Wednesday 17 March 2010

Germany's second chamber: Europe 2020 timetable violates Lisbon Treaty

In a freshly published press release the European Chamber of the German Bundesrat has criticised the timetable of the Europe 2020 process foreseeing a decision at the European Council on 25-26 March 2010 as violating the rights of national legislatures under the Lisbon Treaty. It also dismisses parts of the 2020 strategy as violating the Treaty.

The Bundesrat is the second chamber of the German legislative branch uniting representatives of the 16 federal states. It claims it has had less than three weeks between the formal reception of the Europe 2020 document and the European Council next week where a decision on the strategy is planned (see agenda, p.2).

What is remarkable is that the European Chamber of the Bundesrat - a body able to take constitutionally binding decisions on behalf of the Bundesrat set up to react quickly to EU developments when urgently needed - has almost never met in its history.

Thus, the fact that the European Chamber of the Bundesrat now issues a decision on behalf of the full institution shows the seriousness of the matter for the German federal states.

One has to remind that under the Lisbon Treaty, national and subnational legislatures must have eight weeks to react to European policy proposals under the subsidiarity clause, as was explained in a letter by Barroso sent to the parliaments in December.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that a national legislature is claiming that the Lisbon rules have been violated.

The question is now: How will the Commission and the European Council President react?

Update: Although the press release on the website of the Bundesrat has a time stamp from today, 17:29, the decision must have been taken yesterday because some newspapers published the story in today's printed versions.


martin said...

Is that already the EU exploding like some journalists suggested earlier?

Julien Frisch said...

That is the EU realising that it actually got a new constitution and not just a simple Treaty reform.

Unknown said...

Finally, someone addresses the problem that industry associations have to deal with every time, very short deadlines for reactions.

Julien Frisch said...

Well, the only difference is that the the national and state-level parliaments have a constitutional right to be involved.