Codecision and national parliamentary scrutiny - European Union Committee Contents


The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, chaired by Lord Roper, is conducting an inquiry into the implications of the codecision legislative procedure for parliamentary scrutiny in the Lords. The aim of the inquiry is better scrutiny and therefore, ultimately, better legislation. The Committee seeks evidence from anyone with an interest.

Written evidence is sought by 14 April. Public hearings will be held in May and June. The Committee aims to report to the House, with recommendations, in July. The report will receive a response from the Government, and may be debated in the House.

The inquiry will aim to:

  • assess the effect that the process and developments in its practice, in particular the increase in first and early second reading deals, have had on the Committee's ability to scrutinise legislative proposals effectively;
  • assess the Government's practice in keeping the Committee up to date on developments in negotiations on legislative proposals subject to codecision and whether this needs improvement;
  • compare this aspect of the UK system with that operating in some other Member States;
  • assess whether the current scrutiny procedures need adjustment; and
  • assess how to increase the impact of the Committee's scrutiny on the Government and, if considered appropriate, on the European Parliament.

The inquiry will not assess the pros and cons of the codecision procedure itself.

As part of this inquiry the Select Committee is seeking views on the following questions:

The codecision procedure itself

    (1)  Are there aspects of the codecision procedure which make it particularly difficult to achieve effective parliamentary scrutiny?

      (a)  What effects have "first reading deals" and "early second reading deals" had on the ability of national parliaments to conduct effective scrutiny?

      (b)  Does the confidential nature of some negotiating documents hinder national parliamentary scrutiny of codecision legislation? If so, how can this problem be resolved?

    (2)  Are there any examples of legislative proposals negotiated under codecision which have been particularly difficult or complex to scrutinise effectively in national parliaments?

Governments and the EU Institutions

    (3)  What role is there for governments and the EU's Institutions in ensuring that national parliaments can conduct effective scrutiny of proposals negotiated under codecision? What information should be provided, when and by whom? Is this role being performed satisfactorily?

    (4)  What role is there for parliaments to address the results of their scrutiny to those beyond their own government: for example, the European Parliament, Commission or other national parliaments?

Scrutiny procedures in parliaments

    (5)  How effective are the scrutiny procedures in national parliaments (or your own parliament) at ensuring effective scrutiny of proposals subject to codecision? Which particular aspects of the parliamentary scrutiny procedure are key to effective scrutiny?

    (6)  At which points in the codecision procedure should parliaments seek to scrutinise the proposals? Should they maintain oversight throughout the negotiations or should they scrutinise only the initial legislative proposal from the Commission?

    (7)  You need not address all these questions, and you may wish to draw the Committee's attention to other issues.

17 March 2009

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