European Affairs

EUEuropean affairs in the Croatian Parliament imply involvement in the decision-making process at the EU level. There are two main forms of the participation of national parliaments of EU Member States in the decision-making process: by scrutinising the work of national governments in the institutions of the European Union and by monitoring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity in the draft legislative acts of the European Union. 

The European Union adopts legislative acts - regulations, directives and decisions – which are either directly applicable in the Member States or must be transposed by the Member States into their legislation.

Regulations – generally applicable acts which are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all Member States; hence their transposition into national legislation is neither required nor permitted. 

Directives – acts which oblige all Member States to achieve certain end results. Member States are free to decide how these results are to be achieved. Directives are transposed into national legislation and are subject to alignment with the acquis of the European Union. 

Decisions – acts which are fully binding for the addressees. They cannot be applied in an incomplete, partial or selective manner They are not subject to alignment with the acquis of the European Union. 

A majority of legislative acts are passed in a regular legislative procedure: the European Commission proposes an act which is adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council. A special legislative procedure is applied in individual areas. National parliaments have eight weeks from the date of submission of a draft legislative act in all official languages of the EU to monitor compliance with the principle of subsidiarity, which makes it impossible for the draft legislative act to appear on the Council's agenda before the said deadline expires. 

In addition, non-legislative acts are adopted at the EU level, usually in the form of delegated and implementing acts. Non-legislative acts include, inter alia, international agreements, recommendations, guidelines, rules and acts adopted by bodies established by international agreements. 

In the process of aligning and adopting acts in the Council of the EU national parliaments oversee the actions of their governments in the Council in the manner and in line with the provisions defined autonomously by Member States. 

National parliaments may also take part in the decision-making process at the European level through a political dialogue by submitting their opinions on individual documents to the European Commission, which responds to such opinions on a regular basis.

Parliamentary scrutiny

In accordance with the provisions of the Act on the Co-operation of the Croatian Parliament and the Government of the Republic of Croatia in European Affairs as well as the Standing Orders of the Croatian Parliament, Parliament monitors and controls the work of the Government in the institutions of the European Union by adopting conclusions on the positions of the Republic of Croatia and EU documents, based on which the Government operates in EU institutions, by conducting debates on the meetings of the European Council and the Council of the European Union as well as by taking part in the process of proposing candidates for the institutions and bodies of the European Union.

Principle of subsidiarity

The principle of subsidiarity means that legislative acts are adopted at the EU level only if the same objective cannot be achieved in a more efficient manner by passing legislation at the national or local level. The early warning mechanism, which was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, implies the possibility for national parliaments to adopt reasoned opinions in order to warn that a draft legislative act of the European Union does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity. The early warning mechanism allocates two votes to the national parliament of each Member State, which are distributed for bicameral parliaments in such a way that every chamber has one vote.

Transposition of directives

The obligation to align its national legislation with the acquis still remains after Croatia’s accession to the European Union. As the European acquis is continuously evolving, national regulations must be aligned with it on a constant basis. This refers primarily to the transposition of European directives into national legislation, since directives are legislative acts which are binding for the Member States in terms of end results to be achieved, while Member States are free to decide how these results are to be achieved. The Croatian Parliament transposes directives in the same procedure which was applied to the alignment of the acquis in the pre-accession period.