Sunday

21st Jul 2019

National parliaments 'not best' for EU's interests

  • The Irish parliament - among those that will have to find its way in a future EU (Photo: EUobserver)

A new ideas paper on progress towards further EU integration highlights the shifting power sands for national parliaments as the European Parliament is set to become the principle democratic guardian of a future EU.

The paper - put together by EU council president Herman Van Rompuy and published Thursday (6 December) - lays out a loose time framework for achieving "genuine economic and monetary union."

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

In a section entitled democratic legitimacy and accountability - the section itself is an acknowledgement of the how the issue has moved up the political agenda - the paper notes that the one of "guiding principles" is that democratic control should happen at the "level at which the decisions are taken."

It points out that while state budgets are at the "heart" of parliamentary democracies, national assemblies "are not in the best position" to take the "common interest" of the union into account.

"National budgetary policies are a matter of vital common interest," says the paper.

It will be the European Parliament that "first and foremost" will be given more oversight powers as more economic and monetary powers are given to the EU level.

Meanwhile, MPs will need to carve out a role for themselves in the two-way dialogue between member states and the European Commission on how national budgets should best be spent and what reforms needs to be undertaken.

EU officials believe that all euro states should eventually be obliged to sign up to reform "contracts" as a way of ensuring that unpopular structural changes are made - building still further on the already powerful budgetary oversight powers that the European Commission has been given since the onset of the financial crisis.

These contracts would be the result of "intense dialogue between each member state and EU institutions" and would run to several year - although they could be changed if the government changed.

It says parliaments would have to approve the contracts in order to ensure "national ownership" and the arrangements themselves would have to be detailed and specific enough for MPs to be able to tickbox the reforms being made.

However there are few concrete suggestions in the paper for how to entwine national parliaments in an EU where decisions on areas generally connected to being a state will increasingly be taken at the European level.

The paper suggests that national and European MPs cooperate more, referring to a part of the EU treaty that foresees deputies from relevant committees meeting for interparliamentary conferences.

But anything of this nature would have to be established by both the national parliaments and the European Parliament, with the latter itself keen to beef up its EU scrutiny powers.

Van Rompuy: National parliaments are EU institutions

Tasked with approving bail-outs, national budgets and labour market policies which affect the eurozone, national parliaments have almost become European institutions, the EU Council chief has said.

PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory

Warsaw and Budapest are boasting about their support for von der Leyen after the german is confirmed only by a small margin of MEPs, but the illiberals should not expect the softening of rule of law scrutiny.

Analysis

Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

The first-ever female president of the European Commission wants half of her team of commissioners to consist of women. But most of the commissioners put forward by EU member states so far have been male.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Abortion Wars
  2. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  3. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  4. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  5. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  6. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  7. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  8. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us