Scrutiny Toolbox

EPRS Scrutiny Toolbox

Policy CycleScrutiny 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

With a view to ’empowering through knowledge’, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has recently compiled and 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 updated basis, these check-lists so far cover the following seven 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;
  • European Commission follow-up to European Parliament requests,
  • follow-up to European Council conclusions;
  • implementation of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) within EMU; and
  • implementation of the provision of the Fiscal Compact Treaty.

The first five of these check-lists are produced by the Policy Cycle Unit and the last three by the European Council Oversight Unit, both within the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of EPRS.

Cumulatively, these eight check-lists already amount to about a thousand pages of often interactive text.


Review Clauses in EU Legislation: A Rolling Check-List

EU FlagA rolling check-list of review clauses in EU legislation, first published in August 2014, which provides parliamentary committees, for the first time, with a structured overview, by subject area and individual legislative act, of such clauses and the timelines for up-coming reviews and other reporting provisions in EU law. The first edition covered almost all legislative acts adopted during the Parliament’s seventh term (2009-14). The second and third editions (June and December 2015) now encompass, in addition, legislative acts adopted both during the current five-year term (2014-19) and during the sixth term (2004-09).

Review Clauses in EU Legislation: A Rolling Check-List (Fifth edition)

International Agreements – Review and Monitoring Clauses: A Rolling Check-List

FlagsA rolling check-list of review and monitoring clauses in international agreements, first produced in December 2015, which provides an overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses and management and implementation clauses, which are included in international agreements that have been concluded between the EU and third countries. The check-list is to be updated and expanded on a regular basis.

International Agreements – Review and Monitoring Clauses: A Rolling Check-List

Evaluation in the European Commission: Rolling Check-List and State of Play

logo-ce-horizontal-en-quadri-lrA rolling check-list on evaluation in the European Commission, which provides a comprehensive overview of on-going and planned ex-post evaluations of EU legislation and spending programmes conducted by the Commission, as well as the mechanisms underpinning them, bringing this information together in one place for the first time. This includes the monitoring of the implementation of the new internal guidelines on evaluation, which the Commission implemented in July 2015. This check-list will be updated at least annually.

Evaluation in the European Commission: Rolling Check-List and State of Play (2nd edition)

Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors: A Rolling Check-List of recent findings

European Court of Auditors

A rolling check-list of the findings of European Court of Auditors’ special reports, which presents a comprehensive overview of these reports, concentrating on those bearing on the annual EU discharge procedure. It summarises the main findings of each ECA special report and seeks to link them to the relevant debates and positions of the European Parliament, including, notably, the working documents of the Budgetary Control Committee, as well as to the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, and to individual Members’ questions.

Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors: A Rolling Check-List of recent findings

European Commission follow-up to European Parliament requests

logo-ce-horizontal-en-quadri-lrA new EPRS scrutiny tool which focuses on Parliamentary requests and subsequent actions taken by the Commission. It covers 97 resolutions from the start of the current mandate up to December 2015. These come from across parliamentary committees on a variety of topics. Since the Commission’s responses do not always follow a set pattern, as some address the requests in great detail while others only make general observations, the study tries to trace back concrete actions taken beyond the formal Commission reply.

European Commission follow-up to European Parliament requests


In addition to these five 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 three rolling check-lists 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

European Council logo

A rolling check-list of European Council conclusions, which lists all the European Council’s commitments or policy pronouncements, by subject area, since 2010 – showing the evolution of wording of each issue over time – and details the degree of their implementation of such commitments to date. The check-list was launched in June 2014, is updated four times a year, and is now in its seventh edition.

European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date (11th edition)

Country-Specific Recommendations: Scorecard for 2013 – How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments?

Implementation of the 2014 European SemesterA annual scorecard of Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs), which evaluates how far the EU Member States are meeting their European Council commitments in this field. This evaluates the implementation of the CSRs adopted by the EU Council of Finance Ministers (EcoFin Council) each year, following endorsement by the European Council, within the framework of the European Semester. The scorecard has been published annually since October 2014.

Country-Specific Recommendations – Scorecard for 2013: How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments? (Second edition)

Fiscal Compact Treaty: Scorecard for 2015 – How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments?

EUbanksA Fiscal Compact Treaty Scorecard offers a detailed analysis that seeks to assess how far participating EU Member States have met their commitments within the framework of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG).

Fiscal Compact Treaty: Scorecard for 2015: How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments?

 

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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