The principle of subsidiarity means that legislative acts are adopted at the EU level only if the same objective cannot be achieved in a more efficient manner by passing legislation at the national or local level. The early warning mechanism, which was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, implies the possibility for national parliaments to adopt reasoned opinions in order to warn that a draft legislative act of the European Union does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity. The early warning mechanism allocates two votes to the national parliament of each Member State, which are distributed for bicameral parliaments in such a way that every chamber has one vote.
In practice, this means that any parliament or parliamentary chamber has the right to adopt a reasoned opinion, which is worth two votes in unicameral and one vote in bicameral parliaments. A reasoned opinion of the Croatian Parliament is worth two votes.
National parliaments of 28 EU Member States have a total of 56 votes.
Within the framework of the early warning mechanism, national parliaments have the yellow and orange card mechanisms at their disposal.
Yellow card - If reasoned opinions of national parliaments on an individual draft legislative act represent 1/3 of votes allocated to national parliaments (1/4 for draft legislation relating to the area of freedom, security and justice), the sponsor of the act must revise it and may retain, amend or withdraw it after preparing an explication. 19 votes must be collected to activate the yellow card mechanism in the EU28.
Orange card - If reasoned opinions of national parliaments represent at least a simple majority of votes allocated to national parliaments, the draft must be revised: if the Commission decides to retain it, its explication shall be submitted to the Council and the European Parliament together with the reasoned opinions of national parliaments. If the Council and the EP decide that the principle of subsidiarity has been infringed, the draft legislative act shall be withdrawn from the procedure. 29 votes must be collected to activate the orange card mechanism.
Monitoring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity
Direct submission of documents
All documents of the European Union are submitted directly to the Croatian Parliament by the European Commission, the EU Council and the European Parliament. Documents are made available to all Members of the Croatian Parliament.
Initiating the procedure of monitoring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity in the draft legislative acts of the European Union
On the basis of directly submitted draft legislative acts every single Member of Parliament, political group or working body of Parliament may initiate the procedure of monitoring compliance with the principle of subsidiarity.
The procedure is conducted by the European Affairs Committee. If it establishes that the principle of subsidiarity has been infringed, the European Affairs Committee shall adopt a reasoned opinion and submit it to the Speaker of Parliament. The Speaker of Parliament submits the reasoned opinion to the Government, the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission and to the Presidency of the EU Council.