Sunday, February 02, 2003
Red Card - 2nd February 2003, 22.23

The latest attempt by New Labour to provide some constraint on European integration involves the institutionalisation of national parliaments in the the EU's legal process. If two-thirds of national parliaments (with two votes per polity) were to vote down ("red card")a directive, this area would fall away from the Commission's competence. However, whilst Labour's representative on the Convention will introduce this proposal next week, it is unlikely to be more than a figleaf. Labour underestimates the difficulties of gaining such a threshold by forging a consensus amongst a majority of EU states; or, they do understand and wish to maintain 'intergovernmental' credentials whilst throwing their hand in.

It might be a useful clause if there is ever a crisis. Two-thirds of the national parliaments could vote to remove all areas of competence from the Commission.


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