European Union

Information on the institutions, legal bases, and participation of the National Council and the Federal Council in the field of the European Union.

The European Union (EU) is the result of a continuous integration process that commenced after the Second World War to ensure peace and prosperity throughout Europe. Today, the EU has 28 member states. When Austria joined the European Union in 1995, it relinquished certain legislative competences to the Union.

However, the Austrian Federal Constitutional Law and the Treaty of Lisbon grant the Austrian Parliament considerable rights to participate in the legislative process of the European Union. Directly elected Austrian Members of the European Parliament contribute to European legislation.


The right of the Austrian Parliament to take an active part in EU legislation is for the most part exercised by the EU Main Committee and the Standing Subcommittee on European Union Affairs of the National Council and by the EU Committee of the Federal Council.

These committees are empowered to instruct government members as to the position to adopt in respect of substantive negotiations at EU level. National parliaments may join forces to raise objections to EU projects within the scope of the subsidiarity control mechanism.

Here you will find information on the legal foundations, starting with the founding treaties including changes in core values. In addition, you will learn more about the legislative process and legal foundations for the enlargement of the European Union.


Participation of the National Council and the Federal Council

In the course of Austria's accession to the EU, the competence of the Parliament to legislate in certain policy areas was restricted. This is also referred to as the transfer of "sovereignty rights" to the EU. In many areas, therefore, the national Parliament can no longer decide alone. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU, as European legislators, adopt binding rules for all EU Member States (for more details, see Legislation in the EU). Nevertheless, the Austrian Parliament has many opportunities to participate.



Relations between the European Parliament and national parliaments have intensified over the years. Austrian Members of the National Council and the Federal Council regularly take part in parliamentary conferences of the European Parliament (EP) or the Parliament of the EU Presidency. On this page, you will find more detailed information on individual conferences of different working levels and thematic areas.