Friday 11 December 2009

Involvement of national parliaments under Lisbon: Barroso letter

A week ago, Barroso has sent out a letter explaining how the national parliaments will be involved under the Lisbon Treaty.

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.
It will be really interesting to see how this works in practice, but the procedure as proposed looks very promising, and I am looking forward seeing the dynamics this may bring in the future.


Macarena Rodriguez said...

Hi Julien,
The documents (draft legaslative acts) are sending to IPEX as well. IPEX is the database of the National Parliament for exchanging information. The reasoned opinions will be available here in order to coordinate the scrutiny and subsidiarity check among National Parlaments.
Take a look!
On Facebook: