23 January 2018
B. The Hellenic Parliament and E.U. Affairs

1. Legislative Work, Parliamentary Control and Community Legislation

The Parliament’s legislative work concerning EU matters is not limited to ratification of relevant treaties or voting laws for transposing community legislation to national law- as, for example, directives or resolutions regarding issues on which voting standard legislation is needed.

The Parliament is informed on EU legislative work under elaboration (see art. 41B SO) and takes into account the “acquis communautaire” in the exercise of its legislative competence: draft legislation submitted to Parliament for debate and vote has to be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum stating, among other things, the relevant community legal provisions. After that, according to regular practice, the draft law is submitted to the competent parliamentary committee for elaboration. At this stage, the committee may call for hearing persons or parties, non-parliamentarians, for the purpose of extensively informing the committee on the issue’s European dimension.

Prior to the bill’s discussion in Plenary or its final voting, it is accompanied by a report of the Parliament’s Scientific Service which includes the relevant community legislation as well as general community law remarks. This process ensures national laws’ mainstreaming and adherence to legislation established by EU institutions.

Parliamentary control on EU matters

The Parliament monitors and controls EU course and community legislation implementation by exercising parliamentary control. Regular means for exercising parliamentary control on the government are questions, petitions, current questions, interpellations, current interpellations and requests to submit documents. The aforementioned means often aim at the parliament’s information or governmental policy on community law issues or the general government choices on EU policy issues.

Parliamentary Debates on EU course

“Before the Order of Business Debates”, carried out at the level of heads of political parties are a major step concerning European issues’ discussion. As stipulated in article 143 of the Hellenic Parliament Standing Orders, “during each parliamentary session it is mandatory to hold five “Before the Order of Business Debates”, one of which is to be called by the Government and the rest by the opposition. The subject for debate to be selected by the Government must “relate to the country’s course within the EU”. In other words, during each session, it is mandatory to conduct at least one debate on an EU-related matter, while there is possibility for more debates on current EU affairs, following request of major opposition parties.