The Grand Committee
(Suuri valiokunta, Stora utskottet)Legal base: sections 93, 96 and 97 of the Finnish Constitution
Composition: 25 members and 13 substitutes. The Member of Parliament for the Åland Islands always has the right to attend meetings of the Grand Committee.
The Eduskunta has delegated its powers in EU matters to the Grand Committee, except for the CFSP and CSDP, which have been delegated to the Foreign Affairs Committee. These committees define Finland's national position on matters to be decided in the EU Council on behalf of the Eduskunta as a whole.
European legislative proposals that fall within the Eduskunta's 'traditional'
(pre-EU) powers are submitted without delay to the Eduskunta by the government.
These matters are called "U matters". The committees also have an unlimited power to request that the government submits any other business related to the EU. Typically, this would involve green or white papers or other documents that will lead to future legislation. These are called "E matters" in the Grand Committee and "UTP matters" in the Foreign Affairs Committee. The government may also submit E or UTP matters on its own initiative. The Grand Committee usually forwards U and E matters to the appropriate sector committee (agriculture, law, etc.) for scrutiny and opinion. The Eduskunta's position, as approved by the Grand Committee or Foreign Affairs Committee, is politically binding on the Government. If the government needs an amendment of this position, it will resubmit the issue to the Grand Committee or foreign affairs committee. This process may be repeated several times during the handling of a European proposal.
Ministers must appear before the Grand Committee before and after attending EU Councils. This allows the Grand Committee to verify that its mandate has been observed in the work leading up to the formal decision by the Council, and to adjust its position when needed.
For more information, click here to find link to information on the website of the Eduskunta and here to find a description of the scrutiny procedures.