Tuesday

19th Mar 2019

British Lords want more power over EU laws

  • National MPs should be able to review or reject EU laws - according to the UK House of Lords (Photo: parliament.uk)

National parliaments should be able to initiate reviews of existing EU law, according to a report by the UK parliament.

The paper, published on Monday (24 March), by the House of Lords' EU committee, says domestic lawmakers should have more power in the EU legislative process.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"There should be a way for a group of like-minded national parliaments to make constructive suggestions for EU policy initiatives," it notes.

"We would envisage a ‘Green Card’ as recognising a right for a number of national parliaments working together to make constructive policy or legislative suggestions, including for the review or repeal of existing legislation, not creating a (legally more problematic) formal right for national parliaments to initiate legislation."

The Lisbon treaty introduced a regime allowing national lawmakers to formally object to a proposed EU law.

If objections to a proposal are submitted by at least a third of the bloc's national assemblies, a so-called "yellow card" is triggered, and the European Commission is expected to review the proposal.

In the four years since the Lisbon treaty came into force, the yellow card has only been used twice, however.

A number of national parliaments have also accused the commission of ignoring their objections.

Frustration with the system reached a head last autumn when the commission ignored a yellow card by 18 parliaments on plans to establish a European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The proposal, which would establish an EU-level body with the exclusive power to investigate and prosecute criminal offences relating to the EU's financial interests, is now being negotiated by MEPs and ministers.

The second yellow card was issued against a draft law affecting the right to strike, which the commission abandoned in 2012 citing opposition from governments.

"Technical deficiencies have meant that the [yellow card] procedure has not been as effective as hoped," said the Lords' report.

It added that when a yellow card is created, the EU executive should be required to "either drop the proposal in question, or substantially amend it in order to meet the concerns expressed".

Peers also want to increase the deadline for national chambers to issue an opinion on a legislative proposal, from 8 weeks to 16 weeks.

Giving national parliaments the power to block unwanted European legislation is one of the reforms demanded by UK prime minister David Cameron as he seeks to re-write the UK membership terms of the bloc. The plan has also been backed by a handful of other governments.

Opinion

My plan for defending rule of law in EU

EPP leader and prospective next EU Commission president Manfred Weber spells out his plan for dealing with recalcitrant EU member states - ahead of Wednesday's EPP meeting on the vexed issue of Hungary's Viktor Orban and Fidesz.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

News in Brief

  1. Blow for May as third vote on Brexit deal ruled out
  2. Three killed in possible 'terror' gun attack in Utrecht
  3. Third Brexit vote this week only if DUP will support it
  4. Germany's two largest banks confirm merger talks
  5. Serbian pro-democracy protests reach 15th week
  6. 'Yellow Vest' riots leave Paris shops vandalised
  7. European woman older when having first baby
  8. Majority of Germans want Merkel to stay on

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  3. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  6. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  11. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  12. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us