Scrutiny and oversight of the executive is an important part of the European Parliament’s work, as both set out in the Treaties and detailed in agreements between the EU institutions.
Working alongside other services, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides specialist support to parliamentary committees and to the institution as a whole, to help enable scrutiny and oversight to be as effective as possible, throughout the whole policy cycle – both before legislation is adopted (ex ante) and after its adoption (ex post).
The Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of EPRS provides a series of dedicated products and services in this field, including:
- a range of analytical tools to support the scrutiny process, notably in the form of rolling check-lists (please see below);
- initial appraisals of the impact assessments which the European Commission attaches to its proposals and support for parliamentary committees in any further impact assessment work they wish to undertake;
- identifying the potential European added value of the policy initiatives they advocate and in making the case to the Commission that it should use its right of initiative for defined purposes;
- initial appraisals of how existing legislation has been working in practice, particularly when the updating of that legislation is included in the Commission’s Annual Work Programme;
- support for committees in undertaking detailed ‘Implementation Reports’, notably by providing ‘European Implementation Assessments’ on how specific legislation or policy is currently operating on the ground;
- monitoring of the delivery of the commitments made by the European Commission in all policy fields
ROLLING CHECK-LISTS – WHAT ARE THEY?
With a view to ’empowering through knowledge’, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is now issuing comprehensive rolling check-lists of important, but otherwise largely inaccessible, material relating to various aspects of the EU law-making and policy cycles. Designed to assist Members and parliamentary committees in the exercise of effective scrutiny and oversight of the executive, and updated on a regularly basis, these check-lists so far cover the following five horizontal topics:
- review clauses in EU legislation;
- review clauses in EU international agreements;
- ex-post evaluation exercises in the European Commission;
- Court of Auditors’ Special Reports; and
- European Council conclusions and follow-up thereto
The first four of these check-lists are produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit and the last one by the European Council Oversight Unit, both within the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of EPRS.
Cumulatively, these five check-lists already amount to thousands pages of often interactive text.
Review and Monitoring Clauses in EU Legislation: A Rolling Check-List
This rolling check-list provides parliamentary committees with a structured overview, by subject area and individual legislative act, of review clauses and the timelines for forthcoming reviews and other reporting provisions in EU legislation. Reviews of existing legislation provide an evidence-based assessment of the performance of policies and legislation. Review findings support political decision-making and inform the design of possible future revisions. The latest edition creates a single point of access to all review clauses contained in legislative acts that were adopted during the eighth parliamentary term (2014 – 2019).
International Agreements – Review and Monitoring Clauses: A Rolling Check-List
This rolling check-list of the review and monitoring clauses in international agreements provides an overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses and management and implementation clauses included in the international agreements concluded between the EU and third countries that are currently in force. The check-list is updated on a regular basis.
Evaluation in the European Commission: Rolling Check-List and State of Play
This rolling check-list provides a comprehensive overview of ongoing and planned ex-post evaluations of EU legislation and spending programmes conducted by the Commission, as well as of their underpinning mechanisms. This fourth edition seeks to fill a gap by granting a single access point to the Commission’s evaluation planning and output, as of 30 June 2020. The dataset is preceded by an analysis of how the evaluation process has evolved since the 2015 Better Regulation reform. The check-list is updated regularly.
Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors: A Rolling Check-List of recent findings
This rolling check-list presents an overview of the European Court of Auditors’ special reports, concentrating on those relevant to the 2017 budgetary discharge procedure. It strives to link the research topics of the special reports to the relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including the working documents of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, plenary resolutions and individual questions by Members.
In addition to these four check-lists, the European Council Oversight Unit – which monitors and analyses the delivery of the European Council on the commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings, as well as its various responsibilities either in law or on the basis of intergovernmental agreements – also produces a rolling check-list of potential use to parliamentary committees in their ex-post scrutiny and evaluation role:
European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date
Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has been monitoring and analysing the European Council’s delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the rolling check-list, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.
European Commission follow-up to European Parliament requests
This is a new scrutiny tool which focuses on Parliamentary requests and subsequent actions taken by the Commission. It covers non-legislative resolutions adopted by the Parliament between July 2019 and December 2021, in the light of the response provided by the Commission, the subsequent follow-up documents and related actions undertaken by the Commission up to 31 January 2022. The publication is part of Parliament’s Strategic Execution Framework (2019-2021). The aim of this joint DG PRES and DG EPRS project on ‘Improved reporting on European Commission follow-up to European Parliament resolutions’ is to facilitate monitoring of the Commission’s follow-up to those resolutions.