Friday, 19 March 2010

Europe 2020 - Partial delay after Bundesrat complaint

After Germany's second chamber, the Bundesrat, complained on Tuesday that the schedule for the Europe 2020 strategy was against the Lisbon Treaty rules, European Council President van Rompuy now has postponed parts of the decision.

According to EurActiv, those parts of the 2020 plan dealing with education will not be decided at the European Council next week. This is necessary because the German federal states represented in the second chamber are responsible for education according to the German constitution.

It's exactly this kind of strange compromise I have expected: How can you pass the 2020 strategy partially next week and agree to the educational parts later this year? Isn't this meant to be an integrated strategy that can be agreed to as a whole or not?

And if the Bundesrat could complain that it didn't have enough time to consider the plan, how could all the other national parliaments? Did they receive the documents earlier than the Bundesrat? This would be odd. Or don't they care for their new rights, having eight weeks to consider European legislation? This would be bad.

What this affair shows is that the Lisbon Treaty has actually triggered changes and might have strengthened not just the European Parliament but also national legislatures - if they are conscious of their rights and if the take them seriously.