EPRS Scrutiny Toolbox
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?
See also our Topical Digest on the Rolling check-lists for scrutiny
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 basis, these check-lists so far cover the following six 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;
- follow-up to European Council conclusions; and
- implementation of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) within EMU.
The first four of these check-lists are produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit and the last two by the European Council Oversight Unit, both within the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of EPRS.
Cumulatively, these six check-lists already amount to thousands pages of often interactive text.
Review Clauses in EU Legislation: A Rolling Check-List
This 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. It includes all legislative acts adopted from 2004 to 2016 (during the sixth, seventh and the current, eighth, parliamentary term) that contain a review, evaluation, implementation and/or monitoring clause. The check-list is updated annually.
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 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. The check-list is updated annually.
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 2016 budgetary discharge procedure. to the check-list links the special reports’ research topics 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.
European Commission follow-up to European Parliament requests
A 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.
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
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 detailing the degree of 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 fourteenth edition.
Country-Specific Recommendations: Scorecard for 2013 – How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments?
A 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.
Fiscal Compact Treaty: Scorecard for 2015 – How far are EU Member States meeting their European Council commitments?
A 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).