European Commission - Press release
National Parliaments rise to the challenge
Brussels, 10 June 2011 - The European Commission's political dialogue with National Parliaments went from strength to strength in 2010. Following the launch of this political initiative by President Barroso in 2006, National Parliaments now enjoy important new responsibilities in European policy making under the Lisbon Treaty. As the Commission's Annual Report on relations with National Parliaments - adopted today - shows, National Parliaments are using this opportunity to engage in European affairs more closely and constructively than ever.
Maros Šefčovič, Vice President for Inter-institutional Relations and Administration explains: "The number of National Parliament opinions sent to the European Commission has substantially increased since the new Treaty entered into force, and we welcome this as a clear and very positive sign: National Parliaments want to become more involved in European affairs, and at a much earlier stage than before. The Commission is fully committed to deepening its political dialogue with National Parliaments and to further enhancing its contacts and exchanges with all 40 National Parliamentary Chambers in the 27 Member States."
The report adopted today illustrates how the political dialogue at the heart of the Commission's relations with National Parliaments has widened and deepened in 2010. National Parliaments submitted 387 opinions in 2010 on a wide variety of subjects, an increase of nearly 60%.
As part of this political dialogue, the full introduction of the subsidiarity control mechanism in 2010 has given National Parliaments an important role in scrutinising compliance with this fundamental principle. The highest number of opinions alerting the Commission to a possible breach of the principle of subsidiarity was issued on the Seasonal Workers Directive (8 votes) and, more recently, on the proposal linked to the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (13 votes). Whilst the Commission pays due attention to all such opinions, these numbers fall short of the threshold at which the Commission would be required to review its proposal (18 votes)1.
The Commission's report on subsidiarity and proportionality, also adopted today, describes in detail how the Commission puts these fundamental principles into practice in its work. Together, these two reports underline the Commission's firm commitment to high quality policy making and to fostering a truly European political dialogue.
Link to report:
Each national Parliament has two votes, shared out on the basis of the National Parliamentary system. In the case of a bicameral parliamentary system, each of the two chambers shall have one vote. A draft legislative act must be reviewed when reasoned opinions cast by National Parliaments represent at least one third (18 votes) of all the votes allocated to them (54 votes). This threshold is a quarter (14 votes) in the case of a draft legislative act submitted on the basis of Article 76 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on the area of freedom, security and justice.