The Evolving Roles of the European Parliament and of National Parliaments

Richard Corbett

in EU Law after Lisbon

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644322
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738173 | DOI:
The Evolving Roles of the European Parliament and of National Parliaments

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One of the defining features of the European Union is parliamentary involvement in its decision-taking procedures — a feature closely connected to some of the Union's other defining features, such as its lawmaking capacity, and also to early aspirations towards a more federal system. This involvement is twofold: first, having its own elected parliament — unique for an international structure — and through specific provisions in the Treaty (and a developing practice within Member States) to involve national parliaments. Initially, however, the involvement of parliaments was at the margins. The role of the European Parliament was essentially consultative, while the national parliaments had no recognized role under the Treaties and were, in most Member States, not heavily involved in European matters. This chapter gives a brief summary of how this has changed, notably through successive treaties that have taken the European Parliament from a talking shop to a co-legislature with the Council. It also describes the rights of COSAC, the declarations and subsequently protocols on national parliaments, culminating in the so-called ‘yellow card’ and ‘orange card’ procedures under the Treaty of Lisbon. It evaluates the likely effects of these changes. Mention is also made of the occasions when national parliaments and the European Parliament have worked together to seek changes to the EU system, notably the Parliamentary Assizes in Rome in 1990 and the 2002–03 Convention on the Future of Europe.

Keywords: European parliament; Member States’ Parliaments; COSAC; Treaty of Lisbon

Chapter.  6965 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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