MEPs want sturdier investigative powers
MEPs will repeat their demand to strengthen the European Parliament’s right of inquiry in a debate with Council and Commission representatives on Wednesday.
The right of inquiry is a vital instrument to exercise the parliamentary functions of scrutiny. The European Parliament’s investigative powers, however, fall short of those of committees of inquiry in national parliaments, which have quasi-judicial investigative tools at their disposal.
MEPs are expected to urge the Council and Commission to break the inter-institutional deadlock which has hampered previous attempts to update the rules on the EP’s right of inquiry.
The European Parliament has recently increased its use of investigative instruments, i.e. special and inquiry committees, to investigate money laundering, tax avoidance or emissions levels in the automotive sector.
In May 2012, MEPs endorsed a proposal on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry. Whilst Parliament is seeking to equip its power of inquiry with appropriate investigative instruments to be able to effectively exercise its function of scrutiny, MEPs have so far not obtained the necessary agreement from the Council and the European Commission. The other EU institutions have expressed concerns that parliamentary inquiry might turn from a political tool into a quasi-judicial one. In 2014, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs appointed Ramón Jáuregui Atondo (S&D, ES) to resume negotiations.
Procedure:Question for oral answer to the Council and the Commission
Debate: Wednesday, 13 December