N° 59, 2018/1 – Member States’ parliaments facing the European challenge(s)
Edited by Diane Fromage and Kolja Raube
Diane Fromage et Kolja Raube – Introduction
This introductory article defines the framework of this special issue dedicated to the place of national parliaments in the European integration process today. It thus recalls that it was the Treaty of Lisbon that revolutionised the role of national parliaments, since they had hitherto largely remained on a secondary level. However, he stresses that this new order…
Cristina Fasone – Has Euro-crisis law affected the power balance in national parliaments?
This article addresses the recent changes affecting the internal organization of selected national parliaments following the adoption and implementation of Euro-crisis law. Euro-crisis law refers to the combined package of intergovernmental agreements and EU law measures that were adopted as a response to the Eurozone crisis. This article demonstrates that Euro-crisis law – in particular intergovernmental agreements, the European Semester and the Banking Union – has consolidated, if not enhanced, the competitive advantage of Budget/Finance Committees in the parliaments. Moreover, in parallel, the establishment of the European Semester and the Banking Union has strengthened the cooperation between these Committees and those on European affairs.
National parliament’s prerogatives in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice have been strengthened during the recent years. However, we still know little about parliamentary activities and scrutiny in this area. Through a quantitative analysis focused of all European national parliaments for the period 2010-2012, this article outlines and explains the empirical variation of parliamentary activities in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. The analysis shows, on the one hand, that this policy area is not leaving indifferent national parliaments. They do scrutinize European justice and home affairs policies. On the other hand, the article shows that parliamentary scrutiny of the European policies in this field can be explained by the institutional and technical capacities of national parliaments to exercise scrutiny, as well as by the willingness of the actors involved to make use of them.
Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, regional parliaments may be consulted by national parliaments in the framework of the Early Warning System to voice their opinion on European legislative proposals infringing the subsidiarity principle. Out of the eight Member States including regional parliaments, six States have a bicameral legislative system. This paper examines whether one of these two chambers, the second chamber, may be invested with the task of spokesperson of the regional parliaments’ interests. This question has to be analyzed, on the one hand, from a theoretical perspective, in light of the particularities of the second chambers, of their internal evaluation proceedings of European legislation and of the diversity of institutional mechanisms allowing regions to voice their opinions; and on the other hand, in analyzing the effective participation of both second chambers and regional parliaments in the Early Warning System.
Diane Fromage – National parliaments: European actors to be?
National parliaments were long absent from the European integration process. Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the economic and monetary crisis and the beginning of the Juncker presidency, an important intensification in national parliaments’ relationship to European institutions can be observed. This begs the question as to whether national parliaments have now become self-standing actors in European governance. The present analysis shows that relationships as they currently exist do not allow to qualify parliaments as ‘actors’, though they are undoubtedly more engaged in this domain than they were before.
How and when do Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) participate in EU policy-making in their national parliament? With the use of a unique survey (N = 150), we assess the attendance of MEPs in their national parliament’s European Affairs Committee (EAC). We find that MEPs attend EAC meetings more often when 1) the EAC is strong; 2) they have advanced participation opportunities; and 3) they are members of a large political party. Taken together, MEPs who stand a chance of influencing their national government’s position on EU affairs are more prone to attend the EAC meetings than MEPs who do not.
While academic literature has increasingly focused on the role of the EP and national parliaments with respect to European security policies, the effect of inter-parliamentary relations on the democratic legitimacy of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP) has only recently started to attract attention. Building on the differentiation between input, throughput and output legitimacy and the principles of ‘autonomy’ and ‘accountability’ as minimum requirements for legitimacy, we ask the question as to whether and to what extent the Conference contributes effectively to an enhanced legitimacy of CFSP and CSDP. Subsequently, we analyze the Conference and shed light on whether it does indeed make a valuable contribution to the quest for legitimacy in CFSP/CSDP.
This contribution, which concludes the special issue, provides some reflections regarding the way in which national parliaments manage and adapt to the numerous and particularly varied challenges posed by the European integration process. In particular, this work discusses two normally agreed upon assumptions about national parliaments being mainly passive institutions and appearing on the EU scene only with the Treaty of Lisbon. Subsequently, this work summarises some of the findings of the articles included in the special issues that shed new light on the many roles of national parliaments in the EU and on some of the main characteristics of their Europeanisation process. Their analyses follow different approaches, some adopting a political science methodology, others a legal approach; some focussing on a single area of policymaking, others addressing cross-sectorial topics; and some concentrating their comparative analysis on a small number of states, other on a reduced amount of years. Nevertheless, all works consider both the European and the national dimensions. Overall, the articles help to get a clearer although still incomplete overview of the effects of the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon attributing “European powers” to national parliaments, whose implementation took place while the EU was facing a series of crucial crises and deep transformations. It is argued that further research along the same path is still ahead. The research should possibly adopt the same methodology and focus on the regular institutional interaction between the EU and the national levels through the so-called “Euro-national parliamentary procedures”. In its last part, this article argues that the role of national parliaments in the future evolution of the European integration process, specifically in a more asymmetric Europe, is going to increase. However, it is far from clear through which institutional mechanism the democratic legitimacy resources of national parliaments might be used.
Delphine Deschaux-Dutard – André Dumoulin et Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, La politique européenne de sécurité et de défense commune. « Parce que l’Europe vaut bien une défense », Bruxelles, Éditions du Villard, 2017, 490 pages.