Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence


Report submitted by the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union in accordance with Rule 93a, para (4) of the Rules of Procedure on the Conclusions of the XVth COSAC/CEAC (Conference of European Affairs Committees) on 16 October 1996 in Dublin—CONF/3973/96—and on the Discussion Document of the Intergovernmental Conference on a Revision of the Maastricht Treaty—Memorandum of the Irish Presidency of 19 November 1996—CONF/3985/96—Printed Paper 13/6357 Nos 3.1 and 3.2

Report by the Members of the German Bundestag Dr Gero Pfennig, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Christian Sterzing and Dr Helmut Haussmann


  The report is submitted pursuant to Article 45 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Rule 93a, para (3), sentence 2 of the German Bundestag's Rules of Procedure. In accordance with these provisions, the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union may state an opinion to the Federal Government so long as none of the specialised committees involved objects. The committees involved have opted for this procedure in an urgent case—the role of the national parliaments is on the agenda of the European Council meeting in Dublin on 13/14 1996—in order to give the German Bundestag an opportunity to exert effective parliamentary influence on the conduct of negotiations by the Federal Government.

  On this basis, the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union has stated the following opinion to the Federal Government:

  Participation by national parliaments in the affairs of the European Union is governed primarily by the internal constitutional and legal order of each Member State. Taking as an example the extensive participation by the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat in such matters, in line with Articles 23 and 45 of the Basic Law, the Act on Co-operation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in the Affairs of the European Union, and the Act on Co-operation between the Federation and the Länder in the Affairs of the European Union, it is evident that, given the appropriate domestic legal and constitutional provisions, national parliaments can exercise effective control of the actions of their respective governments in the Council.

  2.  The Committee is opposed to any further complication or renationalisation of decision-making processes in the European Union. In view also of the special status of the European Parliament, it is opposed above all to the creation of a new and institutionalised deliberative body comprising representatives of the national parliaments.

  3.  The Committee rejects proposals to transform COSAC/CEAC into a body which formally represents the national parliaments and which is raised, as it were, to Community level by endowing it with decision-making powers in certain fields. COSAC/CEAC should be retained as a flexible forum for an open exchange of views and information between Members of national parliaments. The proposals on the future role of COSAC/CEAC put forward by the Irish Presidency in sub-sections 5 to 7 of Section II of its draft protocol on the role of the national parliaments in the European Union (CONF 3985/96 of 19 November 1996), are not compatible with this aim. Section II of the aforementioned draft protocol should be revised in line with the conclusions adopted at the XVth meeting of COSAC/CEAC in Dublin on 16 October 1996.

  4.  The German Bundestag advocates an improvement of the conditions under which national parliaments can contribute to national decision-making on EU law. It therefore welcomes the arrangements proposed in Section I of the aforementioned draft protocol.

  5.  The existing contacts among national parliaments, and between them and the European Parliament, should be intensified within the framework of the corresponding national provisions (in Germany, for example, in line with Rule 93, paras (5) and (6) and Rule 93a, para (6) of the German Bundestag's Rules of Procedure).

  6.  The German Bundestag is prepared to examine new aspects arising in the light of the deliberations in Dublin.

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