National parliaments from eleven EU member states - the UK, Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Sweden, Romania and Slovenia - have now complained that plans for a European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO) breach the subsidiarity principle.
According to the Lisbon Treaty, the establishment of the EPPO requires unanimity, and the UK would have sought to opt out, but that also means that other EU countries could have pressed ahead with this without Britain.
So the move is still significant for a few reasons:
- It is another example of how national parliaments are increasingly pushing back against EU centralisation, and how little appetite there is for 'ever closer union' (the Commission's proposal was limited, with the prosecutor only being responsible for investigating fraud involving EU funds).
- It shows national parliaments can agree. In total, 15 chambers from eleven EU member states objected to the idea. Bear in mind that an objection raised by a chamber from a country whose parliament is unicameral (e.g. Sweden or Cyprus) counts as two votes. Therefore, to some extent, it counters the argument that a new 'red card' system allowing a group of national parliaments to block unwanted EU proposals - which we have supported for a while - would not work because national parliaments would not get their act together.