The Senate and Chamber of Deputies
of the Argentine Nation gathered in Congress,
Law:ARTICLE 1 Approved the CONSTITUTIVE PROTOCOL of the MERCOSUR PARLAMENT, signed in Montevideo UREPUBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY el on 9 December 2005, which consists of VEINTICUATRO (24) articles and SIETE (7) Transitional Provisions, whose authenticated photocopy is part of this law. ARTICLE 2 Contact the national executive branch.
IN THE SESSION OF THE ARGENTINE CONGRESS, IN GOOD AIRES, TO THE SEPTEMBER OF THE YEAR DOS MIL SEIS.
ALBERTO E. BALESTRINI. . JOSE J. B. PAMPURO. . Enrique Hidalgo. . Juan H. Estrada.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE
REPUBLIC OF ARGENTINA, THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL, THE REPUBLIC OF PARAGUAY AND THE ORIENTAL REPUBLIC OF URUGUAY, henceforth States Parties;
IN ACCORDANCE with the Treaty of Asunción of 26 March 1991 and the Protocol of Ouro Preto of 17 December 1994 establishing the Joint Parliamentary Commission and Decision CMC No. 49/04, "Parliament of MERCOSUR".
RECALLING the Inter-Agency Agreement between the Common Market Council and the Joint Parliamentary Commission, signed on 6 October 2003.
CONSIDERING its firm political will to strengthen and deepen the process of integration of MERCOSUR, contemplating the interests of all States Parties and thus contributing to the simultaneous development of the integration of South American space.
Agreed that the achievement of the common objectives set by States parties requires a balanced and effective institutional framework to create standards that are effective and to ensure a climate of legal security and predictability in the development of the integration process, in order to better promote productive transformation, social equity, scientific and technological development, investment and employment creation, in all States parties and for the benefit of their citizens.
CONSCIENTS that the installation of the MERCOSUR Parliament, with a proper representation of the interests of the citizens of the States Parties, will mean a contribution to the quality and institutional balance of MERCOSUR, creating a common space that reflects the pluralism and diversity of the region, and that contributes to democracy, participation, representativeness, transparency and social legitimacy in the development of the integration process and its norms.
REQUESTS the importance of strengthening the institutional area of inter-parliamentary cooperation, in order to advance the expected objectives of harmonizing national legislation in the relevant areas and to expedite the incorporation into the respective domestic legal systems of MERCOSUR legislation, which requires legislative approval.
RECOGNIZING the valuable experience accumulated by the Joint Parliamentary Commission since its inception.
RECALLING the principles and objectives of the Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic Commitment in MERCOSUR, the Republic of Bolivia and the Republic of Chile of 24 July 1998 and the Presidential Declaration on Democratic Commitment in MERCOSUR of 25 June 1996.
To establish the MERCOSUR Parliament, henceforth the Parliament, as a representative body of its peoples, independent and autonomous, which will integrate the institutional structure of MERCOSUR.
The Parliament will replace the Joint Parliamentary Commission.
The Parliament shall consist of representatives elected by universal, direct and secret suffrage, in accordance with the domestic legislation of each State Party and the provisions of this Protocol.
The Parliament will be a unique body and its principles, competences and integration are governed by the provisions of this Protocol.
The effective installation of Parliament will take place by 31 December 2006.
The constitution of the Parliament shall be carried out through the stages provided for in the Transitional Provisions of this Protocol.
These are the purposes of Parliament:
1. To represent the peoples of MERCOSUR, respecting their ideological and political plurality.
2. To assume the promotion and permanent defence of democracy, freedom and peace.
3. Promote the sustainable development of the region with social justice and respect for the cultural diversity of its populations.
4. Ensuring the participation of civil society actors in the integration process.
5. Encourage the formation of a collective awareness of citizen and community values for integration.
6. Contribute to the consolidation of Latin American integration through the deepening and expansion of MERCOSUR.
7. Promote regional and international solidarity and cooperation.
They are the principles of Parliament:
1. Pluralism and tolerance as guarantees of the diversity of political, social and cultural expressions of the peoples of the region.
2. Transparency of information and decisions to build confidence and facilitate the participation of citizens.
3. Cooperation with other MERCOSUR bodies and regional areas of citizen representation.
4. Respect for human rights in all its expressions.
5. I repudiate all forms of discrimination, especially those relating to gender, colour, ethnicity, religion, nationality, age and socio-economic status.
6. The promotion of Latin American cultural, institutional and cooperation heritage in integration processes.
7. The promotion of sustainable development in MERCOSUR and special and differential treatment for countries with smaller economies and for regions with less development.
8. Equity and justice in regional and international affairs, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
The Parliament shall have the following powers:
1. Ensuring compliance with MERCOSUR standards within its competence.
2. Ensure the preservation of the democratic regime in States parties, in accordance with the standards of MERCOSUR, and in particular the Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic Commitment in MERCOSUR, the Republic of Bolivia and the Republic of Chile.
3. Develop and publish annually a report on the human rights situation in States parties, taking into account the principles and norms of MERCOSUR.
4. Make requests for written reports or views to the MERCOSUR decision-making and consultative bodies established in the Ouro Preto Protocol on issues related to the development of the integration process. Requests for reports should be answered within 180 days
5. To invite representatives of MERCOSUR bodies, through the Chair Pro Tempore of the CMC, to report and/or evaluate, the development of the integration process, to exchange views and to deal with aspects related to ongoing activities or matters under consideration.
6. Receive, at the end of each semester, the Pro Tempore Presidency of MERCOSUR, to report on the activities carried out during that period.
7. Receive, at the beginning of each semester, the Presidency Pro Tempore of MERCOSUR, to present the agreed programme of work, with the objectives and priorities planned for the semester.
8. Conduct semi-annual meetings with the Economic-Social Consultative Forum to exchange information and views on the development of MERCOSUR.
9. Organize public meetings, on issues related to the development of the integration process, with civil society entities and the productive sectors.
10. Receiving, examining and, where appropriate, channeling to decision-making bodies, requests from any particular State Party, whether natural or legal persons, related to acts or omissions of the organs, of MERCOSUR.
11. Issue statements, recommendations and reports on issues related to the development of the integration process, on their own initiative or at the request of other MERCOSUR bodies.
12. In order to accelerate the corresponding domestic procedures for the entry into force of the rules in the States Parties, the Parliament shall prepare Views on all MERCOSUR draft rules requiring approval, legislative in one or more States Parties, within 90 days (90) of the consultation. Such projects should be sent to Parliament by the decision-making body of MERCOSUR, prior to its adoption.
If the MERCOSUR draft norm is approved by the decision-making body, in accordance with the terms of the Parliament ' s Views, the rule shall be forwarded by each national executive branch to the Parliament of the respective State party, within forty-five (45) days of such approval.
If the approved rule is not in accordance with the Views of Parliament, or if it has not been issued within the time limit mentioned in the first paragraph of the present numeral, it shall continue its ordinary procedure of incorporation.
National Parliaments, in accordance with the relevant internal procedures, shall take the necessary measures for the implementation or establishment of a preferential procedure for the consideration of MERCOSUR standards that have been adopted in accordance with the terms of the Parliament ' s Views mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
The maximum duration of the procedure provided for in the preceding paragraph shall be up to one hundred and eighty (180) days, from the entry of the rule to the respective national Parliament.
If the State party ' s Parliament rejects the rule within the time limit of this preferential procedure, it must be forwarded to the Executive Branch to submit it to the reconsideration of the relevant MERCOSUR body.
13. Propose MERCOSUR draft rules for consideration by the Common Market Council, which should report semesterly on its treatment.
14. Develop studies and drafts of national standards, aimed at the harmonization of national legislation of States Parties, which will be communicated to national parliaments for consideration.
15. To develop joint actions and work with national parliaments in order to ensure compliance with the objectives of MERCOSUR, in particular those related to legislative activity.
16. Maintain institutional relations with Parliaments of third States and other legislative institutions.
17. To conclude, within the framework of its terms of reference, with the advice of the competent body of MERCOSUR, cooperation or technical assistance agreements with public and private agencies, national or international.
18. Promote the development of instruments of representative and participatory democracy in MERCOSUR.
19. Receive within the first semester of each year a report on the budget performance of the MERCOSUR Secretariat of the previous year.
20. Develop and approve its budget and report on its implementation to the Common Market Council within the first half of the year after the year.
21. Adopt and amend its internal rules of procedure.
22. Perform all actions that correspond to the exercise of their competences.
1. Parliament shall be integrated in accordance with a criterion of citizen representation.
2. Members of Parliament, henceforth called Parliamentarians, will have the quality of MERCOSUR Parliamentarians.
1. The Parliamentarians shall be elected by the citizens of the respective States Parties, through direct, universal and secret suffrage.
2. The mechanism for the election of parliamentarians and their alternates shall be governed by the laws of each State Party, which shall seek to ensure adequate representation by gender, ethnicities and regions according to the realities of each State.
3. The Parliamentarians shall be elected together with their alternates, who shall replace them, in accordance with the respective State Party ' s electoral legislation, in cases of definitive or temporary absence. The alternates shall be elected on the same date and form as the incumbent Parliamentarians, as well as for identical periods.
4. On the proposal of Parliament, the Council of the Common Market will establish the "Day of the Citizen MERCOSUR", for the election of parliamentarians, simultaneously in all States Parties, through direct, universal and secret suffrage of citizens.
Participation of Associate States.
The Parliament may invite MERCOSUR Associate States to participate in its public meetings, through members of their national parliaments, which shall participate with the right to voice and without the right to vote.
Incorporation of new members
1. The Parliament, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 12, shall be issued on the accession of new States parties to MERCOSUR.
2. The legal instrument that formalizes accession shall determine the conditions for the incorporation of the Parliamentarians of the acceding State.
Members of Parliament shall not be subject to an imperative mandate and shall act independently in the exercise of their functions.
The Parliamentarians shall have a common mandate of four (4) years, counted from the date of assumption in office, and may be reelected.
Requirements and incompatibility
1. Candidates for Parliamentarians must meet the requirements required to be a national deputy, in accordance with the law of the respective State Party.
2. The exercise of the Parliamentary position is incompatible with the performance of a legislative or executive mandate or office in States Parties, as well as with the performance of positions in other MERCOSUR bodies.
3. Other incompatibility to be a legislator, as set out in the relevant State party ' s national legislation, shall also apply.
Privileges and immunities
1. The regime of privileges and immunities shall be governed by what is established in the Headquarters Agreement referred to in Article 21.
2. The Parliamentarians may not be tried, civilly or criminally, in the territory of the States Parties of MERCOSUR, at any time, during or after their mandate, by the opinions and votes cast in the exercise of their functions.
3. The movement of members of Parliament, to appear at their meeting place and from there to return, shall not be limited by legal or administrative restrictions.
The Parliament may request advisory opinions to the Permanent Review Tribunal.
Adoption of the Internal Regulations
The Parliament shall adopt and modify its internal rules by qualified majority.
1. Parliament shall adopt its decisions and acts by a simple, absolute, special or qualified majority.
2. For the simple majority the vote of more than half of the Parliamentarians present will be required.
3. For the absolute majority, more than half of the total membership of Parliament will be required.
4. For the special majority, the vote of two thirds of the total membership of Parliament, which in turn includes parliamentarians from all States Parties, will be required.
5. For the qualified majority, the affirmative vote of the absolute majority of members of the parliamentary representation of each State Party shall be required.
6. The Parliament shall establish in its internal rules the majority required for the adoption of the various matters.
1. The Parliament will have a board of directors responsible for the conduct of legislative work and its administrative services.
It will be composed of a President, and a Vice-President of each other
States Parties, in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Regulations.
It will be assisted by a Parliamentary Secretary and an Administrative Secretary.
2. The term of office of the members of the Board shall be 2 (two) years, and its members may be reelected for one time.
3. In the event of absence or temporary impediment, the President shall be replaced by one of the Vice-Presidents, in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Regulations.
4. The Parliament will have a Parliamentary Secretariat and an Administrative Secretariat, which will operate permanently at the seat of Parliament.
5. The Parliament shall constitute permanent and temporary commissions, which shall include the representation of States Parties, whose organization and functioning shall be established in the Internal Regulations.
6. The technical and administrative staff of Parliament shall be composed of citizens of States Parties. It shall be appointed by international public examination and shall have its own status, with a legal regime equivalent to that of the staff of the MERCOSUR Secretariat.
7. The labour disputes between Parliament and its staff will be resolved by the MERCOSUR Labour Administrative Court.
1. Parliament will meet in regular session at least once a month.
It may be convened at the request of the Common Market Council or at the request of Parliamentarians, in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Regulations.
2. All meetings of the Parliament and its Commissions shall be public, except those which are declared of a reserved nature.
1. Meetings of the Parliament and its Commissions may begin with the presence of at least one third of its members, in which all States Parties are represented.
2. Each Parliamentary Party shall have the right to a vote.
3. The Internal Regulations shall provide for the possibility that Parliament, in exceptional circumstances, may sessitize and adopt its decisions and acts through technological means that permit distance meetings.
Acts of Parliament
These are acts of Parliament:
2. Draft standards;
3. Draft standards;
6. Reports; and
1. The Parliament shall prepare and approve its budget, which shall be met with contributions from States Parties, in accordance with the Internal Gross Product and the national budget of each State Party.
2. The contribution criteria mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be established by the Decision of the Common Market Council, taking into account the proposal of the Parliament.
1. The seat of Parliament will be the city of Montevideo, the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.
2. MERCOSUR will sign with the Eastern Republic of Uruguay a Headquarters Agreement that will define the rules relating to the privileges, immunities and exemptions of Parliament, parliamentarians and other officials, in accordance with the rules of existing international law.
Accession and complaint
1. In respect of accession or denunciation, they shall as a whole, for this Protocol, govern the rules established by the Treaty of Assumption.
2. Accession or denunciation of the Treaty of Asuncion means, ipso jure, accession or denunciation to this Protocol. The denunciation of this Protocol means ipso jure the denunciation of the Treaty of Asunción.
Vigilance and deposit
1. This Protocol, an integral part of the Treaty of Assumption, shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which the fourth State Party deposited its instrument of ratification.
2. The Republic of Paraguay shall be the depositary of this Protocol and of the instruments of ratification and shall notify the other States Parties of the date of deposits of such instruments by sending a duly authenticated copy of this Protocol to the other States Parties.
All institutional provisions of the Ouro Preto Protocol relating to the constitution and functioning of Parliament are repealed and are inconsistent with the terms of this Protocol, with the express exception of the decision-making system of the other MERCOSUR bodies established in Art. 37 of the Ouro Preto Protocol.
For the purposes of Article 1 of this Protocol, the following shall be:
- "first phase of the transition": the period from 31 December 2006 to 31 December 2010.
- "second phase of the transition": the period from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014.
In the first phase of the transition, the Parliament shall consist of eighteen (18) Parliamentary members of each State Party.
The provisions of article 5, paragraph 1, relating to the integration of Parliament in accordance with a criterion of citizen representation, applicable from the second stage of the transition, shall be established by Decision of the Council of the Common Market, on the proposal of the Parliament adopted by qualified majority. This Decision shall be adopted by 31 December 2007.
For the first phase of the transition, the national parliaments shall establish the modalities for the designation of their respective parliamentarians, among the legislators of the national parliaments of each State party, appointing the holders and equal number of alternates.
For the purpose of implementing the direct election of the Parliamentarians, referred to in article 6, paragraph 1, States parties, before the end of the first phase of the transition, shall hold elections by direct, universal and secret ballot of Parliamentarians, which shall be carried out in accordance with the national electoral agenda of each State party.
The first election under article 6, paragraph 4, will take place during 2014.
Since the second phase of the transition, all Parliamentarians shall have been elected in accordance with article 6, paragraph 1.
MERCOSUR Citizen Day
The "MeRCOSUR Citizen's Day", provided for in article 6, paragraph 4, will be established by the Common Market Council, on the proposal of the Parliament, by the end of 2012.
Mandate and incompatibility
In the first phase of the transition, the Parliamentarians indirectly designated shall cease their functions: by expiration or loss of their national mandate; by assuming their elected successors directly; or, no later than, at the end of that first phase.
All Parliamentarians serving in Parliament during the second phase of the transition shall be elected directly before the beginning of the transition, and their mandates may be different from that set out in article 10, for the sole time.
Article 11, paragraph 2 and 3, applies from the second phase of the transition.
During the first phase of the transition, the decisions of Parliament, in the cases referred to in article 4, paragraph 12, shall be adopted by a special majority.
During the first phase of the transition, the budget of Parliament will be met by States parties through equal contributions.
HEAR in the city of Montevideo, on the nine days of December of the year two thousand five, in an original in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, being both equally authentic texts.