LORDS

The Role of National Parliaments in the European Union

In March 2014 the House of Lords EU Committee published its report on The Role of National Parliaments in the European Union.

Inquiry status: Report published and responses received; debated on 15 December 2014.

Overview

The Treaty on European Union states that national parliaments “contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union”. The purpose of the Committee’s inquiry was to explore ways in which national parliaments could play a full and active role, individually and collectively, in enhancing the accountability and legitimacy of the Union.

In particular, the Committee focused on five areas:

  • Promoting effective scrutiny by national parliaments of their own governments
  • Encouraging better dialogue between national parliaments and the European Commission, so as to assist early engagement with policy proposals
  • Improvements to the “reasoned opinion” procedure, whereby national parliaments scrutinise EU proposals for compliance with the principle of subsidiarity
  • Better inter-parliamentary co-operation and exchange of information
    Economic and financial governance, to ensure democratic oversight of EU economic policy

Next Steps

Following publication of the report, the Chairman of the EU Committee, Lord Boswell, joined the Chairs of 28 other national parliamentary committees in sending a letter to the President-Elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, proposing the establishment of a working group to examine further the role of national parliaments in the EU. A response to this letter is still awaited.

On 19 January, Lord Boswell will meet other parliamentarians at an informal meeting in Brussels to discuss concrete next steps for improving the role of national parliaments in the EU, including improvements to the “reasoned opinion” procedure and a possible new mechanism for national parliaments collectively to suggest an EU initiative for the European Commission to take forward.

News

Publications

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    Glossary

    • Reports and associated evidence - reports and evidence featuring written submissions and corrected oral evidence published at the conclusion of Committee inquiries. Evidence is periodically updated over the course of an inquiry and is not finalised until the relevant Report is published.
    • Uncorrected oral evidence - transcripts of oral evidence not yet approved by the Committee or witnesses.
    • Other oral evidence - corrected transcripts of oral evidence, usually taken for scrutiny purposes or for ad hoc/regular evidence sessions with Ministers.
    • Evidence - written submissions and corrected oral evidence published for scrutiny purposes or for ad hoc/regular evidence sessions with Ministers.
    • Responses to Reports - Government Department and European Commission responses to reports.
    • Call for Evidence - request to submit evidence to a Committee inquiry.
    • Correspondence - correspondence received and sent by the Committee excluding ministerial correspondence.
    • Correspondence with Ministers - Ministerial correspondence received and sent by the Committee.
    • Progress of Scrutiny - records the decisions taken by the EU Committee on European documents that have been deposited in Parliament for scrutiny.

Members interests

Members' interests in relation to the inquiry into the role of national parliaments in the EU

The Members of the Committee have declared the following interests in relation to their work on the inquiry into the role of national parliaments in the EU:

Members are required to register any financial and non-financial interests that a reasonable member of the public might think would influence their actions in Parliament. The full text of the Register is available online:

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