Convention tackles subsidiarity and role of national parliaments

At its next session on 17-18 March, the Convention will discuss subsidiarity and the role of national parliaments in the EU.

The draft Protocol on the role of national parliaments in the EU, which is to replace the current Protocol annexed to the Amsterdam Treaty, makes the following recommendations:

  • the Commission is to send all legislative proposals, consultative documents, Annual Policy Strategy and annual legislative and work programmes simultaneously to national parliaments, the European Parliament and the Council;
  • the Court of Auditors is to send its annual report simultaneously to national parliaments, the European Parliament and the Council;
  • records of Council proceedings are to be sent to national parliaments and the European Parliament at the same time as they are sent to governments.

The draft Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality makes the following proposals:

  • the power to activate the early warning system is to be given to each national parliament;
  • the threshold is to be set at one third of the national parliaments;
  • the Court of Justice is to have jurisdiction to hear and determine actions brought by Member States on grounds of infringement of the principle of subsidiarity;
  • the Committee of the Regions is to have the same right as regards legislative acts on which it was consulted.

On EU’s finances, the Convention is expected to discuss all aspects of Union funding, including the own resources system and budgetary principles and procedures. There are proposals to remove the distinction between compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure, which would give the European Parliament the power of co-decision on agricultural expenditure.

On the implementation of the Area of freedom, security and justice, a generalisation of qualified majority voting will be proposed.


Convention members proposed a number of amendments to the draft Protocol on the role of national parliaments, dealing with the the scope of information transmitted to national parliaments, the timeframe for the transmission of information and interparliamentary co-operation. One of the proposed amendments states that each national parliament should elect a Commissioner and have the right to censure him/her.


The agenda of the Convention session on 17 and 18 March includes:

  • the EU's finances,
  • freedom, security and justice,
  • draft Articles 24-33,
  • draft Protocol on subsidiarity and proportionality,
  • draft Protocol on role of national parliaments.

The Convention Praesidium proposed the draft protocols on 27 February.


  • The Convention will meet in Brussels on 17 and 18 March. The next meeting of the Convention is on 3 and 4 April.
  • Leaders of seven smaller Member States - Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and The Netherlands - will meet in Brussels on 19 March to discuss a common position in the Convention (

see EURACTIV of 14 March 2003).

  • Convention President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing will discuss the progress in the Convention with EU Member States leaders at the Spring European Council on 20-21 March.



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