The Role of National Parliaments
Chapter 7: Accountability and legitimacy in a multi-level context
Prior to the Treaty of Maastricht there was no formal recognition within the Treaties of a multi-level governance structure which had de facto existed through the presence of strong regional government in several Member States, most notably Germany. Under the Treaty of Rome 1957 and the Single European Act 1986 the overriding purpose of European integration was economic integration through the harmonisation of the laws of Member States, and this process generally bypassed regional governance. In particular, this focus on economic integration by Member States failed to take into account that, in several Member States, for example Belgium and Germany, regional governance was a key constitu- tional component which assumed significant legislative responsibility and was charged with the task of implementing significant parts of EU legislation. This is because the internal constitutional arrangements of Belgium and Germany allocated constitutional guaranteed legislative competences to federal States. Since the Treaty of Maastricht an identifiable constitutional trend in many Member States has been to decentralise and create more formal structures of sub-national government1 and Chapter 2 highlighted how this has also been identified as a component part of deparliamentarisation.
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