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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, 472 draft

legislative acts have been sent to national parliaments for

subsidiarity scrutiny (European Parliament, 2014d: 2). Thus far,

the yellow card procedure under the Early Warning Mechanism of

the Treaty of Lisbon has been triggered only twice. On May 2012,

the procedure was triggered for the first time when 18 votes of

national parliaments out of 54 in EU-27 objected to the legislative

proposal regarding common EU rules on the right to strike


Monti II


Monti II

was controversial because it

restricted workers’ right to strike and was seen as a case of

“infiltration of competition law into national labor law,” raising

alarms among national parliaments that the regulation would

undermine the integrity of domestic labor markets and risk a race

to the bottom (Goldoni, 2014: 102-103). This yellow card resulted

in the withdrawal by the Commission of the

Monti II


Several factors contributed to the success of the triggering of the

first yellow card warning. The Danish parliament’s early decision

to oppose

Monti II

and encourage other national parliaments to do

the same played a key role. Once an alliance was formed, national

parliaments kept each other up to date about where the vote count

stood as the deadline approached through networks such as

COSAC (a twice-yearly meeting of EU affairs committees of

national parliaments and the EP) and NPRs (National Parliament

Representatives in Brussels) (Cooper, 2013: 2).

In September, three months after the issuance of the yellow

card, the Commission withdrew the

Monti II

proposal. The

manner with which the Commission withdrew the proposal,

however, raised some eyebrows. Rather than addressing

individually each of the 18 national parliaments which had filed

reasoned opinions, the Commission sent 18 identical letters. The

Commission insisted that the principle of subsidiarity had



infringed upon and stressed that it was withdrawing the proposal


because of the yellow card, but because the proposal was

unlikely to gain enough support in Parliament and the Council to