The Association of Regional Legislative Assemblies of the EU asks to participate in the drafting of European directives

The Conference of the Regional Legislative Assemblies of the European Union (CALRE) has met in Barcelona to discuss their interaction with the European Commission. The association of regional parliaments with legislative powers, such as those in Catalonia, Scotland, North Rhine-Westphalia or Flanders, has asked to participate in the drafting process of European directives.


September 19, 2011 10:12 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The European Commission should take the opinions of regions with legislative powers into account in the consultation process to draft European directives following the implications of the principles of subsidiarity and respect for diversity. Some of these regions are Catalonia, Scotland, North Rhine Westphalia, Lombardy, Tyrol, Flanders or the Azores. Parliaments of such regions met on Monday in Barcelona to discuss their interaction with the European Commission. The Parliament of Catalonia held a workshop on the Conference of Regional Legislative Assemblies of the European Union (CALRE), which closed a series of working sessions on subsidiarity that started in 2005. The workshop concluded that regional assemblies with legislative powers should be included in the European Commsision’s consultation process and the drafting process of European directives; in the same line, those institutions should also have the appropriate mechanisms to deal with this responsibility. The President of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert chaired the workshop. De Gispert stated that the EU is facing “great and urgent challenges” that need to be overcome with “a Europe that is more diverse, with more voices”, a Europe that “should know how to harmonise them, that should know how to mobilise and build a stronger and wider consensus in order to move forward together”. The CALRE brings together the parliaments from all German and Austrian Länder, Italian regions, Belgian and Spanish communities, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Madeira and the Azores. It totals 74 regional parliaments that legislate, sometimes exclusively, on a wide range of policies that tend to include the pillars of the Welfare State, such as healthcare, education or social protection, but also on economic policies, such as agriculture. They want to be consulted and participate in EU decision-making, in the same way that national parliaments, social agents or sector lobbies are included.

The Conference of Regional Legislative Assemblies of the European Union (CALRE) organised a workshop on Monday at the Parliament of Catalonia asking the European Commission (EC) for them to be included in the drafting process of European directives. In a reciprocate way, regional parliaments need to be prepared at being involved in such a process. The workshop analysed the regional dimension of the EC’s consultations, the functions of the permanent representations of Member State parliaments before the European Union, and the function of the EC regional representations. It was the closing session of a series of workshops of the CALRE working group on subsidiarity, which has been chaired and coordinated by the Parliament of Catalonia since 2005.

The Chairman of CALRE and President of the Parliament of the Abruzzo (Italy), Nazario Pagano, participated in the workshop. Pagano asked EU Member States “to allow the participation of regional parliaments in building European law”. Pagano emphasised that if regions with legislative powers “remain united, we represent a considerable force of a new Union based on the territories and the regions”. The European law professor at the University of Barcelona, Miquel Palomares, summed up CALRE’s petitions core as including “wide consultations” with the regions at the beginning of the legislative process, “because the Union has the greatest interest in knowing about the territories’ real needs”. Palomares stressed “the mutual benefits” that stable relations between the EC and regional parliaments could bring in terms of information exchange, coordination and fulfilling citizens’ needs.

An association created in 1997

CALRE was launched in 1997 to bring together the presidents of the parliaments of EU regions with legislative powers to defend and promote their role within the EU decision-making process. In 2004, the working group on the subsidiarity principle was created, which states that political actions within the EU should be taken and decided by the public administration closest to the citizen in relation to the issue dimension. From 2007, the President of the Catalan Parliament chairs this working group.