National parliaments demand bigger role in the EU

In its contribution to the Convention debate on
the future of the EU, COSAC (Conference of Community and
European Affairs Committees) has demanded a bigger role for the
national parliaments in EU politics. COSAC wants to be reformed
into a Forum of Parliaments, which will represent the national
parliaments in EU policy-making.

The Danish Presidency of the COSAC (1 July – 31 December
2002) has laid out the Conference’s proposals in a working
paper for COSAC’s next meeting in Copenhagen on 16-18
October 2002. The candidate countries for EU membership
will be invited to a special COSAC conference on 15-16
October 2002.

Some of COSAC’s main proposals:

  • the role of the national parliaments in EU politics
    is to be enhanced
  • EU law-making procedures and deadlines must allow the
    possibility for the democratic integration of EU politics
    into the national parliaments
  • COSAC is to be reformed into a Forum of Parliaments,
    which will be tasked with:

    • enhancing the role of the national parliaments in
      EU politics
    • enhancing parliamentary co-operation between the
      national and European parliamentarians
    • ensuring contacts and co-operation with EU
      institutions.

COSAC’s working paper rejects proposals
to set up a second chamber of the European Parliament.
Instead, it recommends that EU politics be systematically
integrated into the work of national parliaments. “Only in
this manner can European politics be anchored among all
parliamentarians in the national parliaments, thereby
becoming a natural part of the political work and of the
public debate,” states the document.

COSAC underlines that the majority of
the proposed changes do not require a treaty modification.
A reform of the COSAC could be implemented immediately,
however, national parliaments should nevertheless
participate in the negotiations concerning a new
treaty.

 

In December 2001, EU leaders set up a Convention to prepare
a reform of EU policies and institutions so that the Union
can enlarge to new Member States.

The role of national parliaments is one
of the main topics, discussed by the Convention, and there
is a Convention working group dealing with this issue.

 

At its next session on 3-4 October the Convention will
discuss the issue of subsidiarity.

The Convention President, Valéry
Giscard d'Estaing, pledged to table the draft proposal for
a future EU Constitutional Treaty by November 2002. His
objective is to have the final proposal ready for the EU
Summit in mid-2003.

The Convention will be followed by an
Intergovernmental Conference in 2003 or 2004 to decide on
the revision of the treaties.

 

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