PART 1: INTRODUCTION
1. Why is there a need for a report on the effectiveness
of parliamentary scrutiny of the European Union? Those who govern
the European Union need to be subject to scrutiny and held to
account for their actions. The national parliaments of the Member
States have a central role in such scrutiny and accordingly have
a duty to ensure that their scrutiny of European affairs is purposeful
2. The House of Lords has for many years played a
role in scrutinising European legislation, primarily through our
and its predecessors and has always taken a wide view of its scrutiny
There has been a continuous process of development in our work
to ensure that we keep pace with changes in the European Union.
Hence we have on several occasions in the past addressed many
of the questions covered in this report.
A specific review of scrutiny is nevertheless timely now because
examination of the role of national parliaments is being undertaken
by the Convention on the Future of Europe ("the Convention"),
which appointed a working group on the subject.
While we do not seek here to duplicate the work being undertaken
in the Convention, we hope that this review will be a contribution
to that work.
3. The formal impetus for this report, however, was
the recommendation, made as part of a wider review of the House's
working methods undertaken by the "Leader's Group" and
the Procedure Committee,
that we should review the European scrutiny work of the House.
This report delivers on that recommendation, although we do not
confine our consideration to the limited issues addressed by the
4. This report cannot, however, cover in detail all
the issues raised in our review. In some places we therefore merely
raise a question rather than seek to provide a definitive answer.
Outstanding matters will be the subject of further consideration
in due course. We will in particular scrutinise in more detail
over the current months several key topics on which the Convention's
Working Groups are issuing reports. These include a wide range
of matters, many pertinent to this review:
- The role of the national parliaments
- The Charter of Fundamental Rights
- A single legal personality
- Complementary competencies
- Economic governance
- External action
- Freedom, security and justice
- A social Europe.
5. We have taken evidence as part of this review.
The questions we asked our witnesses are listed in Appendix 2
along with a list of those who sent responses, all of which are
published with this report. We thank all those who assisted us.
References in this report in the form of (Q 00) and (p 00)
are to questions and pages of oral and written evidence.