MEPs back measures to give national parliaments greater say in EU legislation

Written by Martin Banks on 19 May 2017 in News

MEPs have overwhelmingly backed measures that call for national parliaments to have a greater say on EU legislation.

Sajjad Karim | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

The European Parliament approved a report which advocates extra checks to ensure the EU legislates only on areas not best left to member states and that the legislation is fit for purpose as well as proportionate.

The report calls for a re-evaluation of the number of national parliaments required for a yellow card to be triggered, pausing legislation.

It also recommends that proposals should be discarded if tests show they would place disproportionate burdens on competitiveness and small businesses.

The outcome of the vote was welcomed by rapporteur Sajjad Karim.

The report, said the ECR group member, highlights the importance of the EU working with national parliaments and ensuring that action is taken as "close as possible to people."

The report is part of the ECR group's work to ensure that the Parliament is "closer to people and the EU only takes action when it isn't best left to member states."

On Friday, Karim told this website, "I am delighted that MEPs across Europe have once again supported measures to give national parliaments a greater ability to check the EU's work."

He said the ECR group was "leading the way in reforming the EU and reducing the democratic deficit."

Karim added, "My report supports this reform agenda by promoting a greater respect for national parliaments. 

"The EU should only act when it wouldn't be better left to the national or regional level. My report underlines that it must also be sure that its actions do not create an unnecessary burden on small or medium sized businesses or damage competitiveness and if this is the case that they should be withdrawn."

He went on, "In order to have the most effective legislation, national parliaments must be able to give their opinion on proportionality, not just subsidiarity."

The ECR group deputy added, "The EU should not be afraid of working with national parliaments as it ultimately makes for better, more response legislation." 

Other proposals in the report include extending the time limit for national parliaments to submit opinions on whether action is best left to member states; an evaluation of the number of parliaments needed to trigger a yellow card - calling for legislation to be reviewed; the European Commission to automatically check its proposals does not create an unnecessary burden on businesses and competitiveness.

MEPs in Strasbourg approved his report on Thursday 545 votes in favour and with 25 against.

Karim told this website, "National parliaments should be able to give opinions, like they do on subsidiarity questions, on whether proposed legislation unnecessarily burdens small and medium sized businesses or damages competitiveness. 

"Subsidiarity and proportionality are fundamental guiding principles of the EU. It is vital that there is a thorough assessment of whether action at EU level is more appropriate than national or regional initiatives."

He commented, "The EU should not be afraid of subsidiarity. It increases dialogue with national parliaments and ultimately makes for better, more responsive legislation. 

"National parliaments should be able to give opinions, like they do on subsidiarity questions, on whether proposed legislation unnecessarily burdens small and medium sized businesses or damages competitiveness."


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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