Past eventResearch Event

Democratic Deficit: National Parliaments and the European Union

25 February 2014 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Chatham House, London


Paul Hardy, Counsel for European Legislation, House of Commons
Jennifer MacNaughtan, Head of EU Strategic Policy Team, Future of Europe Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Dr Julie Smith, Senior Lecturer and Fellow, Robinson College, University of Cambridge
Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst, CMG, Associate Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House



In December 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave national parliaments a new role in monitoring whether Commission proposals for legislation are justified at EU rather than member state level, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Reforms included an early warning mechanism, in which the Commission would have to reconsider a proposal if votes against it in national parliaments reached certain thresholds, and a right to challenge EU legislation on grounds of a breach of subsidiarity. The speakers will discuss how reforms are working, whether they have been successful in light of the EU's 'democratic deficit', whether national parliaments can develop ways of cooperating to become a bloc and thereby a new actor on the EU stage, and whether the early warning mechanism can be strengthened.

This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.