How do committees work

German Bundestag

The participation of the German Bundestag in matters of the European Union as provided for in Article 23, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law is a matter for the entire Parliament. Within the German Bundestag, the Committee for the Affairs of the European Union has a special responsibility for parliamentary participation and control of European policy. This determines the focus of his work, but is also reflected in his special powers and his composition.

The Committee for the Affairs of the European Union (EU Committee) is one of the four committees that are expressly mentioned in the Basic Law (Article 45 Basic Law) and must be set up in every legislative period.

Focus of activity

All committees of the German Bundestag are in principle responsible for advising on European affairs within the scope of their material competence. However, as an integration and cross-sectional committee, the EU committee is the central location of the European policy decision-making process.

In his function as integration committee, he is responsible for fundamental questions of European integration, institutional reforms, the enlargement of the European Union and cooperation with the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the other member states.

As a cross-sectional committee, the EU committee deals in particular with European projects that affect several different policy areas. Examples are the establishment of EU agencies or multi-annual programs such as the Europe 2020 growth strategy or the Stockholm program.

The Federal Government is obliged by law to inform the German Bundestag comprehensively and at the earliest possible time about all projects that could be of interest to the Federal Republic of Germany within the framework of the European Union. This is done through written and oral reports on the meetings of the European Council and the Council of the European Union in its various formations. In addition, there is information on current initiatives and developments at European level and the respective position of the federal government on this.

The committee regularly invites decision-makers from the European institutions (members of the European Commission, representatives of other Member States, members of the European Parliament, directors of EU agencies and experts to its meetings to find out about current EU developments. Intensive contacts with members of parliament other member states and candidate countries round off the political opinion-forming of the committee.

As a rule, the EU committee does not deal with the implementation of directives that have already been adopted at EU level. This is the task of the respective technical committees.

Special powers of the EU committee

Like the other committees of the German Bundestag, the EU committee is a preparatory decision-making body of the plenary. Under certain conditions, the committee can exercise the rights of the German Bundestag and issue opinions to the federal government (so-called plenary-substituting resolutions). In this way, if necessary, he can make the Parliament's position on legislative projects of the European Union clear in individual cases.

In contrast to other committees, the EU committee can submit amendments to the resolution recommendations of the leading specialist committees.

composition

In addition to 34 parliamentarians from the German Bundestag, the EU committee also includes 15 members of the European Parliament elected in Germany as so-called authorized members. They are not entitled to vote, but take part in the deliberations of the committee and thus ensure close cooperation between the parliamentary bodies at the national and European level.