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EC Programming Documents (updated until 21.05.2010)

The initiative to have national parliaments organise annual debates on the Legislative and Work Programme of the European Commission emerged in the course of work of the European Convention. The "Declaration on the role of national parliaments" proposed that a debate be carried out in all national parliaments simultaneously, in the same week in which such a debate would be held in the European Parliament.

The declaration was dealt with by the Conference of Community Affairs Committees (COSAC) at its XXXII meeting in The Hague on 22-23 November 2004, which called on the EU Speakers Conference (EUSC) to provide for its prompt implementation (Conclusions of the XXXII COSAC, Section 7).

In a letter from the President of Folketing dated 25 October 2005, Denmark, holding the EUSC Presidency from May 2005, proposed an activity schedule and suggested possible forms of activity, making also reference to the issue of scrutiny of compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

In the Conclusions of its Copenhagen meeting of 29 June – 1 July 2006, the EUSC proposed that the debate on the Commission Legislative and Work Programme start with considering the Commission Annual Policy Strategy published in March, and suggested that parallel debates be conducted in national parliaments within one month of the publication of the programme, which usually took place in October.

Moreover, the EU Parliament Speakers suggested that the Commission presented its Annual Policy Strategy in a forum grouping together national parliaments, such as the EUSC or COASC meeting, or a special interparliamentary meeting. On the other hand, the Commission Legislative and Work Programme could be presented by the Commission at a COSAC meeting (Preliminary remarks to the Presidency Conclusions, Section 9). So far, the European Commission had only presented its annual policy strategy within COSAC: at the XXXVII and XLI COSAC meetings.

In March 2007, the Slovak EUSC Presidency summed up the debate on the EC programming documents in national parliaments in the document Information about discussions on Annual Policy Strategy and Commission Legislative and Work Programme. According to the authors of the report:

  • the parliaments/chambers welcomed the translation of the Commission Legislative and Work Programme into all official languages,
  • in most parliaments/chambers, the debate on the Commission Legislative and Work Programme was held in the EU Affairs Committee,
  • in many parliaments/chambers, the Commission Legislative and Work Programme was submitted for consideration to sectoral committees,
  • most governments presented an opinion on the Commission Legislative and Work Programme,
  • most parliaments/chambers supported COSAC's leading role in monitoring the Commission Legislative and Work Programme and organising a debate on the Annual Policy Strategy within COSAC (underlining the need to maintain debates in each parliament/chamber).