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Why the EU must boost the powers of national MPs by Eva Kjer Hansen*

Europe’s national parliaments are making the EU an offer it can’t refuse: a package of democratic legitimacy and proactive partnerships that could address a good many of the political problems facing the EU. It’s now up to the European Commission to accept this offer.


et’s imagine that Europe’s national parliaments all had the right of initiative. Each member of a national parliament could go to his or her constituency and invite citizens to bring forward good ideas that could, if they have local, regional, national and pan-European support, be turned into EU legislation. Right now, national parliaments can only obstruct European legislation by handing the Commission a “yellow card”. But why not let the EU’s national parliaments participate in the legislative process by issuing political opinions that EU institutions are obliged to take into account. Why not let national parliaments propose new initiatives just as the Council and the European Parliament can already do today?

Critics might say that the right of initiative is the prerogative of the European Commission, and giving national parliaments this right would require treaty changes. But what I am arguing for is to allow a certain number of national parliaments to invite the European Commission to table legislative proposals that they deem necessary. I am not alone in this argument. In late June of last year, around 40 chambers of national parliaments met at the Conference of European Affairs Committees (COSAC) in Dublin and agreed to invite the Commission to consider any individual or collective legislative proposal requests from national parliaments. With a political commitment from the Commission, I expect



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Issue 02/2014 of the EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW (EBR) magazine


Issue 02/2014 of the EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW (EBR) magazine

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