Article 23 of the German constitution, the Basic Law, entitles the Bundestag to participate in matters concerning the European Union. The Federal Government must keep the Bundestag informed, comprehensively and at the earliest possible time, on such matters.
Article 45 of the Basic Law stipulates that the Bundestag must appoint a Committee on the Affairs of the European Union and that it may authorise the committee to exercise the rights of the Bundestag under Article 23 vis-à-vis the Federal Government. Thus, the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, which is the central forum for European policy debates within the German Bundestag, and serves as an integrative cross-cutting committee, is one of the few parliamentary committees explicitly mentioned in the constitution.
In the context of laws to accompany the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on 1 December 2009, the German Bundestag fundamentally restructured the legal foundations for parliamentary participation in European affairs in September 2009:
The Act Extending and Strengthening the Rights of the Bundestag and of the Bundesrat in Matters concerning the European Union, which has as its core the Responsibility for Integration Act, regulates the participation of the Bundestag and Bundesrat in changes to primary law not subject to the usual ratification procedures and in the use of the primary-law basis allowing extension of the European Union's powers. The Act also contains provisions on Parliament's participation regarding the accession of new Member States and use of the simplified treaty revision procedure.
The Act Implementing the Amendments to the Basic Law for the Ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon creates the framework necessary for Parliament to make use of the option it has to bring action regarding infringements of the subsidiarity principle.
The Act on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters concerning the European Union expands on the requirement enshrined in Article 23 (2) of the Basic Law that the Federal Government must keep the Bundestag and the Bundesrat informed, comprehensively and at the earliest possible time, on matters concerning the European Union. The possibility enshrined in the Basic Law for Parliament to state its position in this context is also specified in greater depth, and the Act sets out further details which were previously the object of an Agreement between the Bundestag and the Federal Government on cooperation on European Union matters.
Finally, Rule 93 of the German Bundestag's Rules of Procedure contains provisions on the forwarding and referral of EU documents, whilst Rule 93a regulates committee deliberations on EU documents and Rule 93b contains details regarding the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union.