Preparing for the Debates

In the Commission you will be a member of the committee that has to decide whether to develop a draft law on the subject. Refer to what the Commission has to consider when deciding whether or not to draft a law.

For KS4 classes and above consider giving each pair of students one of the questions to consider, omitting the first and the last as being beyond what they may be expected to know or guess about:

  • Does it already exist or overlap with an existing law?
  • Is it something ''Brussels'' should get involved in?  or could be it be left to member states? This is the idea of subsidiarity.
  • What amount of support does it have, or is it likely to have, among the member states?
  • What will it cost to implement? (Students are not going to know this but could have an idea)
  • Will it make a difference?
  • How easily can it be enforced?
  • Who will benefit / be disadvantaged?
  • Does it fit with the priorities set by the current President of the Council?

If the committee decides that a new law is necessary, outline in a sentence or two what it should consist of. Simple language, no need for legal terms. The rapporteur could do this with guidance from the chairman.

Some things to think about when it comes to drafting new laws on either of these matters.

Safety on beaches: do you need more lifeguards?   better warnings about unsafe bathing?  more lifebelts?   ban on beaches where there have been drownings?    improved communication with rescue services?

Reduced speed limits on main roads:   what speed? 50 mph/ 80 kph? On all main roads? Higher speed on motorways? All vehicles including trucks?

How to enforce:   more speed cameras/ more police/ more CCTV?    Should the EU law set out the penalties, or leave that to member states?

Need to get everyone’s agreement by persuasion.

There is no voting in a Commission committee.

The next stage would be to send the draft to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers at the same time.