Scrutiny of legislation is a core task for national parliaments. Given the impact that European Union (EU) activity has on national interests, legislatures also engage in scrutiny of EU legislation. But the fact that EU institutions are not directly accountable to national parliaments means that legislatures have evolved different ways of engaging with and influencing the EU legislative process.
Whether or not the UK remains a member of the EU following the forthcoming referendum, laws and regulations made in the EU will still have an impact on UK citizens and businesses. One of our seven case studies – Norway – is one example of how non-member states engage with EU institutions, showing how the UK Parliament could maintain a role in scrutinising EU legislation if it established a similar relationship to the EU. Following the referendum we will examine the UK’s current process of scrutiny, and explore whether and how it could be improved in whatever context the UK then finds itself.
In this report, we look at how seven national parliaments across Europe – from countries inside and outside the EU – scrutinise EU legislation and how their governments engage with EU institutions. We identify what these parliaments – in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Norway – are seeking to achieve and how they go about it.