The German Bundestag and Bundesrat modified the following articles of the German Basic Law: Article 23 (with the aim of “enshrining the right of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat to initiate proceedings before the Court of Justice in cases of non-compliance with the principle of subsidiarity”), and Articles 45 and 93 (which contain the “details of procedure within the Bundestag”). Articles 23, 45 and 93 of the German Basic Law.
In June 2009 the German Bundestag and Bundesrat, as a result of the German Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Treaty of Lisbon, revised the “Act on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters concerning the European Union”, and enacted the “Act on the Exercise by the Bundestag and by the Bundesrat of their Responsibility for Integration in Matters concerning the European Union (Responsibility for Integration Act)”.
Committee on the Affairs of the European Union
(Ausschuss für die Angelegenheiten der Europäischen Union)
Legal base: Articles 23 and 45, introduced by the Law amending the Basic Law if 21 December 1992.
Composition: 33 Members of the Bundestag while 16 German Members of the European Parliament appointed by the President of the Bundestag may participate in the meetings without voting rights.
The Committee on the Affairs of the European Union is the central forum for the decision-making process on European policy. It has a horizontal function and is responsible for dealing with matters of central importance for the general process of European integration or institutional questions, issues relating to enlargement and fundamental reforms of certain policy areas as well as cross cutting issues.
The Committee is the only parliamentary committee able to adopt opinions that are as binding on the Federal Government as the decisions of the Bundestag. The Federal government shall take the opinion of the Bundestag into account.
There is no scrutiny reserve in the Bundestag. But the Federal government shall give the Bundestag the opportunity to state its opinion before participating in the legislative process in the EU. See Agreement between the German Bundestag and the Federal Government on cooperation in matters concerning the European Union.
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Committee on questions of the European Union
(Ausschuss für Fragen der Europäischen Union)
Legal base: Article 23 of the German Basic Law and Section 45 of the Rules of Procedure of the Bundesrat
Composition: 17 Members composed of one Member of each federal state - some Members are Minister-presidents of their federal states, while others are State Ministers for European Affairs.
In 1957 the Bundesrat set up a special committee “The Common Market and the Free Trade Area”, which in 1965 became a Standing Committee on Questions pertaining to the European Communities. The committee has had its current title since entry into force of the EU Treaty of 1st November 1993.
The Committee on European Affairs is the lead committee on all documents from the Council and the Commission that are of importance for the federal states. This Committee generally discusses the documents on the basis of recommendations from the specialist committees. It is guided in its scrutiny primarily by considerations pertaining to European policy and European integration. Furthermore the Committee on European Affairs also examines whether there is sufficient legal basis in the EU Treaties for the draft legislation and checks that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are respected.
However, the final decision on a position of the Bundesrat is taken by the plenary or in an urgent case by the “Europakammer” on behalf of the plenary. According to article 23 Sub-section 4 of the Basic Law, the Bundesrat shall participate in the process whereby the German Federation develops its position, provided that the Bundesrat would be involved in a corresponding domestic measure or if the federal states would be competent nationally.
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