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

2. Control and Briefing of the Parliament regarding Community Legislation and the Application of the Principle of Subsidiarity

Further to national parliaments’ competence on ratification of treaties, member-states’ parliaments also participate in the European Union process by their controlling and legislative competence, on the basis of the Protocol on the Role of National Parliaments and the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

The Protocol on applying the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality gives the national parliaments a right of opposition in legislative procedures. Thus, a third of national parliaments may request the review of a draft legislative text, if they consider that the principle of subsidiarity has not been complied with. The Commission may then withdraw, amend or keep the draft legislation, stating reasons for its decision. If the Commission decides to keep the draft legislation even when it has been contested by a simple majority of national parliaments, as a last resort the European Council and the Parliament shall decide whether or not the procedure should continue. A posteriori, a national parliament may also contest a legislative act which it considers to be contrary to the principle of subsidiarity before the Court of Justice of the EU. 

In addition, national parliaments have a right of opposition for decisions which relate to certain aspects of family law and have cross-border implications (Article 81 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). Such a decision may only be adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure if no national parliament opposes it.

The Protocol on the Role of National Parliaments contains precise obligations on the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Court of Auditors in terms of the dissemination of information to national parliaments.

Moreover, on the basis of the informal political dialogue with the European Commission, established during the last decade, national parliaments have the opportunity to systematically express their views on EU legislative initiatives.

In addition to the above, national parliaments cooperate with each other and with the European Parliament and jointly examine legislative proposals and general European policy issues in the frame of the Conference of European Affairs Committees (COSAC)  and other activities falling within the scope of regular inter-parliamentary cooperation.

COSAC
EU Publications

© European Union, 2010

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