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Jun252012

Bundestag

 

According to the replies of the German Bundestag to the questionnaire for the 13th Bi-annual report of COSAC (May 2010):

"A) REVIEW OF REGULATIONS ADOPTED

1. Have there been any regulations adopted by your Member State in order to incorporate the new powers that are entrusted to the national Parliaments by the Treaty of Lisbon? If so, please specify the regulations in their corresponding categories.

1a. Constitutional provisions

Yes, Art. 23 Abs. 1 (a) and Art. 45 Basic Law (Constitution) – provisions on subsidiarity proceedings, appealing to the Court against violation of the principle of subsidiarity (Subsidiaritätsklage).

1b. Legal provisions - Statutory provisions

Yes, as a result of the German Constitutional Court’s decision on the Lisbon Treaty in June 2009 national legal provision were revised (à Act on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the German Bundestag in Matters concerning the European Union) and newly enacted (à 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)).

1c. Parliamentary Standing Orders

A change of the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag is currently being discussed, esp. concerning competences/responsibilities of the EU Committee and specialised committees for coordination in subsidiarity objections and proceedings.

2. ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY

2a. Please specify the Parliamentary bodies in charge of ensuring such compliance.     

            The following parliamentary bodies are involved:

  • Committees (depending on their responsibility)
  • Plenary
  • Parliamentary groups
  • Bundestag’s administration (secretariats of responsible committees, Europe Division, parliamentary secretariat)

2b. Briefly describe the procedures involved.

  • Notation on compliance with the subsidiarity principle and further legal framework by Europe Division
  • Deliberations in the responsible committees (lead and advisory)
  • Written and/or oral information by government/ministries
  • Lead committee prepares recommendation for the decision and report to the plenary
  • Decision of plenary on proposal’s compliance with subsidiarity principle
  • Notification of EU institution by parliamentary secretariat

2c. Briefly describe the procedures for the participation of regional parliaments, if applicable.

A participation of regional parliaments is not provided." 

 

Bundesrat

 

According to the replies of the German Bundesrat to the questionnaire for the 13th Bi-annual report of COSAC (May 2010):

"A) REVIEW OF REGULATIONS ADOPTED

1. Have there been any regulations adopted by your Member State in order to incorporate the new powers that are entrusted to the national Parliaments by the Treaty of Lisbon? If so, please specify the regulations in their corresponding categories.

 1a. Constitutional provisions

 

Articles 23, 45 and 93 of Germany’s Basic Law have been modified in order to implement the Treaty of Lisbon. A new paragraph was added to Article 23 (Sub-section 1a), enshrining in the constitution the right of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat to initiate proceedings in the European Court of Justice in cases of non-compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. The addition to Article 45, Basic Law and the modification of Article 93, Basic Law deal with details of procedure within the Bundestag.

 

1b. Legal provisions - Statutory provisionsFollowing the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Treaty of Lisbon on 30 June 2009, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat have adopted the ‘Responsibility for Integration Act’ (Integrationsverantwortungsgesetz) concerning the provisions for involving the Bundestag and Bundesrat when sovereign rights are transferred to the EU, as well as provisions on participation of these bodies in shaping decision-making processes at European level. At the same time, amendments were made to existing legislation, namely to two bills concerning cooperation between the Federation and the federal states and between the Federal Government and the Bundestag on European issues. These two bills on cooperation stipulate the reporting obligations of the Federal Government and the rights of the Bundesrat and Bundestag to participate in determining Germany’s position for negotiations in Brussels.

 

1c. Parliamentary Standing Orders

 

No modifications   

 

1. MONITORING THE ACTIVITIES OF THE EU INSTITUTIONS

 

1a. Please indicate if the monitoring includes all the activities of all the EU institutions. If not, please specify which activities and which institutions will be subject to monitoring (e.g. only legislative proposals from the Commission).

 

The Bundesrat’s participation in European affairs does not extend to issues pertaining to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.

 

1b. Please indicate if the monitoring is comprehensive or applies selectively to certain topics or questions of particular national interest.

 

The Bundesrat conducts a comprehensive review of all draft legislation affecting the interests of the federal states.

 

1c. Briefly describe the procedure and specify the parliamentary bodies involved.

 

The Bundesrat’s Committee on European Union Questions (EU Committee) and the Bundesrat’s sector-specific committees participate in deliberations on EU draft legislation. The EU Committee is the lead committee when discussing proposals from the Council or the Commission which are of significance to the federal states. Deliberations in the EU Committee are usually based on recommendations from the sector-specific committees.  In examining draft legislation, the EU Committee is principally guided by considerations pertaining to policy on the European Union and on enhancing integration. Each of the sector-specific committees submits comments based on their specific area of technical competence.  

 

The Office of the EU Committee prepares a document on the basis of the recommendations from all committees involved. This document is the basis for the adoption of an Opinion in the Bundesrat’s plenary session. In urgent cases or when confidentiality is required, the Chamber of European Affairs, as enshrined in the Basic Law, may take a decision for the Bundesrat in lieu of the Bundesrat meeting in plenary session.

1d. Do the regulations establish the Government's duty to report to the Parliament / Chamber? If so, in which terms?

 

There are long-standing provisions stipulating that the Federal Government is obliged to provide comprehensive information to the Bundesrat at the earliest opportunity in respect of any draft legislation within the framework of the European Union which could be of interest to the federal states.  If and where the interests of the federal states are affected, the Federal Government is obliged to allow a reasonable timeframe for the Bundesrat to submit its Opinion on the topic in question before adopting Germany’s official negotiating position. This obligation to provide comprehensive information to the Bundesrat also means that the Federal Government must present its position to the committees during their deliberations and to the plenary during the debate there.

 

In addition to these existing duties, the new ‘Responsibility for Integration Act’ and the amended bills on parliamentary participation in the process require the Federal Government to transmit a report on EU draft legislation no later than two weeks after informing the Bundestag and the Bundesrat about the draft legislation in question. In particular the report must contain a specific evaluation of the proposed legislation’s compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. Furthermore, within two weeks of transmitting the EU draft legislation to the Bundestag’s committees, the Government must submit a comprehensive evaluation of the draft legislation to both chambers of parliament. This evaluation must include information on EU competence to legislate in the field in question, and an evaluation of the draft legislation’s compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. It must also contain a comprehensive impact assessment for Germany.

 1e. In bicameral Parliaments, could you describe the mechanisms for information exchange and coordination between both Chambers? 

There are plans to introduce a mechanism whereby the Secretariat of the Bundestag’s Committee on European Affairs would have to be informed of the progress of the scrutiny procedure in cases in which the Bundesrat has objections concerning respect for the principle of subsidiarity.

 1f. Please briefly describe the administrative and advisory resources and support available for the task of monitoring the EU institutions. 

The substantive issues pertaining to EU draft legislation are reviewed in the 16 federal states. The ministries in the federal states responsible for the specific technical areas discuss the EU draft legislation in the Bundesrat’s sector-specific committees. The EU Committee subsequently discusses the draft legislation on the basis of the outcome of deliberations in the sector-specific committees, taking overarching integration policy issues into account in its deliberations.

 

2. ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY 

2a. Please specify the Parliamentary bodies in charge of ensuring such compliance.

 

The Bundesrat reviews compliance of draft legislation with the principle of subsidiarity in accordance with the procedure for reviewing EU draft legislation described under question 1c. These provisions were already applicable prior to entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The bodies outlined in the answer to question 1c are in charge of conducting this scrutiny.

 

2b. Briefly describe the procedures involved. 

              Cf. question # 2a.

 

2c. Briefly describe the procedures for the participation of regional parliaments, if applicable.

 

The governments of the federal states involve the Landtage (parliaments of the federal states) in the decision-making process in keeping with Land-specific procedures.