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National Parliaments (EU)

Volume 564: debated on Tuesday 18 June 2013

We believe that national Parliaments are the fundamental source of democratic legitimacy in the European Union, and we are working with EU partners and parliamentarians to find ways of strengthening Parliaments’ powers to hold to account those who make decisions in the EU.

A couple of weeks ago, at the Königswinter conference, the Foreign Secretary mentioned the concept of a red card that could stop future EU legislation that a group of member states found unattractive. Does he agree that the red card system, if implemented, should also apply to existing legislation, so that the European Union can be properly reformed?

My hon. Friend flagged up that proposal recently during her thought-provoking speech to the Hansard Society. It is an important, far-reaching and constructive idea which deserves serious consideration.

Can the Minister confirm that the Parliaments of countries that are applying the rules of the European Union in order to gain access to the single market, such as Norway and Switzerland, have absolutely no influence on decisions in the EU?

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. Certainly, Norwegian and Swiss leaders have consistently told me that they think the UK is in a better position to gets its own way in EU negotiations than they are.