Parliament risks being undermined by too many ‘social accords’

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Parliament is undermining its own powers by translating wide-ranging agreements with third parties, such as the climate accord, into legislation, the government’s most senior advisory body said on Thursday.

The Council of State, which advises on new legislation from a legal perspective, made the comments in its 2018 annual report.

While it is sensible to sit round the table with unions, employers and consumer organisations – as happened with the climate agreement, energy agreement and housing agreement – the changing political arena will have an impact, the report said.

This means in some cases too much responsibility for policy is being taken away from politicians and legislation is being used to give legitimacy to agreements made with third parties. Parliament is no longer determining what is needed, but third party  organisations, the council said.

Shell and housing corporations, for example, represent their shareholders and members interests when discussing climate change or housing. And MPs must remember that ‘legislation is more than a compromise between various interest groups’, the NRC quoted the council as saying.

In addition, the quality of legislation is also being reduced by the focus on sub groups, rather than society in general, the council said.

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