The European Commission’s Task Force under first Vice-President Frans Timmermans has proposed carrying out regular assessments on how to better involve regional and local authorities and national parliaments in EU policymaking and implementation and whether there are policy areas where powers could be returned over time to EU member states.
The wide-ranging set of recommendations would give national and regional authorities a greater say on the preparation, adoption, and implementation of EU policies, something Timmermans said would benefit citizens and increase the EU’s efficiency and the transparency of its politics.
The Committee has suggested that the Task Force’s proposals lead to “a new way of working” that would ensure that the EU takes better account of the ideas and concerns of all local and regional authorities.
According to tot he proposals, the European Parliament and the Council should review the subsidiarity and proportionality of draft legislation and amendments during the legislative process while taking into full account of the opinions of national parliaments and regional administrations.
The Task Force also recommends applying a flexible eight-week deadline for national parliaments to submit their opinions on EU draft legislation. The Commission should acknowledge the opinions it receives from the national parliaments, and later provide feedback in its annual report on subsidiarity and proportionality. It should also make available to the co-legislators, information about proposals where significant concerns have been raised in respect to subsidiarity.
A focused multi-annual programme that would promote a rebalancing of the EU’s work in some policy areas has also been proposed for the three EU institutions. Together with the national parliaments and the European Committee of the Regions, the Commission is expected to raise the awareness of national, local and regional authorities regarding the opportunities they have to contribute to policymaking during the early stages of the process.