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In connection with the upcoming referendum in the United Kingdom, the chairpersons of the European Union Affairs Committees of the national parliaments of eight Member States addressed a letter to President of the European Council Donald Tusk, emphasising the need for a reform giving a greater role to the national parliaments in the EU.

“Greater role of national parliaments is important for the people of the United Kingdom, who will make a decision on their country remaining in the EU this week, and also for the parliaments of the Member States who signed the letter,” Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Kalle Palling said. “The UK remaining in the EU is in the interests of Estonia and the European Union as a whole.”

“With our letter, we let the people of the United Kingdom know of our support, and we ask to implement as soon as possible the earlier approved principles which will enter into force when the UK decides to remain a member of the EU,” Palling said.

With the planned reform, the parliaments of the EU Member States would get the right to use the so-called red card in the proceeding of the EU issues. “The least that would be achieved with this proposal is the situation where the commissioners of the European Commission would negotiate with the MPs of the Member States more than they have one so far before the discussion of new EU initiatives,” Palling explained.

The European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu supported the address on its 30 May sitting. It was found by consensus that the purpose of the red card idea is not creating an additional veto point of the Member States’ parliaments, but it is an instrument that ensures closer communication of the European Commission with national parliaments in order to explain the content and impact of important initiatives.

The letter addressed to Tusk has been signed by the chairpersons of the European Union Affairs Committees of the parliaments of Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the lower house of the Parliament of the Netherlands and both houses of the Parliament of Poland.

In February this year, the heads of state and government of the European Union agreed upon a solution giving a greater role to national parliaments in shaping the future of the EU. The agreement expresses the wish to preserve the unity of the EU and to bring the decision-making process closer to the citizens.

Increasing the role of national parliaments is one of the proposals of the United Kingdom that will enter into force if the Britons vote for remaining in the EU at the referendum. Pursuant to the red card proposal, the Council would have to stop the legislative procedure if more than 55 percent of national parliaments are against the draft legislation. The governments of the states that signed the letter addressed to Tusk yesterday have supported this idea by consensus.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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