Jozsef Szajer (EPP, Hungary) was the European Parliament's rapporteur on the proposal for a regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by member states of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers.

Could you tell us the main differences between the old system and the new system?

The Parliament has gained rights over the Commission's executive powers. We can control them. This creates a situation in which the powers of the Council, which have existed for quite a long time, are now extended to the Parliament. In both a symbolic and legal way this recognises the equal status of the two institutions.

Since the Parliament is the only European institution that has a direct link to voters, this means that voters now have access to things they didn't have access to before and which had been managed between the Commission and Council. There are famous cases, such as the size of eggs or curvature of cucumbers, which are within this framework of control.

The Parliament has to organise itself in a way to keep a basic interest in some of the areas and to make sure the Commission is not left to its own devices. This is not easy because the Parliament is a much slower body than the Council and does not sit as often. Our rules of procedure have to be adopted in order to be more flexible to avoid being too late to veto or stop certain things when we don't like them.

The Parliament has gained power in theory, but will this translate into real gains in practice?

This is a process. It has not happened overnight, in the [previous] procedures we already had a certain say, a certain insight. With the new treaty it's clear that we have two completely different areas. One is delegated acts, where we delegate the powers but are the masters of these powers, together with the other legislator. So we can withdraw them, we can change them, we can veto them. In that area it is unquestionable that the Parliament has a very strong new power, which it will not exercise every day. The other area is implementing acts. There - and I shouldn't even say this because this creates an instant fight, even in the Parliament - the area is left for member states to do their job: implementing EU legislation. The Commission can do with these executive powers whatever it wants and the member states, if they are applying European law at home, that's also their own sphere of interest.

However, the distinction between which procedure to...

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