Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lisbon Treaty implementation (European Parliament: Leinen report)

The governments of the member states and therefore the EU Council are responsible for the Treaty of Lisbon and for preparing implementation. The Commission would have to present new proposals and practical measures. But the European Parliament seems to be the only institution actually doing anything ─ and in the open.

Monday evening 9 March 2009, the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) is holding an extraordinary meeting to vote on three reports with some bearing on Lisbon Treaty implementation issues.

The draft reports are known by the names of the rapporteurs: Jo Leinen, Elmar Brok and Jean-Luc Dehaene.

We start by taking a look at the Leinen report.


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European Parliament’s implementing role

Drafted by Jo Leinen the draft Report on Parliament's new role and responsibilities in implementing the Treaty of Lisbon was dated already 13 June 2008.

The procedure of this own-initiative report can be tracked under 2008/2063(INI), and it is available at:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-407.780+02+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN


The Report reiterates EP positions on main novelties of the Treaty of Lisbon (points 1 to 12) and discusses new legal bases (points 13 to 26).

The Report then presents the European Parliament’s views on new co-decision powers (points 27 to 38), new budgetary powers (points 39 to 41), the new consent procedure (points 42 to 45), new powers of scrutiny (points 46 to 53), new rights to be informed (points 54 to 57) and new rights of initiative (points 58 to 60).

The Leinen Report goes on to discuss new procedures: scrutiny by national parliaments (points 61 to 63), delegated acts (points 64 to 66) and implementing acts (points 67 to 70), as well as priorities for the transition period (points 71 to 73).


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Proposals

Even if the preceding points include a number of requests by the European Parliament to the Council and the Commission, the bulk of the EP’s active suggestions begin under the heading Proposals.

The EP proposes both a new interinstitutional agreement on a work programme for the Commission and EP term beginning in 2009 and on the implementing measures concerning the Lisbon Treaty. In addition, the EP proposes an overhaul of the existing main interinstitutional agreements (points 74 to 78).

The report calls on the Commission to present an initiative on the citizens’ initiative and to adopt regulations on good administration as well as a number of other proposals and measures based on the Lisbon Treaty (points 79 to 89).

Further the Report calls for urgent re-appraisal of the EU’s status in international organisations as well as a number of other measures concerning future policies (points 90 to 97).


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Comment

On 14 pages the Leinen Report manages to remind the reader of many of the institutional reforms of the Lisbon Treaty and to present a summary of the expectations of the European Parliament ahead of possible entry into force.

The listing of new EP powers and thus increased EU legitimacy is impressive, but the Report has been drafted within the framework of the amending Lisbon Treaty. Therefore, the remaining weaknesses of the directly elected European Parliament and EU level representative democracy appear indirectly rather than directly.

Hopefully the European Parliament can inject some energy into the member states and the Council Presidencies, as well as the Commission.


Ralf Grahn