Participation of the Länder (federal states) in EU affairs

The participation of the Länder in EU affairs is based on article 23 of the German constitution and several additional legislations and agreements between the Federal Government and the Länder. In one of these agreements (euzblg) the Länderbeobachter (federal states observer) is specifically referred to.

The Bundesrat gives statements on those EU proposals which are relevant for the Länder. The Federal Government is obliged to take these statements into consideration whenever a direct interest of the Länder is concerned.  In most cases negotiations on EU level are conducted by the Federal Government. Exceptions are policy areas like Education and Health which are under the responsibility of the Länder. In those cases negotiations can be conducted directly by a representative of the Länder.

About 300 appointed representatives of the Länder take part in committee meetings of the European Commission and the Council. Their duty is to supervise and observe negotiations from the federal states’ point of view and provide feedback to the Bundesrat. The function of the Länderbeobachter is a similar one. It observes and reports on negotiations in Council meetings. Thus the federal states are rapidly informed about all stages of negotiations at EU level.

When requested by the Bundesrat the Federal Government is legally obliged to file a claim with the EU legal institutions as established by the EC Treaty.