PART 1: introduction
1. The Convention on the Future of Europe is
examining, among other matters, the role of national parliaments
in the European Union and the principle of subsidiarity. These
issues are important not least because of concerns that the European
Union is disconnected from its citizens; and because of a sense
that national parliaments have a role to play in solving this
problem. Our Committee has been keeping the work of the Convention
under review and as part of that ongoing scrutiny we examine here
the role of national parliaments in the European Union; and the
question of subsidiarity.
2. The purpose of this report is to examine the
proposals concerning national parliaments and subsidiarity which
are being discussed in the Convention. We do so with reference
to several reports on the EU and national parliaments including
two reports from the Convention itself: the report of the Working
Group on the role of National Parliaments;
and that of the Working Group on Subsidiarity.
We also refer to the proposed Protocols on national parliaments
and subsidiarity issued by the Convention's Praesidium.
Secondly, the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has
produced a report on 'Democracy and Accountability in the EU and
the Role of National Parliaments',
and another on 'European Scrutiny in the Commons'.
We ourselves have recently published a 'Review of Scrutiny of
3. This report also examines, and attempts to
explain, the concept of subsidiarity and the role that national
parliaments can play in this regard. This topic is covered in
Part 3 below. We intend to produce separate reports on the Convention's
proposed Treaty Articles;
CFSP and defence; and the Convention's proposals for a Social
4. We have not taken extensive evidence, as the
primary purpose of this report is to draw together existing material.
We did, however, hear from Gisela Stuart MP, a member of the Convention's
Praesidium and chair of the Working Group on National Parliaments.
We are very grateful to Ms Stuart for making herself available
to us on this occasion, as she and the other UK national parliamentarians
on the Convention have done before. A transcript of her evidence
is printed with this report. We make this report to the House
for information although we hope that the House will soon have
a further opportunity for another debate on the Convention and
that this report would inform any such debate.
1 CONV 353/02. Back
CONV 579/03, printed in Appendix 2. Back
33rd Report of session 2001-02, HC 152-xxxiii-I. Back
30th Report of session 2001-02, HC 152-xxx. Back
1st Report of session 2002-03, HL Paper 15 - awaiting debate. Back
The first such report has been published, on Articles 1-16 (9th
Report, HL Paper 61, 25th February). Back