Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the German Bundestag

  Thank you very much for your interest in the German Bundestag's position on the idea of a Second Chamber for the European Union. The issue has indeed been discussed vividly and with great interest in recent years in the Bundestag's Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. Although it was univocally expressed that the existing contacts between the national parliaments of the EU member states should be intensified, it remained undisputed that this should happen within the existing framework.

  When on 3 February 1997 the German Bundestag decided against the institutionalisation of COSAC or its transformation into some kind of Second Chamber comprising representatives of national parliaments, it explained its decision as follows: First and foremost, it was generally felt that any institutionalisation of COSAC would further complicate the already unwieldy decision-making process within the European Union. Secondly, the German Bundestag fears that an institutionalised COSAC, or any other kind of Second Chamber could become a rival to the European Parliament, thereby eroding the latter's power which has just been increased by the Amsterdam Treaty and—partly—by the Treaty of Nice.

  Thirdly, the German Bundestag is satisfied with its role in European Policy. The German Bundestag's right to information, and its right of participation in European policy, are guaranteed by Article 23 of the German Basic Law and the Provisions of the Law on Co-operation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters Concerning the European Union. Hence, no need is felt for the introduction of new institutions. This view was confirmed during the 64th meeting of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Affairs on 14 March 2001.

  I hope that this answer is satisfactory for you. For your information we have enclosed the relevant resolution of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, dating from 3 February 1997.

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