Minister Ahern welcomes decision to devote full Dáil day to EU business
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., has warmly welcomed the decision to dedicate a full Dáil day to European business on 10 May.
The Minister said: “This exciting innovation will serve to boost Oireachtas involvement in EU affairs. It will help to instil a greater sense of public ownership of EU debates, which are integral to our political life. It is a fundamental part of our vocation as national parliamentarians to be actively engaged in EU issues and to help optimise public understanding and involvement. The holding of a Europe Day in the Dáil means that Ireland is giving a lead in promoting greater involvement by National Parliaments as part of the current EU-wide debate on the future of Europe.”
“The Irish public is well aware of the massive contribution the EU has made to our national development. There is, however, a need to ensure that the public is kept informed of the latest European developments and is encouraged to feel genuinely connected with the European Union. A day of exclusively European business in the Dáil will contribute to that objective. It will assist in underpinning the democratic legitimacy of the Union. Europe Day will underline how crucial Europe is to Ireland. Far from being remote and extraneous, the European Union is an essential part of what we are today,” the Minister said.
Note for Editors:
'Europe Day' will be celebrated on 9 May and the Dáil will devote a full day to EU issues on 10 May. This move takes place in the context of the period of reflection initiated by the June 2005 European Council following the negative referendum results in France and the Netherlands. Increasing attention is now being paid to the role of national parliaments with regard to EU institutions and policies.
The role of national parliaments was acknowledged in the Amsterdam Treaty (1997) and further highlighted in the European Constitution (2004), which has not yet been ratified. The most significant innovation in the European Constitution is the “yellow card” system which would give national parliaments a specific role in monitoring the appropriateness of EU legislation (this is known as the principle of subsidiarity). The European Constitution would require all draft EU measures to be sent to national parliaments in good time so that they can review the proposals and present their views to the EU institutions before any final decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers. The EU Constitution also encourages enhanced cooperation between the European parliament and national parliaments.
02 May 2006