July 3, 2012
Recent events show that the answer to this question may at times be less obvious than it seems to be when reading the Treaties. Law on Schengen once again became a source of controversies. This time they concern the division of power between the Council and the European Parliament.
Last month we witnessed a heated debate in the EP after the Council changed the legal basis for the regulation on the evaluation of the functioning of the European area without internal borders. The choice of the legal basis is in this case a choice of the egislative method. If the Council sticked to the Commission’s proposal, the EP would take active part in the process. After the change its role has been violently limited. No surprise the EP is outraged.
MEPs said the change was a betrayal of the community method and a sign of a lack of trust. The Council defended itself saying that the legal basis proposed by the Commission was wrong, and if it hadn’t been changed the CJEU could rule the new regulation invalid.
MEPs remained unconvinced and boycotted the last week of the Danish presidency. The EP Committee LIBE also didn’s share the Council’s opinion conerning the legal basis.
The temperature of the last months debate and the reactions of some of the MEPs show that the EP is eager to play a more active role in the legislative process. Although the EP’s legislative competences have been increased after the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, Schengen case shows that the ambitions of the EP may be greater.
Tomorrow another discussion on Schengen will take place in Strasbourg.
Zuzanna Warso, lawyer at Europe of Human Rights
Author : Europe of Human Rights