Friday

18th Oct 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.

EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Remarks to Congress by the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, have shed light on the unusual nature of American diplomacy under president Donald Trump.

Opinion

Europe's empty fortress

It is too easy only to criticise the rightists and their fixation with barbed wire, Trump for his wall on the border with Mexico, Orban for his xenophobia.

News in Brief

  1. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  2. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  3. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  4. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products
  5. G7: Libra should not operate until all risks addressed
  6. Kurds agree with US-Turkey ceasefire but not safe-zone
  7. US to host 2020 G7 summit at Trump golf club
  8. Turkey's pension fund buys stake in Finnish defence firm

Crucial summit: last EU-28 format?

The EU summit will be crucial for the future of the EU, but especially for the UK. The next EU summit will not be the same since the UK's withdrawal will have consequences for the power relations within the council.

EU parliament quietly hoards visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to national authorities in case of investigations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us