National parliaments should have more EU powers: British lawmakers

LONDON Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:15pm EDT

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - National parliaments should have a greater role in European Union decision making, a committee of British lawmakers said on Monday, including working together to propose new legislation or changes to existing European law.

Under pressure from eurosceptics in his Conservative party as well as the UK Independence Party, British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to reshape Britain's ties with the EU, then to give Britons a vote on whether to leave the 28-nation bloc, if he wins a national election next year.

National parliaments being able to work together to block unwanted European legislation was among areas of planned reform he set out earlier this month.

Monday's report by the House of Lords EU Committee -a group is drawn from Britain's upper house that aims to influence the government's position on Europe and hold it to account for its actions - proposes a 'green card' procedure to enable national parliaments to work closer together to propose laws.

The EU currently has a 'yellow card' system which gives national parliaments an opportunity to object to legislative proposals. If at least a third of EU national parliaments submit such objections, a 'yellow card' is triggered and the EU has to review its proposal.

"There should be a way for a group of like-minded national parliaments to make constructive suggestions for EU policy initiatives which may include reviewing existing legislation, complementing the existing 'yellow card' with a 'green card'," the report said.

The committee of lawmakers also suggested the 'yellow card' system should be strengthened, including extending the deadline for raising concerns to 12 or 16 weeks from eight weeks, and requiring the EU to withdraw or substantially amend any legislation which is objected to.

"National parliaments have a vital role to play in ensuring EU institutions are accountable to the public they serve," said Timothy Boswell, chairman of the committee.

"That role can be developed without treaty change and the first step is for national parliaments to get better at working together and engaging actively with the European Commission early in the legislative process."

The committee also said that probable closer euro zone integration and central EU control over domestic economic policy following the European financial crisis made it vital national parliaments are given more control over future developments.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Larry King)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
Kahnie wrote:
Sounds like the Confederate States, especially South Carolina in the Jackson years and Mississippi after WWII (Interposition). What is the EU if not creating a nation of Europe with a Constitution, not the Articles of Confederation. We’ve been there and done that.

Mar 23, 2014 10:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
newshounduk1 wrote:
The problem for voters is that, in order to get the referendum, they have to re-elect the Conservatives, who, once in power, may not have the ability to change EU arrangements to the UK public’s advantage or worse may opt to stay in in spite of a vote in favour of leaving.

The problem for the Conservatives is that for UK voters who do want to leave the EU the only option now is to vote for UKIP.

It’s a pity that David Cameron did not do his referendum when he first came into power because a vote in favour of leaving would have given him greater leverage in discussions concerning EU reform.

His failure to do so just means that more UK money which could have been used to develop our infrastructure and economy is wasted on the EU, which wastes money and does not account for it properly.

The next few elections in the UK are going to be very interesting.

Mar 24, 2014 3:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.