According to the Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, the limits of EU competences are governed by the principle of conferral. The use of EU competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
Two protocols are relevant for the national parliaments:
• Protocol (No 1) on the role of national parliaments in the European Union; and
• Protocol (No 2) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
According to Article 12 TEU, national parliaments contribute actively to the good functioning of the union (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115):
Article 12 TEU
National Parliaments contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union:
(a) through being informed by the institutions of the Union and having draft legislative acts of the Union forwarded to them in accordance with the Protocol on the role of national Parliaments in the European Union;
(b) by seeing to it that the principle of subsidiarity is respected in accordance with the procedures provided for in the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;
(c) by taking part, within the framework of the area of freedom, security and justice, in the evaluation mechanisms for the implementation of the Union policies in that area, in accordance with Article 70 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and through being involved in the political monitoring of Europol and the evaluation of Eurojust's activities in accordance with Articles 88 and 85 of that Treaty;
(d) by taking part in the revision procedures of the Treaties, in accordance with Article 48 of this Treaty;
(e) by being notified of applications for accession to the Union, in accordance with Article 49 of this Treaty;
(f) by taking part in the inter-parliamentary cooperation between national Parliaments and with the European Parliament, in accordance with the Protocol on the role of national Parliaments in the European Union.
Preparation for the Lisbon Treaty
The national parliaments in 26 EU member states have approved the Treaty of Lisbon. Politically Ireland has secured that every member state keeps a member of the Commission, if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, as well as assurances on sensitive issues.
On the basis of this “better deal”, the Irish government will propose a new referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, when the details of the guarantees have been finalised at the European Council 18 to 19 June 2009.
This blog has called for the EU institutions to prepare the needed acts and decisions for the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in an open, transparent and interactive manner. Only the European Parliament has acted openly, while the Council and the Commission have either failed to carry on preparatory work or they have kept EU citizens in the dark.
But the possible entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty has implications for national parliaments, as well.
If the Irish vote Yes in the second referendum and the other loose ends are tied up (formal ratification by the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany), the reform treaty enters into force quickly, at the beginning of the month following the deposition of the last ratification instrument. (In addition, approval or rejection in the Åland Islands affects the geographical scope of the reform treaty.)
At the national level, too, the needed preparatory measures have to be prepared in advance.
The Riksdag Board of the Swedish Parliament (riksdagsstyrelsen) has produced a legislative proposal on the application of the Treaty of Lisbon in the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag): Tillämpningen av Lissabonfördraget i riksdagen 2008/09:URF2.
All the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty are studied, including the anticipated increase in the work-load of the Parliament, and the 124 page study contains proposed amendments to the Riksdag Act (riksdagsordningen).
Without going into details here, the proposals are interesting for national parliaments in other EU member states and for researchers.