European and National Parliaments

The Lisbon Treaty strengthens the role played by the National Parliaments with regard to ensuring that the competences between the Union and the Member States are shared in a balanced manner.

For the first time the Lisbon Treaty introduced national parliaments quite visibly in the functioning of the European institutions. Article 12 of the TFEU is devoted to them. It stipulates that “National parliaments contribute to the smooth functioning of the EU.”

An early warning mechanism has been established: it will enable prior control of the Commission’s proposals by the National Parliaments even before the European Parliament or the Council have been able to examine the texts. The National Parliaments will have to indicate any infringements or breaches of the subsidiarity principle by the European institutions.

Beyond one third (a quarter in the area of Justice and Internal Affairs) of negative opinions on the part of the national parliaments, the Commission has to review its proposals.

The treaty also includes ex post judicial control : each chamber of each national parliament will be able to lodge a complaint with the EU’s Court of Justice for the infringement of the subsidiarity principle.