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The scrutiny role of national and regional parliaments in relation to the European Union: the experience of the House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament

Alistair Dillon, Joint paper with James Johnston

As demonstrated first by the Commission's Plan D for Democracy and then by its Citizens' Agenda, and by the Member States' reactions to those initiatives, the objective of bringing the EU closer to the citizen is a common objective shared by the Commission and Member States. Through the Barroso initiative and the proposed Treaty changes reflected in the Treaty of Lisbon, the Commission itself has recognised the role that national and regional parliaments can play in that process. This paper will draw on the experience of the authors within the House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament in examining the scrutiny function of both National and Regional Parliaments specifically in relation to the European Union. We will look at the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in ensuring the democratic accountability and transparency of the role of both regional and national governments within the EU legislative process. In doing so we will explore the different challenges faced by Parliaments at a regional and national level and examine whether more effective parliamentary scrutiny may bring the EU closer to its citizens.

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