Cooperation between parliaments in Europe
© European Union 2019 - Source : EP
In addition to the German Bundestag’s participation in matters concerning the EU via the Federal Government, various forms of cooperation exist between the Bundestag and the European Parliament, as well as interparliamentary cooperation between the national parliaments of the EU Member States.
To foster cooperation and provide continuous information about its activities, the European Parliament transmits its resolutions, documents and minutes of plenary sittings to the national parliaments of the EU Member States. In addition, a number of German MEPs have seats on the German Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, where they are entitled to speak but have no voting rights. They inform the Members of the Bundestag about the progress of legislation as it passes through the European Parliament.
For several years, at the European Parliament’s initiative, meetings between parliaments and committees have been taking place in Brussels, in various formats, to discuss initiatives at European level. Interparliamentary meetings usually deal with cross-cutting issues, while the committees focus on specific specialised topics or legislative proposals at special meetings and committee meetings. Joint hearings are also held. Members of the national parliaments can attend ordinary meetings held by the European Parliament’s committees.
Permanent interparliamentary conferences
To strengthen parliamentary scrutiny in the realm of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP), the national parliaments and the European Parliament have established an interparliamentary conference which meets twice a year.
The Fiscal Stability Treaty included an agreement that the parliaments would meet twice a year in the framework of the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union (SECG), in order to cooperate more closely on matters of economic, fiscal and budgetary policy and to engage in dialogue.
In the field of police cooperation, scrutiny of Europol's activities is carried out by the European Parliament together with national parliaments, in the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) (Article 88 (2) TFEU, Article 51 of Regulation (EU) 2016/794).
Other forums for cooperation
The Speakers of the national parliaments and the European Parliament meet annually to share experience in the framework of the Conference of the Speakers of European Parliaments. Their aim is to boost the parliaments’ role in EU affairs and to engage in joint activities to support the parliaments’ work.
The national parliaments’ committees on European affairs and the European Parliament meet every six months in the framework of the Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC); the German Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European Union participates in this conference. COSAC promotes the exchange of information and best practices between the national parliaments and the European Parliament at committee level.
The IPEX database has been set up to facilitate communication between the national parliaments and the European Parliament about EU initiatives, and in particular about the delivery of reasoned opinions and subsidiarity objections.