Procedure : 2017/2010(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0141/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0141/2018

Debates :

PV 17/04/2018 - 23

Votes :

PV 18/04/2018 - 12.15
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0120

REPORT     
PDF 379kWORD 66k
9.4.2018
PE 612.381v02-00 A8-0141/2018

on the Annual Reports 2015-2016 on subsidiarity and proportionality

(2017/2010(INI))

Committee on Legal Affairs

Rapporteur: Mady Delvaux

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Annual Reports 2015-2016 on subsidiarity and proportionality

(2017/2010(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 1 on the role of National Parliaments in the European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2003 on better law-making, and to the most recent version, the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on better law-making,

–  having regard to the practical arrangements agreed on 22 July 2011 between the competent services of the European Parliament and the Council for the implementation of Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in the event of agreements at first reading,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 May 2017 on the Annual report 2014 on subsidiarity and proportionality(1) and to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on the Annual reports 2012-2013 on subsidiarity and proportionality(2),

–  having regard to the Commission’s annual report 2015 on subsidiarity and proportionality (COM(2016)0469), and to the Commission’s annual report 2016 on subsidiarity and proportionality (COM(2017)0600),

–  having regard to the Commission’s annual report 2015 on relations between the European Commission and national Parliaments (COM(2016)0471) and to the Commission’s annual report 2016 on relations between the European Commission and national Parliaments (COM(2017)0601),

  having regard to all previous Commission communications on the need for better regulation in order to achieve better results for the benefit of EU citizens,

–  having regard to the decision of the President of the European Commission of 14 November 2017 on the establishment of a Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’ (C(2017)7810),

–  having regard to the bi-annual reports of COSAC on Developments in European Union Procedures and Practices Relevant to Parliamentary Scrutiny, of 19 June 2014, 14 November 2014, 6 May 2015, and 4 November 2015, 18 May 2016, 18 October 2016 and 3 May 2017,

–  having regard to the Cooperation Agreement signed on 5 February 2014 between the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the Committee of the Regions’ Subsidiarity Annual Report 2015,

–  having regard to Rules 52 and 132 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and to the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0141/2018),

A.  whereas 2015 and 2016 were the two first full years of the Juncker Commission, which took office in November 2014; whereas President Juncker undertook to place subsidiarity at the heart of the European democratic process and ensure full compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality throughout the legislative process;

B.  whereas the new Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016(3), includes an undertaking by the three institutions to respect and implement the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

C.  whereas in 2015 the Commission received eight reasoned opinions addressing three Commission proposals; whereas the total number of submissions received that year by the Commission was 350;

D.  whereas in 2016 the Commission received 65 reasoned opinions addressing 26 Commission proposals; whereas this constitutes 713 % more than the eight reasoned opinions received in 2015, and is the third highest in a calendar year since the subsidiarity control mechanism was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 (after 84 in 2012 and 70 in 2013); whereas the total number of submissions received that year by the Commission increased significantly to a total of 620;

E.  whereas on 19 May 2015 the Commission adopted a package of better regulation measures with new integrated Better Regulation Guidelines, including updated guidance for assessing subsidiarity and proportionality in the context of impact assessment of new initiatives;

F.  whereas, in 2015, the Commission launched the ‘Lighten the load – Have your say’ website(4), as well as the REFIT platform (for effective and efficient regulation), giving stakeholders additional opportunities to notify the Commission of any shortcomings regarding existing regulatory measures, including matters relating to subsidiarity and/or proportionality;

G.  whereas in 2015 the European Parliamentary Research Service produced 13 initial appraisals, one impact assessment of substantive parliamentary amendments and six ex post impact assessments; whereas it also produced four reports on the cost of non-Europe and two European added value assessments; whereas in 2016 the European Parliamentary Research Service produced 36 initial appraisals, one impact assessment of substantive parliamentary amendments and 14 ex post European impact assessments; whereas it also produced seven reports on the cost of non-Europe and five European added value assessments;

H.  whereas delegated powers in the Union’s legislative acts are conferred where flexibility and efficiency are needed and cannot be delivered by means of the ordinary legislative procedure; whereas the adoption of rules essential to the subject envisaged is reserved to the legislators;

I.  whereas subsidiarity and proportionality are key considerations in the context of impact assessments and retrospective evaluations, which assess whether actions at EU level are necessary, whether their objectives can be achieved more effectively by other means and whether they are actually delivering the expected results in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, coherence, relevance and EU added value;

J.  whereas in 2014, three national chambers (the Danish Folketing, the Netherlands Tweede Kamer and the UK House of Lords) issued reports with detailed proposals on how the role of national parliaments could be strengthened in the decision‑making process;

1.  Recalls the importance of the annual reports on subsidiarity and proportionality prepared by the Commission; observes that the Commission’s annual reports 2015 and 2016 are more detailed and exhaustive than those concerning previous years;

2.  Stresses the importance of the European Union only acting where it can add value in order to reduce the ‘democratic deficit’;

3.  Underlines that subsidiarity and proportionality are fundamental principles that the EU institutions should take into consideration when exercising EU competences in order to ensure that the Union’s actions add value; recalls that these principles are aimed at enhancing the functioning of the Union by ensuring that actions at Union level are necessary, that their objectives cannot be adequately achieved by the Member States acting individually, that their nature and substance do not exceed what is necessary to fulfil the objectives of the Treaties, and that they are always taken at the most appropriate level of government; draws attention to the fact that these principles can be misused to serve anti-EU ends and emphasises that the EU institutions should be vigilant in order to avoid and counteract this risk;

4.  Recalls that subsidiarity is a fundamental principle of federations as well as an indeterminate legal concept, which, consequently, should be subject to political interpretation;

5.  Understands that the principle of subsidiarity cannot be used to interpret the powers assigned to the Union by virtue of the Treaties restrictively;

6.  Considers that any reflection on subsidiarity and the control thereof should take place in the context of the growing calls by citizens for the Union to tackle major global challenges such as, inter alia, intercontinental financial flows, security, migration and climate change;

7.  Welcomes the reference to subsidiarity in the Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017; takes the view that subsidiarity should have a prominent place in reflection on the EU’s future;

8.  Notes the initiative announced by the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during his State of the Union Address 2017 to create a Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing less more efficiently’ headed by Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans; recalls that Parliament considered that participation in the task force set up by the Commission would disregard Parliament’s institutional role and standing as the only directly elected Institution of the European Union, representing the citizens at Union level and exercising functions of political scrutiny over the Commission, and that, consequently, it decided to decline the invitation to participate in the task force;

9.  Notes the Commission’s methodology in the 2015 and 2016 Annual reports, within which statistics are used to classify reasoned opinions submitted by national parliaments on a package of proposals as one single reasoned opinion, rather than a reasoned opinion on each of the individual proposals;

10.  Appreciates that the number of reasoned opinions (65) submitted by national parliaments in 2016 is the third highest in a calendar year since the introduction of the subsidiarity control mechanism in the Lisbon Treaty; notes the sharp increase (+713 %), with respect to the eight reasoned opinions received in 2015; acknowledges, in addition, the significant increase, from 350 to 620, in the number of opinions received by the Commission within the framework of the political dialogue; underlines that these trends emerged against the backdrop of a decrease in legislative activity, which also demonstrates that national parliaments’ participation has evolved in comparison with previous years; welcomes the marked interest in EU decision-making expressed by national parliaments;

11.  Welcomes the fact that more national chambers have issued reasoned opinions (26 out of 41 in 2016, compared with eight in 2015); notes the marked difference between chambers active within the framework of political dialogue and reasoned opinions; underlines that national parliaments continue to have more interest in influencing the content of EU legislation than in identifying cases in which subsidiarity may be an issue; notes that the power of national parliaments to monitor respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality also encompasses a right to ask the European legislator to act at European level if necessary;

12.  Recognises the work done by the Impact Assessment Board (IAB) and its successor as of July 2015 the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB); notes that the IAB and the RSB considered that 23 % of the impact assessments (IAs) reviewed by them in 2015 needed improvements on either subsidiarity or proportionality, or both; observes that in 2016 the percentage of IAs considered unsatisfactory by the RSB was of 15 %; welcomes the fact that these percentages have decreased compared with previous years; underlines that the Commission reviewed all of the IAs concerned taking into account the analyses from the RSB;

13.  Notes that the implementation of the better law‑making agenda has led the Commission to develop stronger internal instruments and procedures aimed at avoiding infringements of the principle of subsidiarity; underlines that impact assessments are a key instrument to ensure respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and to promote accountability; highlights, in particular, the role of the RSB and welcomes the fact that subsidiarity and proportionality are now part of the quality check that the Board performs; stresses, nonetheless, that the independence of the RSB could be enhanced further;

14.  Welcomes the adoption by the Commission in May 2015 of a new Better Regulation package to ensure that EU legislation serves the public interest more effectively and guarantees respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality in a more comprehensive manner, which in turn will contribute to a higher degree of transparency in EU decision‑making; considers that the new Better Regulation framework should be a tool for the European Union to act in full compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; stresses, notwithstanding the above, that, while it should provide for tests assessing compliance with these principles to ensure that the Union only acts where it adds value, it should not give rise to unnecessary delays in the adoption of the relevant legislation;

15.  Welcomes the publication by the Commission, on 24 October 2017, of its communication entitled ‘Completing the Better Regulation Agenda: Better solutions for better results’, in which it sets out its efforts to increase the transparency, legitimacy and accountability of its work on better law-making, in particular as regards the consultation process and the possibilities for stakeholders to provide feedback on its proposals;

16.  Welcomes the introduction by the Commission, in 2015, of new consultation and feedback mechanisms for new policy initiatives;

17.  Underlines the importance of adequately explaining the need for legislative initiatives and their impact on all important sectors (economic, environmental, and social) with the aim of respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

18.  Supports the Commission’s commitment to ‘evaluate first’ before considering potential legislative changes; considers, in this respect, that the European Union and the authorities of the Member States should work closely together to ensure better monitoring, measurement and evaluation of the actual impact of EU regulation on citizens, the economy, social structure and environment;

19.  Welcomes the signature by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in 2016 of a new Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making; recalls that the Commission is committed to explaining in its explanatory memoranda how its proposals are justified in the light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; welcomes the fact that, through the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, the Commission has committed itself to making the impact assessments of its legislative and non-legislative proposals available to national parliaments; recalls that this agreement also emphasised the need for more transparency in the legislative procedure and that the information provided to national parliaments must allow them to exercise fully their prerogatives under the Treaties;

20.  Invites national parliaments to clearly indicate from the outset that their submission is a reasoned opinion under Protocol (No 2) to the Treaties and the legislative proposal(s) it refers to, to clearly state the reasons for which it considers that the proposal breaches the subsidiarity principle, to include a brief summary of the argumentation, and to respect the eight-week time limit from the date of transmission of the relevant draft legislative act; notes that this will facilitate a timely and adequate treatment of reasoned opinions by all the institutions involved;

21.  Is of the opinion that, since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the involvement of national parliaments in EU legislative procedures has developed significantly, through contacts with other national parliaments; encourages national parliaments to continue and further reinforce inter-parliamentary contacts, also on a bilateral basis, as a means of enhancing cooperation between Member States, and to do so with a democratic European vision, where the Union can add value, and in a spirit of solidarity, based on the rule of law and fundamental rights; underlines that these contacts can facilitate an exchange of best practices concerning the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

22.  Welcomes the fact that Parliament increasingly and more regularly plays the role of interlocutor with and intermediary between the national parliaments with regard to the subsidiarity and proportionality mechanisms; considers that enhancing dialogue at political level with national parliaments could be a means to rationalise subsidiarity and proportionality checks by better addressing the substance of legislative proposals;

23.  Draws attention to the fact that in 2016 14 chambers of 11 national parliaments submitted reasoned opinions on the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 96/71/EC of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services(5), thus reaching the threshold of one third of the votes required by Article 7(2) of Protocol (No 2) to the Treaties to trigger the so-called ‘yellow card’ procedure; recalls that the arguments put forward by the national parliaments were widely debated in Parliament with the Commission; notes that the Commission engaged with national parliaments within the framework of COSAC; notes that the Commission issued a communication in which it gave extensive reasons for maintaining the proposal(6); considers that, in spite of the concerns raised by some national parliaments, the Commission, with the arguments set out therein, complied with its obligation to give reasons for its decision;

24.  Notes that, in relation to the above-mentioned Commission proposal, seven national chambers sent opinions in the framework of the political dialogue, which mainly considered the proposal as compatible with the principle of subsidiarity; observes that the Committee of the Regions’ Subsidiarity Expert Group considered that the objective of the proposal could be better achieved at EU level;

25.  Recalls that the ‘yellow card’ procedure has been triggered twice in the past (once in 2012 and once in 2013), which, together with this new ‘yellow card’ procedure, proves that the system functions and that national parliaments can easily and in a timely fashion participate in the subsidiarity debate when they wish to do so; considers, in any case, that increased awareness of the role of national parliaments and better cooperation between them could improve ex ante subsidiarity monitoring;

26.  Recalls that, according to Article 7 of Protocol (No 2) to the Treaties, the European institutions should take account of the reasoned opinions issued by national parliaments or by a chamber of a national parliament; notes that some national parliaments have in the past expressed disappointment at the responses given by the Commission in instances where ‘yellow cards’ have been issued; observes, however, that the Commission has put in place procedures to ensure that it provides national parliaments with substantive and political responses to their concerns in a timely manner; calls on the Commission to systematically forward its replies to reasoned opinions to the European Parliament;

27.  Takes note of the changes proposed by some national parliaments to the subsidiarity control mechanism; welcomes the conclusion reached by COSAC that any improvement to the subsidiarity control mechanism should not entail Treaty change; notes that an extension of the eight-week time limit in which national parliaments can issue a reasoned opinion would require an amendment of the Treaties or the Protocols thereto; recalls the context of the letter of 1 December 2009 on the practical arrangements for applying the subsidiarity control mechanism sent by the President and Vice-President of the Commission to the Presidents of the national parliaments, in which the Commission stated that, in order to take account of national parliaments’ summer recesses, the month of August would not be taken into account when determining the deadline referred to in Protocol No 2; recalls the suggestion made by some national parliaments to the effect that the Commission should also consider the possibility of excluding the December recess of national parliaments from the calculation of the eight‑week deadline;

28.  Stresses that the adoption of legal acts requires the agreement of a large majority within the Council, comprising the national Ministers of all the Member States, who should be accountable to their national parliaments;

29.  Notes that a number of tools enabling national parliaments and citizens to participate in every step of the legislative process, which ensure monitoring of respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, already exist; encourages, therefore, that full use of these existing tools be made, avoiding – where possible – the creation of even more complex administrative structures and lengthy procedures in times when the EU is struggling to make itself understood by its citizens, always with the aim of respecting and protecting their rights and interests; calls on the Member States to organise information campaigns and relevant seminars, to accurately inform citizens about the possibilities for them to participate in every stage of the legislative process;

30.  Highlights that legislation should be comprehensive and clear to allow affected parties to understand their rights and obligations, including appropriate reporting, monitoring and evaluating requirements, while avoiding disproportionate costs, as well as being practical to implement;

31.  Stresses the importance of promoting access to the impact assessments and roadmaps prepared by the Commission, of participating in public and/or stakeholder consultations organised by the Commission and/or the European Parliament, and of making suggestions through the REFIT platform ‘Lighten the load: Suggestions’; notes, in this context, the smooth functioning of the website and of the effective and efficient regulation programme (REFIT), which came into effect in 2016;

32.  Recalls the need to enhance existing formats for cooperation and establish options to improve the IPEX platform in order to foster awareness by national parliaments of their role in subsidiarity and proportionality checks, to assist them in dealing more efficiently with the information received under the early warning system and improve their cooperation and coordination; encourages national parliaments to give opinions on Commission proposals, all of which are available for consultation at any time on the internal database CONNECT; recalls that all of the information is available on the platform REGPEX;

33.  Encourages national and regional parliaments to develop further their relations with the Committee of Regions, which has a group of 12 experts who examine legislative proposals in light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

34.  Welcomes the interest shown by some national parliaments in playing a more positive and proactive role in European affairs through the use of a ‘green card’ procedure; observes that national parliaments have different views on the modalities of this procedure; considers that an informal mechanism based on inter-parliamentary cooperation can contribute to enhancing the political dialogue with national parliaments;

35.  Notes, in relation to the above, that in 2015 20 parliamentary chambers co-signed or supported the first ‘green card’ initiative on food waste, and that in July 2016 nine parliamentary chambers co-signed the second ‘green card’ inviting the Commission to submit a legislative proposal implementing corporate social responsibility principles at European level; observes that some of the suggestions in the first ‘green card’ initiative were subsequently reflected in the revised Circular Economy package adopted by the Commission in December 2015; observes, therefore, that national parliaments already play a constructive role in the institutional framework and that there is no need, at this point in time, to create new institutional and administrative structures, which would make the whole process unnecessarily complicated;

36.  Observes that in 2016 some regional parliaments informed the Commission directly of their opinions on certain Commission proposals; notes that the Commission has taken these views into account where appropriate; recalls that, according to Article 6 of Protocol (No 2), it is up to each national parliament or each chamber of a national parliament to consult, where appropriate, regional parliaments with legislative powers;

37.  Takes note of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union on subsidiarity and proportionality delivered in 2015 and 2016; emphasises that the Court has stated that the observance by the EU legislature of the obligation to state reasons as regards subsidiarity should be evaluated not only by reference to the wording of the contested act, but also by reference to its context and the circumstances of the individual case, and that the information provided should be sufficient and understandable by national parliaments, citizens and courts; emphasises, furthermore, that, in relation to proportionality, the Court has confirmed that the EU legislature must be allowed broad discretion in areas entailing political, economic and social choices, and in which it is called upon to undertake complex assessments;

38.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0210.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0103.

(3)

OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.

(4)

http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/refit/simplification/consultation/contributions_en.htm

(5)

COM(2016)0128.

(6)

Commission communication of 20 July 2016 on the proposal for a Directive amending the Posting of Workers Directive, with regard to the principle of subsidiarity, in accordance with Protocol No 2 (COM(2016)0505).


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

This report on subsidiarity and proportionality aims to analyse the application of these principles by the European institutions and their partners with a view to meeting the expectations of citizens and their national institutions It is one of the reports drawn up every year by the Committee on Legal Affairs. Given the accumulated backlog in adopting these reports since the start of the legislature, it was decided to merge the analysis for 2015 and 2016.

The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are fundamental principles inherent to the efficient running of the Union. The Lisbon Treaty gave these principles a position of prominence, enshrining them in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union.

The principle of subsidiarity is a rule governing the allocation of powers between the Union and its Member States. Outside the areas of exclusive competence, the EU may only take action where it is able to act more effectively than the Member States at their respective national or local levels. The principle of proportionality requires that the means used by the EU to achieve the objectives laid down in the Treaties may not go beyond what is necessary.

These principles ensure an efficient European legislative process while respecting national sovereignty. It is our duty to make sure that the application of these principles maintains that balance. However, for a number of years Eurosceptic politicians have been distorting these principles to use them as a weapon to use against European integration. This report emphasises that these principles are used to support the functioning of the European Union, and are not an obstacle to its effectiveness.

In the light of the Commission’s reports for 2015 and 2016, the COSAC conclusions, the work of the Committee of the Regions and the opinions and proposals of the national parliaments, it appears that all parties are making an effort to work in synergy. This report welcomes this growing interest in EU politics from various stakeholders.

In particular, it finds that, since 2014, the new tools introduced inter alia under the REFIT programme have made it possible for national parliaments to be more involved in the legislative process. It stresses that the Commission is continuing to implement its enhanced programme of better regulation and, unlike in the previous annual report for 2014, the effects of are now being seen.

Given all the existing mechanisms allowing citizens, stakeholders and national parliaments to interact in the various stages of the European legislative process, the report does not recommend creating new mechanisms. There is little to be gained from complicating the existing system; indeed, the current legislature is seeking to simplify it. On the other hand, the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality would be well served by the provision of full information about and use of the mechanisms already available.


OPINION of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (28.2.2018)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on the Annual Reports 2015-2016 on subsidiarity and proportionality

(2017/2010(INI))

Rapporteur: Cristian Dan Preda

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Appreciates that the number of reasoned opinions (65) submitted by national parliaments in 2016 is the third highest in a calendar year since the introduction of the subsidiarity control mechanism in the Lisbon Treaty; notes the sharp increase (+713 %), with respect to the eight reasoned opinions received in 2015; acknowledges, in addition, the significant increase, from 350 to 620, in the number of opinions received by the Commission within the framework of the political dialogue; underlines that these trends emerged against the backdrop of a decrease in legislative activity, which also demonstrates that national parliaments’ participation has evolved in comparison with previous years; welcomes the marked interest in EU decision-making expressed by national parliaments;

2.  Recalls that subsidiarity is a fundamental principle of federations as well as an indeterminate legal concept, which, consequently, should be subject to political interpretation;

3.  Understands that the principle of subsidiarity cannot be used to interpret the powers assigned to the Union by virtue of the Treaties restrictively;

4.  Considers that any reflection on subsidiarity and the control thereof should take place in the context of the growing calls by citizens for the Union to tackle major global challenges such as, inter alia, intercontinental financial flows, security, migration and climate change;

5.  Notes that in 2016, the third (and first under the mandate of the current Commission) ‘yellow card’ procedure was triggered in relation to the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (Directive 96/71/EC); stresses that increased awareness of the roles of national parliaments and better cooperation between them could strengthen ex ante subsidiarity monitoring;

6.  Welcomes the fact that more national chambers have issued reasoned opinions (26 out of 41 in 2016, compared with eight in 2015); notes the marked difference between chambers active within the framework of political dialogue and reasoned opinions; underlines that national parliaments continue to have more interest in influencing the content of EU legislation than in identifying cases in which subsidiarity may be an issue; notes that the power of national parliaments to monitor respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality also encompasses a right to ask the European legislator to act at European level if necessary;

7.  Welcomes the fact that Parliament increasingly and more regularly plays the role of interlocutor with and intermediary between the national parliaments with regard to the subsidiarity and proportionality mechanisms; considers that enhancing dialogue at political level with national parliaments could be a means to rationalise subsidiarity and proportionality checks by better addressing the substance of legislative proposals;

8.  Recalls the need to enhance existing formats for cooperation and establish options to improve the IPEX platform in order to foster awareness by national parliaments of their role in subsidiarity and proportionality checks, to assist them in dealing more efficiently with the information received under the early warning system and improve their cooperation and coordination;

9.  Commends the placing of subsidiarity and proportionality at the heart of EU decision-making, as evidenced by the Commission’s political priorities and the adoption of the Better Regulation Package; welcomes the adoption of this package which will ensure that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are applied in a more integrated and comprehensive manner, which in turn will contribute to a higher degree of transparency in EU decision-making; welcomes the fact that, through the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation, the Commission has committed itself to making the impact assessments of its legislative and non-legislative proposals available to national parliaments; recalls that this agreement also emphasised the need for more transparency in the legislative procedure and that the information provided to national parliaments must allow them to exercise fully their prerogatives under the treaties; calls on the Commission to improve the quality of its explanatory statement memoranda on subsidiarity and its level of engagement with reasoned opinions;

10.  Notes that the implementation of the better law‑making agenda has led the Commission to develop stronger internal instruments and procedures aimed at avoiding infringements of the principle of subsidiarity; underlines that impact assessments are a key instrument in ensuring respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and in promoting accountability; urges the Commission to put a greater focus on subsidiarity and proportionality when conducting its impact assessments in the framework of the better regulation guidelines; highlights, in particular, the role of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB) and welcomes the fact that subsidiarity and proportionality are now part of the quality check that the Board performs; stresses, nonetheless, that the independence of the RSB could be enhanced further;

11.  Reiterates the need, in order to allow national parliaments to participate more thoroughly in the EU law-making process, to enhance the flexibility of the early warning system, notably of the eight-week period for submitting reasoned opinions, within the limits of the EU Treaties, and to consider its formal extension, should the Treaties be amended; stresses the need also to continue reflecting on the introduction of a mechanism, in line with the proposals contained in the report on the implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning national parliaments, on the basis of which reasoned opinions could be submitted to the Commission with the aim of positively influencing EU policies; believes that this could represent a positive and constructive instrument for increasing the involvement of national parliaments in the EU legislative process;

12.  Expresses disappointment at some of the Commission’s responses to national parliaments in instances where yellow cards have been issued; believes that it is necessary for the Commission to respond comprehensively to any concerns raised by national parliaments; underlines the importance of providing adequate explanations of the need for legislative initiatives and their impact, in particular on the economy, the environment and society, respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

13.  Notes the creation of the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’; takes into account that the Task Force will take a critical look at all policy areas to make sure the EU only acts in cases where its action brings added value; invites the Commission to set out in greater detail the powers and modus operandi envisaged; looks forward to the report of the Task Force, foreseen for 15 July 2018, which should make recommendations on how the European Union could take better account of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, both with regard to the attribution and the exercise of its powers, as well as to identifying ways to better involve regional and local authorities in EU policy making; considers that this initiative can contribute to identifying the situations in which a particular action can be adequately and more effectively achieved by the Union, Member States and regional authorities; expresses its hope that the proposals put forward in this framework will be swiftly implemented by the Commission;

14.  Encourages national parliaments to give opinions on Commission proposals, all of which are available for consultation at any time in the internal database CONNECT; urges national and regional parliaments to develop further their relations with the Committee of the Regions, which has a group of experts who examine legislative proposals in light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; considers that an informal mechanism based on interparliamentary cooperation can contribute to enhancing the political dialogue with national parliaments;

15.  Stresses that the adoption of legal acts requires the agreement of a large majority within the Council, comprising the national ministers of all the Member States, who should be accountable to their national parliaments;

16.  Welcomes the reference to subsidiarity in the Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017; takes the view that subsidiarity should have a prominent place in reflection on the EU’s future.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

26.2.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Mercedes Bresso, Richard Corbett, Pascal Durand, Danuta Maria Hübner, Diane James, Ramón Jáuregui Atondo, Morten Messerschmidt, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Pedro Silva Pereira, Barbara Spinelli, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

Substitutes present for the final vote

Max Andersson, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Mairead McGuinness, Cristian Dan Preda, Jasenko Selimovic

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Eleonora Evi, Seán Kelly, Jeroen Lenaers, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

21

+

ALDE

Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jasenko Selimovic

ECR

Morten Messerschmidt, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

EFDD

Eleonora Evi

GUE/NGL

Barbara Spinelli

PPE

Danuta Maria Hübner, Seán Kelly, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Jeroen Lenaers, Mairead McGuinness, Cristian Dan Preda, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso

S&D

Mercedes Bresso, Richard Corbett, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Ramón Jáuregui Atondo, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Pedro Silva Pereira

VERTS/ALE

Max Andersson, Pascal Durand

1

-

NI

Diane James

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

27.3.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

0

3

Members present for the final vote

Max Andersson, Joëlle Bergeron, Marie-Christine Boutonnet, Kostas Chrysogonos, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Enrico Gasbarra, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, António Marinho e Pinto, Emil Radev, Julia Reda, Evelyn Regner, Pavel Svoboda, József Szájer, Axel Voss, Francis Zammit Dimech, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Luis de Grandes Pascual, Pascal Durand, Angel Dzhambazki, Evelyne Gebhardt, Angelika Niebler, Virginie Rozière, Rainer Wieland

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Mylène Troszczynski


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

19

+

ALDE

António Marinho e Pinto

EFDD

Joëlle Bergeron

GUE/NGL

Kostas Chrysogonos

PPE

Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Emil Radev, Pavel Svoboda, József Szájer, Rainer Wieland, Francis Zammit Dimech

S&D

Enrico Gasbarra, Evelyne Gebhardt, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Evelyn Regner, Virginie Rozière

VERTS/ALE

Max Andersson, Pascal Durand, Julia Reda

0

-

 

 

3

0

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki

ENF

Marie-Christine Boutonnet, Mylène Troszczynski

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 10 April 2018Legal notice