Introducing a reform of the Danish EU scrutiny system will allow Denmark to maintain its leading position in safeguarding the democratic accountability of the EU.Since Denmark joined the then European Economic Community in (EEC) in 1973, the European affairs committee of the Folketing has exerted control over the EU policy of the government. Prior to leaving for negotiations in Brussels, a Danish minister must obtain a mandate over negotiation from the European affairs committee in order to be able to negotiate and to vote on behalf of Denmark. This arrangement has proved its strength for more than 30 years and has been an inspiration to other EU member states. But irrespective of this fact there is a need today for new ways of handling EU matters. The vast number of cases and the complexity of them require that, to maintain Denmark’s long tradition of exerting thorough democratic control over EU policies, the standing committees play a greater role. To put it quite simply, we shall draw on the great expertise of the standing committees to a far larger extent than hitherto. Furthermore, the government is obliged to brief the standing committees on its stance on a given EU proposal. This means that the standing committees will have a better basis for making their decisions and that they will get an opportunity to have real political discussions with the government on a new EU proposal at an early date. Finally, the government will be obliged to give the standing committees its view as to whether a given EU proposal respects the principle of subsidiarity. In other words, the government has to inform the standing committee in question as to whether it finds it expedient to make EU rules apply in an area that is under the sphere of competence of the committee.I am pleased with these new initiatives, as I feel very strongly that our parliament should deal with EU matters in the same comprehensive way as is the case with Danish legislation. Thus the standing committees must play a greater role in EU matters.Currently, we adopt laws in the EU which apply to the individual member states in precisely the same way as if the national parliament in question had adopted the laws. As it is the EU alone which may subsequently amend these laws, one can hardly turn a blind eye to the decision-making process. That is the reason why we should become more involved in EU matters at a very early stage. Formerly, it was primarily the European affairs committee of the Folketing which dealt with EU matters. But shortly before Christmas, the Folketing decided to alter the procedure so that its standing committees would come to participate more actively in the scrutiny of EU matters. In my opinion, this change will give Denmark a leading position in ensuring democratic accountability in the EU.To be precise, the standing orders of the Folketing have been amended so as to make it apparent that standing committees can deal with the EU matters related to their sphere of competence. At the time of its founding, the Danish European affairs committee was a new democratic instrument and we still need to prove today that we are forerunners in exerting democratic control. My vision is to place the Danish parliament in the group of parliaments that already today includes the standing committees in the scrutiny of EU matters.I might venture to add that the structure behind the reform has now been finalised and that it is up to the politicians to put actions behind the words of the reform in order to implement our ambitious goal.This is a responsibility which we should assume and which we will assume. By strengthening our parliamentary commitment to EU policy, we can contribute to reaching better EU decisions and also to making the EU more relevant and indeed closer to its citizens. Christian Mejdahl is speaker of the Danish parliament, the Folketing.