Riigikogu and European Union
After Estonia’s accession to the European Union some of the legislative functions were lost by the Riigikogu and shifted to the EU level, where Estonia is presented by the Members of the Government of the Republic.
In order to compensate for such transfer of legislative power, the Riigikogu adopted Amendment to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure Act in March 2004. The amendments gave the parliament means to exercise parliamentary scrutiny of the actions of the executive on the EU level. It also provided for the inclusion of the legislative power into the EU decision-making process and internal EU co-ordination system of Estonia.
Riigikogu Rules of Procedure gave the EU Affairs Committee a status of a standing committee of the Riigikogu, however the EU Affairs Committee does not deal with the domestic legislation as the other, specialised standing committees of the Riigikogu do.
The European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (EUAC) has a decisive and coordinative function for dealing with the EU affairs within the Estonian parliament.
An annual EU- debatte is heldi n the plenary, where the Prime Minister gives an overview of the Government´s EU activities followed by a statement by the Chair of the EU Affairs Committee.
The EU Affairs Committee has 19 Members who are simultaneously Members in ohter sectorial-standing Committees, An addistional difference with ohter standing Commitees is the fact that Members of the Board of the Riigikogu can be Members of the EU Affairs Committee.
Until the amendments of the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure in March 2004, the Riigikogu had a special (select) European Affairs Committee (EAC) that inter alia monitored the Government’s actions in the pre- accession phase as well as the accession negotiations. The mandate of the EAC as well as the Riigikogu in general was not stipulated in legal acts, the scrutiny then relied primarily on good practices and customs.