EUROPEAN CONVENTION: NATIONAL MPS QUESTION THEIR FUTURE ROLE.

Opening the session, Convention Vice-President Jean-Luc Dehaene indicated that "after almost six months of work, we now have a fairly good idea of the situation, and following the Summer recess, will be able to set to work on the concrete texts drafted by working groups". Regarding the role of national Parliaments in controlling the principle of subsidiarity, Mr Dehaene nevertheless drew a cautious line, pointing simply to "a general trend towards not setting responsibilities in stone", in view of the tough discussions going on within the working groups on "subsidiarity" and "additional powers" (see European Report 2697 for further details). The mandate of this last group, chaired by the Danish Government's representative Henning Christophersen, may be extended by a forthcoming Praesidium decision.The national MPs invited to address the Parliamentary Committee did nothing to dissipate the confusion over the delicate question of controlling the principle of subsidiarity. Several options were raised. One minority hypothesis, backed by the European Parliament through the report by Alain Lamassoure (EPP, France), calls for ex post judicial control. Another, still to be accurately formulated, advocates the creation of some form of "Congress" bringing together delegates from national parliaments and the European Parliament and which, in addition to ex ante political control of the principle of subsidiarity, would meet to discuss any modification of the constitutional Treaty or revision of the own resources system, decisions that require parliamentary ratification, which will be even more difficult to secure in an enlarged Europe. The Commission is open to this notion, which would likely be backed by Convention President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, and certain MEPs, notably Praesidium member Inigo Mendez de Vigo (EPP, Spain), who regards this solution as that most likely to involve the European Parliament in Treaty modifications, an area where in the past, its assent has not even been required.Danes...

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