The Free State of Bavaria is expressly committed to a united Europe. With the Constitutional Reform Act of 20 February 1998, decided by referendum, this state objective obtained constitutional status
in article 3a of the Bavarian Constitution.
The consequence of the increasing significance of European policy for the federal states and the extension of EU regulations and provisions to many areas of national law is that the Bavarian State Parliament too needs to give increasing attention to plans of the European Union. For this purpose, an "information committee on federal affairs and European issues" was set up by decision of the State Parliament as early as 1978.
Today, the Committee on Federal and European Affairs and Interregional Relations is one of the 14 permanent specialised committees of the State Parliament. The remit of the committee, which is currently staffed by 14 Members of Parliament, includes all of the general topics and matters surrounding the European Union, such as changes to its contractual basis, the expansion and financing of the EU, public services, international and regional cooperation etc.
In the event of new EU plans, the committee examines to what extent they are relevant to Bavaria and, if appropriate, arranges for consultation on them in the State Parliament. In particular, the committee examines all new EU legislation proposals as to whether they comply with the subsidiarity principle and, if appropriate, it urges the state government to assert concerns regarding subsidiarity in the Bundesrat. In this way, citizen closeness to the EU is also promoted.
Since 1 January 2014, the State Parliament has had the opportunity - in EU matters and according to the Bavarian Constitution – to bind the state government by law in its constitutional duties if its right of legislation is affected by the transfer of sovereign rights to the EU. If the right of legislation is affected by an EU plan, the state government must give significant consideration to any stance of the State Parliament. Further details on the state government’s involvement of the Bavarian State Parliament is regulated by the Parliament Involvement Act.
Since 2010, the Bavarian State Parliament has also maintained its own State Parliament Office in Brussels. This office informs the Bavarian State Parliament directly regarding the happenings in the European Union so that it can make effective use of its opportunities to voice its opinions.
Committee of the Regions (CoR)
An important EU body for introducing Bavarian interests to the European level is the Committee of the Regions (CoR). This advisory body, which currently has 353 members (thereof 24 from Germany and thereof, in turn, two from Bavaria) lends a voice to the particular concerns of the regions (i.e. for example the German federal states) and municipalities in the EU. It adopts a stance on EU plans with regional and municipal significance and is given a hearing by the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the European Parliament.
The Committee of the Regions Meeting of the Committee on Federal and European Affairs and Interregional Relations can take legal action against EU legal instruments that infringe upon the subsidiarity principle. The Free State of Bavaria is represented in the Committee of the Regions by the State Minister for European Affairs and Regional Relations and a Member of Parliament. Their deputies are members of the Bavarian State Parliament. Incidentally, the institution of the committee in 1994 was the result of a Bavarian initiative.