Lšnder participation in EU policy

Lšnder participation in EU policy

Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein actively participate in EU affairs as Lšnder, through the Federal Government as well as directly at EU level.

At the federal level, the Lšnder get involved through the Second Chamber of Parliament (Bundesrat) and its Conference of Ministers for European Affairs.

Based on Art. 23 of the German Constitution, the Lšnder are acting within the EU legal frame-work. A federal law as well as an agreement between the Lšnder and the Federation specify the respective procedures in detail.

The Bundesrat's Committee on European Union Affairs discusses projects channelled through the federal government (such as EU Commission proposals for directives, regulations, white and green papers, reports and communications of the EU institutions). These projects entail all areas in which the EU is competent to act. Subsequent to recommendations from specialist committees, the Bundesrat's Committee on European Union Affairs examines whether the respective proposals have a sufficient legal basis and whether they are in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The Committee has the option to merely take notice of a proposal, or to formulate a position. If the latter is the case, the question arises whether and to what extent the Bundesrat's position has to be taken into consideration by the Federal Government.

Besides the Bundesrat's Committee on European Union Affairs, there exists a Chamber for European Affairs on the basis of Art. 52 of the German Constitution. This Chamber is called into action whenever the subject requires confidential handling or a particularly immediate Bundesrat reaction. The Chamber decisions have the same external effect as decisions of the Bundesrat Plenary.

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Beyond the Bundesrat, the Lšnder coordinate their respective interests in European affairs in the Permanent Conference of the Lšnder Ministers for European Affairs (EMK). The positions agreed upon in this body are then jointly put forward vis-ŗ-vis the Federal Government and the EU Commission. Presidency rotates annually amongst the Lšnder in alphabetical order.

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On the European Union level, there exist several forms of Lšnder participation as well.

Participation may happen, for instance, through the Council Working Groups. Commission Proposals for legislation are discussed by member state delegations in the working groups. If the Lšnder interests are involved, the Lšnder can, in certain cases, send experts from the respective portfolio to participate in negotiations as members of the German delegation. A so-called Lšnder observer regularly informs the Lšnder on the state of negotiations in the respective council meetings.

Besides that, the Lšnder are directly involved in EU affairs through the Committees of the EU Commission. As member states send delegates into these committees, Lšnder may also send representatives through the Bundesrat.

Moreover, the Lšnder delegate national experts into the EU Commission and they participate as well in the stagiaire programme of the Commission.
Last, but not least, a representation of interests is taking place through the Members of the European Parliament, as well as through the Committee of the Regions.

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