VP Šefčovič continues dialogue with national parliaments
The Lisbon Treaty significantly increased the role of national parliaments in the European decision-making process. As the Commissioner responsible for relations with national parliaments, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Monday met with representatives from two parliaments that have taken different approaches to their role on the EU stage.
First, V-P Šefčovič met with a delegation from the Latvian parliament, led by Atis Lejins, Deputy Chair of the European Affairs Committee. The Latvian parliament has not been among the most prolific in terms of dialogue with the Commission, or through the subsidiarity control mechanism introduced with the Lisbon Treaty, and V-P Šefčovič used the meeting to encourage the delegation of parliamentarians to take a closer interest in cooperation with the Commission.
He also used the meeting to highlight the crucial role of national parliaments in the EU's new economic governance structure, in particular the key part they play in helping develop national reform programmes and stability or convergence programmes, creating the right political conditions under which reforms can succeed.
Later on Monday, V-P Šefčovič met with representatives from the Dutch Senate, led by Tineke Strik, chair of the Standing Committee on European Affairs. In contrast to Latvia, the Dutch Parliament has a long history of cooperation with the Commission, sending 39 opinions on a variety of policy issues to the Commission since 2006. (See this page for more information about cooperation between national parliaments and the Commission).
The discussion in this meeting focused on the future of the EU, in particular with regard to economic and financial governance and the common foreign and security policy. V-P Šefčovič talked in particular about the benefits of the community-approach to economic governance compared to the intergovernmental process that has tended to dominate at times during the crisis. He also welcomed the news that the Dutch Senate was integrating its subsidiarity check procedure into the broader framework of political dialogue.
V-P Šefčovič will round off this week's meetings with representatives from national parliaments on Tuesday with a short meeting with Dominic Hannigan, chairman of the Joint Committee on European Affairs visit of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament), with whom he also discussed a variety of EU policy issues during his recent visit to Dublin.