Blog post 226

EU’s multi-level system: Strengthening parliamentary voices

Two scrutiny relationships in the EU’s multi-level system are particularly complex: National parliaments are monitoring the activities of the European Commission, and the European Parliament has started to act as a public forum that does not hesitate to pick a fight against any individual national government. In both cases, parliamentary voices can articulate their ideas, concerns and general views. Taking the European Parliament’s Rangel report and recent interparliamentary developments as a starting point, this Policy Paper puts forward six recommendations to enhance the ways in which parliamentary voices are heard in the EU’s multi-level system.

Although citizens’ trust in political institutions and the European Union as a whole has recovered slightly, better parliamentary scrutiny can reduce the perceived democratic deficit of the EU’s multi-level system. This Policy Paper, written by Valentin Kreilinger, research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, is guided by the principles of building upon current practices and avoiding Treaty change. It recommends to

  1. refrain from assigning any collective decision-making or veto powers to national parliaments,
  2. acknowledge the diversity of political views within parliamentary chambers at the national and the European level,
  3. put a green card procedure for suggesting legislative initiatives to the European Commission into practice,
  4. extend the eight-week standstill period in the Early Warning Mechanism through a technical gimmick,
  5. manage the European Parliament’s plenary debate invitations to national leaders free from party-political considerations
  6. and create the foundations for lively and visible plenary debates with national leaders in the European Parliament.