Newly re-elected President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will visit the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on 23 September, accompanied by Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Maçães and Mayor of Lisbon António Costa (1).
The visit follows on from President Schulz’ first visit to the EU agencies on 20 June 2013 when, along with Mayor Costa and the two agency directors, he inaugurated Praça Europa, the square on which the agencies are located. The inauguration followed a ceremony at the Lisbon Town Hall at which Mr Schulz received the keys to the city (2).
The visit will begin with tours of the EU agencies, followed by meetings with EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz and EMSA Director Markku Mylly. Mr Schulz will also meet staff members of the two bodies and learn about their ongoing projects and challenges. The proceedings will close with a press conference.
The EMCDDA and EMSA were set up in 1993 and 2002, respectively, and have been located on a common site in Lisbon since 2009. This follows a 2004 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Portuguese Government and the agencies on the establishment of headquarters in the city (3). The MoU recalled that the EP has defended the principle that: ‘whenever a Member State hosts more than one European agency in a city located in its territory, it should pursue its best efforts to find premises suitable for joint use and introduce good financial management practices in order to reduce maintenance costs’.
This month, the European Commission complimented the EMCDDA and EMSA on their efforts to strengthen cooperation, minimise costs and, where possible, share services. It acknowledged that the two bodies are pioneers in this area, setting an example to other EU agencies. This collaboration is in line with the latest budget discharge reports from the European Parliament and takes place in the context of increasingly limited financial and human resources.
Martin Schulz was elected President of the European Parliament on 17 January 2012 for a mandate of two and half years. On 1 July 2014, he became the first President in the history of the institution to be re-elected for a second term. Mr Schulz is member of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament.