Legislative Regions after Lisbon: A New Role for Regional Assemblies?
The existence of regional parliaments with legislative competences is an important element of federal states. In addition, a number of regionalized states have devolved legislative competences to all or part of their regions to allow for expressions of regional diversity. Eight EU member states have regions with legislative competences: Germany, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Finland. In practice, however, many of the assemblies of these regions play only a weak legislative role compared to national parliaments. Bußjäger estimates that 85–90 per cent of all legislation was passed at the national level in Austria in 2005 (Bußjäger, 2010, p. 106). Sturm and Zimmermann-Steinhart estimate that this was the case for 75 per cent of all legislation in Germany (2005, p. 53, cited in Bußjäger, 2010, p. 106). In addition, the growing number of EU competences has further restricted this limited lawmaking function over time. Thus, Bußjäger estimates that about a quarter of laws passed by the Landtag of Vorarlberg between 2000 and 2004 were purely transposing European Union (EU) legislation, and that other laws were at least in part transposition laws.
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