23rd Nov 2017

National parliaments get say on EU laws

National parliaments are to start getting an unprecedented say on emerging EU laws, with one seasoned observer noting that it could be "revolutionary".

EU leaders on Friday (15 June) passed a text requesting the commission "to duly consider comments by national parliaments" on proposed EU laws.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In the future the commission will "make all new proposals and consultation papers directly available to national parliaments, inviting them to react so as to improve the process of policy formation", say the conclusions of the two-day summit on Brussels.

The initiative came from the commission itself with president Jose Manuel Barroso making the proposal in May as part of Brussels' attempt to carry out reform that citizens can directly relate to.

It resembles the so-called "yellow card" procedure foreseen in the EU Constitution stating that the commission should review a legislative proposal, if at least one third of national parliaments believe the proposal falls outside EU competencies.

Will parliaments use their new power?

Commenting on the agreement, Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schussel said "national parliaments are going to have a far greater role to play"

Veteran Danish politician Jens-Peter Bonde said it could "revolutionise" EU law-making but added that this would depend on whether national parliaments make proper use of the facility.

Mr Bonde has long campaigned for national parliaments to have more say, arguing that they are best placed to keep a check on what is emerging from Brussels.

The text also urges the European Parliament and the European Commission "to consistently check the correct application" of two fundamental principles – subsidiarity – whereby the EU only takes action when it can achieve better results than member states acting alone – and proportionality – that EU laws should be kept to a minimum.

For their part national parliaments have also been asked to cooperate when monitoring EU law.

The Danish parliament, which already has a strong say over EU legislation, is set to galvanise its 24 national counterparts towards the end of the month with a special meeting on the issue.


The proposal is not without its critics, however. The draft conclusions of the summit were watered down from saying the commission should "take into account" any comments by national parliaments to "duly consider".

This reflected worries by Belgium, in particular, that the commission's right to initiate laws - a right enshrined in the EU treaties - would be undermined.

Some members of the European Parliament are also likely to be unhappy with the proposal.

When Mr Barroso floated the idea last month, Austrian green MEP Johannes Voggenhuber said "these are intentional, systematic efforts by national governments to strengthen intergovernmental Europe".


EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.


EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  2. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  3. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  4. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  5. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  6. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  7. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  8. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'