Role national Parliaments
With the growing role of the European Parliament regarding democratic control of the other EU institutions and noticeably the drafting of laws, the role of the national parliaments has substantially changed over the years.
It goes without question that in the field where decisions are taken in a so-called intergovernmental manner (by the governments) the powers of the national parliaments remain crucial. However, where decisions are taken supranationally, i.e. where Members States have transferred sovereignty to the Union level, the traditional role of democratic control by national Parliaments has been taken over by the European Parliament.
In order to keep national parliaments fully involved in EU matters they receive all Commission proposals for legislation as well as policy documents such as Green Papers and White Papers and communications.
But national parliaments still control their governments, which are represented in the Councils of ministers.
The parliaments participate in the national EU decision-making process because they are responsible for parliamentary scrutiny of government policy at a European level. In some of the Member States, parliament has extensive formal powers and mandates their ministers before he or she leaves to Brussels for Council negotiations. Other parliaments have chosen a scrutiny on the basis of the received EU proposals. In all cases, governments are accountable for their decisions to their parliaments.
Click here for the website of the House of Representatives of Malta
Parliaments remain closely involved in other EU areas such as the ratification of new Treaties, the conclusion of association agreements with third countries and determining the revenues ("own resources") of the Union. The EU specialised committees of the national parliaments regularly meet in the framework of the Conference of Community and European Union Affairs Committees (COSAC).
The role of national parliaments has also been under discussion during the European Convention which has come up with a design of the future architecture of the EU.