MP René Leegte (VVD) presents the report "focus on Europe" to the Speaker of the House, Ms Anouchka van Miltenburg

MP René Leegte (VVD) presents the report "focus on Europe" to the Speaker of the House, Ms Anouchka van Miltenburg

The House of Representatives is exemplary of this. "Showing great dedication the House has gained a strong position in the interparliamentary network, has made a major contribution tot the European decision making process and has drawn up an ambitious agenda",says Ellen Mastenbroek, senior lecturer in public administration at Nijmegen Radboud University. By order of the House of Representatives she carried out evaluation research into the use of the Lisbon tools. On 3 December 2014 the final report, titled "Focus on Europe: national parliamentary scrutiny of European decision making after the Treay of Lisbon" was presented to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Lisbon Treaty: who does what?

One of the aims of the Lisbon Treaty was to increase the role of national parliaments. The treaty was to provide more clarity in the division of responsibilities: What is Europe's business and what can better be done by the EU Member States? That is why the subsidiarity test was introduced in the Treaty of Lisbon. Another result of the Lisbon Treaty is that not only national parliaments, but also the European Parliament has been given a greater say in the European decision making.

Talks throughout Europe

In the past few months the research team talked to parliamentarians and their staff throughout Europe, looking for examples of post-"Lisbon" parliamentary activity. The purpose was to formulate recommendations to the House of Representatives, in order to strengthen the House's grip on the European decision making process. The report "Focus on Europe" ends in three recommendations: be selective, work together and simplify existing tools.

Yellow card

The report recommends to the House of Representatives the selective and targeted use of the yellow card procedure, in addition to the daily consultations with the Government on European policies. This requires active cooperation with likeminded parliaments. The appointment of a rapporteur can be useful in such an active approach. In Europe the House can aim at longer deadlines to be set for the yellow card procedure. This may be an issue for the upcoming Dutch EU-presidency in the first half of 2016. The conferences to be organized by both Houses during the Dutch EU-presidency will also provide a platform for this. Moreover, existing instruments can be simplified.

Read the report

The report with all conclusions and recommendations can be read in the management report below. The conclusions are based on an extensive report of findings, also downloadable in pdf.