MEPs back Conservatives' call for greater role for national parliaments to end EU democratic deficit

13-Oct-2015 @ 14:15

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Conservative Legal Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim, has used his annual report on subsidiarity to push for a greater role for national parliaments in the EU's law-making process.

Subsidiarity is a key principle of EU law-making and aims to ensure that decisions are taken at the correct level, whether European, national or local.

National parliaments currently have eight weeks to scrutinise legislative proposals, although Mr Karim's report, overwhelmingly approved by MEPs on the Legal Affairs Committee, says this should be extended in certain circumstances, such as when parliamentary recesses or natural disasters intervene.

The report also explicitly recognises that several national parliaments have spoken favourably of a "green card" procedure, giving them the opportunity to suggest proposals for new legislation.

MEPs also backed Mr Karim's demand for a "subsidiarity check" to be carried out at the end of the legislative process, in addition to the check which takes place at the start of the process.

Mr Karim said: "Subsidiarity and proportionality are fundamental guiding principles of the EU, which should be assessed at the very beginning of the legislative process. It is vital that there is a thorough assessment of whether action at EU level is more appropriate than national or regional level initiatives.

"This report goes some way in doing so, by delivering Prime Minister David Cameron's reform agenda, ensuring national parliaments have a much greater say in the workings of the European Union.

The North West MEP added: "Several parliaments have expressed their interest in a green card mechanism, which would aim to enhance political dialogue with national parliaments and it would give them the opportunity to suggest constructive proposals for the Commission's consideration.

"I think it's important that we encourage national parliaments to contribute to legislation at an earlier stage in the process. This will help to enhance political dialogue and reduce the democratic deficit. When objections or concerns are raised by national parliaments or national experts, these should be thoroughly evaluated and not disregarded."

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