European policy in the German Bundestag and Bundesrat
Germany holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July until 31 December 2020. The German Bundestag is taking this opportunity to invite the parliaments of the other EU member states to participate in an intensive exchange of views and to further consolidate interparliamentary cooperation. The Bundestag does not consider following and monitoring the Federal Government's activities in a European context to be its only role in this respect. It also views itself as an independent actor that, together with the other national parliaments of the EU member states, is actively involved in the process of European integration.
Together with France, Italy, and the Benelux states, Germany is a founding member of the European Union (EU). Today, the EU has 27 member states, with a total population of around 450 million people. Over half of these member states – 19 out of 27 – use a common currency, the euro.
In order to achieve its objectives, the EU coordinates the joint actions of its member states and can pass legislation to do so, in particular in the form of regulations and directives. These legislative acts are created in a process which involves the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. In the case of directives, laws are passed by the national parliaments to implement them.
The national parliaments can, however, also become involved in EU policy at a much earlier stage, for example by demanding that the government of their country take a particular position in the Council or delivering their opinion on European legislative proposals directly to the EU bodies.
The participation of the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat in EU affairs is constitutionally enshrined in Germany's Basic Law. In accordance with Article 23(2) of the Basic Law, both constitutional bodies are to be involved in all matters concerning the EU. The rights of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat vis-a-vis the Federal Government are laid out in detail in specific acts, including, for example, how the Federal Government must provide notification of EU matters and how the positions held by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat are to be taken into consideration in negotiations in Brussels. In addition, the Bundestag and Bundesrat can also comment directly on EU matters to the European Commission and discuss their positions with the European Parliament and the parliaments of the other member states.
Detailed information on the individual aspects of the participatory rights can be found on these pages (Bundestag)(Bundesrat).
You’ll also find detailed information on “The German Bundestag and the European Union” in this brochure.