’s programme. You can keep up to date on europarltv.eu. Join us again next time but for now, goodbye from Brussels.