Brussels, 28 September 2009
Commission dialogue with National Parliaments reaches a new high
In three years, the Commission has received 525 opinions from national parliaments. This shows the political dialogue – announced by President Barroso in May 2006 and launched by the Commission in early September the same year – is a clear success. This political dialogue gives the national parliaments unprecedented possibilities to give comments, criticism and positive feedback on Commission proposals, and the Commission the opportunity to both listen and to explain better. 1
Taking stock of the political dialogue, President José Manuel Barroso commented: " I am proud of what we have achieved together with the national parliaments. The political dialogue both contributes to raising awareness on European issues in national parliaments and to giving the Commission a better view of the national political landscapes. This brings Europe a step closer to its citizens."
Vice President Margot Wallström, in charge of relations with the national parliaments, stated: " Together the Commission and the national parliaments have improved the process of the EU's policy formulation. The development of our relations with the national parliaments is a turning point for democratising the EU and to communicating better with citizens – a greater voice to parliaments is a greater voice to Europe's citizens."
The dialogue with national parliaments is a political commitment which the Commission will uphold, also in parallel with a new subsidiarity mechanism in the Lisbon Treaty, which, if ratified, will allow national parliaments to express formal reserves as regards the respect of the subsidiarity principle in draft legislative acts.
The initiative to enter into a substantial political dialogue with national parliaments was announced by President Barroso on 9 May 2006 in the European Parliament during the First Joint Parliamentary Meeting on the Future of the Union and was also reflected in the Commission Communication "A citizens' agenda – Delivering results for Europe" 2 adopted one day later. With this initiative, the Commission aimed at further reinforcing its relations with the national parliaments, with a view to bringing Europe closer to its citizens. Heads of State and Government clearly supported this project. In its conclusions, the European Council of June 2006 asked the Commission to duly consider comments by the national parliaments, in particular with regard to the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The launch of the political dialogue reflected once more the importance attached to national parliaments by the Barroso Commission. It had not only been the first to specifically charge a Vice President for relations with national parliaments, but also endorsed a specific action plan at the beginning of its mandate with the purpose to strengthening relations with the national parliaments.
In addition, Commissioners had over 550 meetings with national parliaments during 2005-2009, taking the Barroso Commission to an unprecedented number of meetings with national parliamentarians.
For more information:
National Parliaments' opinions and Commission replies since 2008 are published on the Europa website