National Parliaments and the EU: Improving Scrutiny and Cooperation

11/09/2019 - 12/09/2019
Location: Maastricht (NL)
Project number: 1912301

In association with IPEX, the InterParliamentary EU information eXchange

National Parliaments and the EU: Improving Scrutiny and Cooperation

From:  945,00

here does my work in parliament fit into the cycle of EU law-making and national responsibilities? Have other parliaments come up with new ideas for managing the scrutiny process?

SKU: 1912301 Categories: ,

Where does my work in parliament fit into the cycle of EU law-making and national responsibilities?

Have other parliaments come up with new ideas for managing the scrutiny process?

How can I find out how other countries are dealing with an EU file, and tell them what I am doing?

This course will help you answer such questions. It has been developed as a common European training seminar for officials of national and regional parliaments by EIPA in association with a working group of the InterParliamentary EU information eXchange (IPEX).

The role of national and regional parliaments is a key issue for good European governance, never more so than in the current political climate. Each chamber needs to make the best use possible of available opportunities to exercise scrutiny, as well as to participate in interparliamentary cooperation and to contribute to policy debate at the EU level.

This course offers parliamentary officials a unique combination of focused knowledge acquisition through interaction with academic specialists and hands-on learning on the basis of exchanges of practice and input from experienced parliamentary practitioners.

What you will learn in this course:

You will learn about topics that all parliamentary officials involved in EU affairs need to know well:

  • the legal and institutional framework governing EU competences;
  • the main ways in which national parliaments participate in EU affairs, vis-à-vis the EU institutions as well as their own national governments;
  • the subsidiarity principle, and the modalities by which national and regional parliaments monitor respect for the subsidiarity principle;
  • the operation of the IPEX platform;
  • the sources of information on EU files and procedures.
Who is this course for:
  • staff of national and regional parliaments in the EU member states
  • officials of EU institutions and bodies concerned with national parliaments
  • anyone concerned with the roles of parliaments in EU policy processes, from national subsidiarity checks to the Parliamentary Dimension of the Council Presidency
Course methodology and highlights

You will receive some background materials in advance in order to prepare for the course.

The course consists of

  • concise introductory presentations followed by discussion
  • extensive insights with multiple examples and real life cases
  • group exercises

You will also take part in workshops based on exchanges of experiences in order to consider possible means to improve practical effectiveness in the different national scrutiny processes.




Welcome and self-presentation of the participants
Edward Best, Head of Unit, European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Maastricht
Calin-Mihai Racoti, IPEX Information Officer

National parliaments and the EU: overview and update
The first morning reviews the basic information that everyone handling EU files in national parliaments needs to know, using an interactive exercise to help you think through where your work fits into the EU legislative process




Who does what in the EU? … the division of competences between the EU and the member states
Edward Best

  • a quick review of essential principles with emphasis on subsidiarity and proportionality

Who does what in the EU legislative cycle? … and where do national and regional parliaments fit in?

  • presentation of a simple model of the core EU policy cycle
  • group exercise to match schematic outlines with institutional actors and instruments
  • debriefing and identification of the roles of national parliaments vis-à-vis both the EU institutions (subsidiarity check and political dialogue) and national governments (parliamentary control and general scrutiny)




Coffee break




  • debriefing and identification of the roles of national parliaments (ctd.)
  • discussion of continuing issues about the role of national parliaments




EU interparliamentary cooperation:  how have these structures evolved and how do they function?
Calin-Mihai Racoti

  • Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments
  • Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs (COSAC)
  • Interparliamentary committee meetings (ICM); Interparliamentary Conferences (IPC) (such as the CFSP-CSDP Conference; the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the EU); and the Europol Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group
  • Interparliamentary meetings within the framework of the parliamentary dimension of the rotating Presidency of the Council
  • the InterParliamentary EU information eXchange (IPEX)
  • the network of representatives of national parliaments in the EP




Parliamentary scrutiny
You consider the different processes by which national parliaments exercise parliamentary scrutiny and control vis-à-vis national governments. You consider practical ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of support given to members of parliament.




Introduction: the political framework of parliamentary scrutiny
Edward Best
Diane Fromage,
Assistant Professor, Maastricht University
Comparative overview of different national practices

  • mandate-based systems, document-based systems, hybrid systems etc.
  • presentation of selected national cases and new developments

Summary of initiatives identified in institutional reports and academic studies as increasing effectiveness in given contexts




Coffee break




Administrative support for parliamentary scrutiny
Tim De Bondt, Principal Advisor on EU Affairs, Belgian Senate
Diane Fromage

  • comparison of administrative and human resources used by national parliaments
  • how to maximise the effectiveness of support




Conclusions from the first day




End of the first day












Subsidiarity in principle and practice
You will examine the principle of subsidiarity and how it is applied in practice and how it is controlled in different national and regional parliaments. You will engage in an exercise using a case study. You discuss with counterparts from other member states how things work in practice and what could help to maximise results.




The subsidiarity principle: evolution and jurisprudence
Gracia Vara Arribas, Expert, European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Barcelona

  • basic approaches to subsidiarity as a legal and political concept
  • a summary of practice in EU and national bodies
  • key judgements of the Court of Justice of the EU and national Constitutional Courts

How does one assess respect for subsidiarity?

  • presentation of different  approaches and systems
  • group work on a legislative proposal




Coffee break




National processes and practices: how do different chambers manage the subsidiarity check?
Tim De Bondt
Gracia Vara Arribas
Diane Fromage

  • presentation and discussion of national cases








Improving practice
In the final session you will learn more about how to find and use EU information effectively in order to support national parliamentary processes, as well as looking in more detail at the practical aspects of interparliamentary cooperation.
Calin-Mihai Racoti




Finding and using EU information

  • overview of EU information sources
  • how to monitor the exact status of a proposal in the decision-making process

Managing IPEX and other forms of interparliamentary cooperation

  • a practical exercise for participants to explore what information they can find on IPEX and how they can contact staff in national parliaments to obtain more information
  • a practice-oriented review of other points that have come up in the earlier sessions




Coffee break




Lessons learned and wrap-up




End of the seminar

Course venue
European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)
O.L. Vrouweplein 22
6211 HE, Maastricht
the Netherlands

Programme Organiser
Ms Nicolette Brouwers
Tel: + 31 43 3296245

The fee includes documentation and refreshments. Lunches, a reception or dinner are included if mentioned in the programme. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

The 10% discount for civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency does not apply to this seminar.

Lunches, the reception or dinner will be served at a restaurant in town. Special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic) can be indicated once you receive the confirmation of the seminar.

Hotel reservations
EIPA has special price arrangements with a number of hotels. All hotels are within 10 minutes walking distance from EIPA. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, please book directly via the links below. Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out. At the time of booking, please mention in the requested field the EIPA project number for your course.

Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.

Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.

EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.). 


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