To remember: Under the Protocol 2 of the Lisbon Treaty, national parliaments have gained explicit scrutiny rights in EU law-making. Parliaments have to receive documents in time and may react within 8 weeks if they see their rights unduly limited by the EU level, including the possibility to refuse legislation:
Where reasoned opinions on a draft legislative act's non-compliance with the principle of subsidiarity represent at least one third of all the votes [every country has two votes; in bicameral systems these are shared; JF] allocated to the national Parliaments [...] the draft must be reviewed.The Barroso letter now explains how the procedure will look like in practice:
- National Parliaments will receive Commission documents the day they are sent out to the EP and the Council.
- Draft legislation will always be accompanied with a letter ("lettre de saisine") that will point to the subsidy control rights of the national parliaments (NPs) and the procedure according to Protocol 2 of the Lisbon Treaty.
- At the end of the week, the Commission sends out a list of all documents sent in that week. NPs have three working days to complain if they missed one, which, if true, may prolong the 8 week deadline for the parliaments concerned.
- August (as summer recess month) will not be counted for the 8 week deadline.
- NPs are asked to distinguish clearly between substantive comments and comments regarding subsidiarity rights when they comment on legislation.
- The blocking threshold of one third will be effective even when the reasons for rejecting a proposal by different NPs will be different.
- The opinions of NPs will be published on the Commission website.
- If a proposal is rejected by the NPs, the Commission will decide whether to amend or to withdraw the legislation.
- Pending proposals from pre-Lisbon times are not covered by the procedure.