Com­mit­tee on Eu­ro­pean Union Ques­tions

Foto: Flagge der Europäischen Union

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The Committee on European Union Questions has a long tradition in the Bundesrat. As early as December 1957 the Bundesrat set up a special committee, "The Common Market and the Free Trade Area", which in 1965 became a Standing Committee for Questions pertaining to the European Communities. The committee's current title dates back to the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union, known as the Maastricht Treaty, on 1st November 1993.

This EU Committee is responsible for examination of all Council and Commission documents that are of importance for the German federal states, the Länder.

These documents comprise draft European Union legislation, particularly regulations and directives, as well as Communications and Green or White Papers, frequently tabled by the Commission in the run-up to devising specific pieces of legislation with a view to determining particular requirements and the appropriate scope of measures in a specific domain.

Such documents address topics in all areas in which the European Union may act, as stipulated in the provisions on the division of powers in the EU treaties. The spectrum of policy areas runs from agriculture through provision of services, capital and payment transactions, visas, asylum and immigration, to transport and competition policy.

The Committee on European Union Questions generally examines the documents on the basis of recommendations from the specialist committees. This examination is guided primarily by considerations deriving from policy on the European Union and European integration.

Furthermore, the committee also considers whether there is a sufficient legal basis in European law for the draft legislation and whether the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality have been respected.
A further crucial point that is scrutinised by the committee is the issue of whether the Bundesrat Opinion in question must be given due consideration by the Federal Government.

Should the committee consider that it is also necessary to forward certain Bundesrat Opinions to the Commission, the committee drafts a recommendation to this effect for the Bundesrat plenary session. This also applies to Opinions to be tabled in the context of the European Union’s Subsidiarity Early Warning System.

In addition, the committee deliberates on matters pertaining to exercise of the Bundesrat’s rights pursuant to the Responsibility for Integration Act.

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