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28 May 2017
A. National Parliaments and the E.U.

1. EU Treaties’ Revision and Ratification

One of the most important roles of national parliaments in EU context is the revision and ratification of treaties comprising the basic European legislation corpus. 

Any paramount institutional change in the history of the European integration as, for example, the transition from the European Economic Community to the European Union, the establishment of the Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of a common currency, as well as every EU enlargement, call for prior approval by national delegations of each member-state, in order to be completed and enter into force. In certain countries, these European integration institutional changes bring about civic reforms calling for referendum.

In Greece, the country’s accession to the European Communities and later the ratification of the MaastrichtAmsterdam, Nice and  Lisbon, Treaties, were carried out in line with the provisions of Article 28 par.2 and 3 of the Constitution stipulating a stronger qualified majority for voting the ratifying law.

With regard to revision procedures of the EU Treaties, according to article 48 of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon,

  • under the ordinary procedure, representatives of the national parliaments participate in the Convention responsible for assessing draft revisions;
  • under the  simplified revision procedure, the revision of the Treaties does not require the convening of a Convention. However, the entry into force of new provisions is dependent on their approval by each Member State in accordance with their respective constitutional rules and therefore requires the intervention of national parliaments;
  • under the general “passerelle clause”: switching from the special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure, or from voting by unanimity to voting by qualified majority, cannot be undertaken without approval from the national parliaments.

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