Ipex is a platform for inter-parliamentary information exchange in EU affairs between and among national parliaments and the European Parliament. It involves both EU Member States and candidate countries. First and foremost it is a tool for national parliaments to exercise scrutiny over EU affairs, in relation to the principle of subsidiarity. Besides that, it facilitates information sharing, comparison of best practices and less formal cooperation. Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the role of national parliaments in EU affairs has increased significantly. In particular, the subsidiarity check by national parliaments emphasises the importance of effective information exchange and coordination of their approaches on EU matters.
Reformed Ipex includes various features
In June 2011, a new version of the Ipex website (created in 2006) was launched. It contains a database of legislative proposals and Commission consultation documents. The records in the database contain links to related documents and access to national scrutiny pages. A national scrutiny page presents documents from individual national parliaments related to the specific Commission document or legislative procedure. In general opinions of national parliaments are provided in the original language, often with summaries in English. In addition, Ipex contains a calendar of inter-parliamentary cooperation, which offers information on past and forthcoming events. Furthermore, it offers links to national parliaments and the European Parliament as well as other websites for inter-parliamentary cooperation in EU affairs. Latest News is visible on the first page. Forums providing the possibility to share less formal information among parliaments are available to registered users. The Ipex platform also includes the EU Speakers’ Conference website.
Inter-parliamentary cooperation on EU matters more visible to citizens
The legislative database provides the possibility to get an overview of the status of an ongoing scrutiny procedure in national parliaments. It is also possible to consult completed procedures, searching by adopted legislation. Various symbols are used to illustrate the different phases of the procedure.
The Ipex website and its search functions are accessible to all on the internet. Subscribing to Ipex offers the user some additional tools, such as to save searches, personalise one’s view of the homepage and be notified by email of changes in selected procedures. The inter-institutional legislative procedure is tracked by Parliament’s Legislative Observatory (OEIL) and the PreLex database, which both offer procedural files, including among other information a link to Ipex and its documents. Ipex, for its part, links to the Legislative Observatory OEIL.