Continuity and Change
Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series
Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri
Brendan Donnelly and Milena Bigatto This chapter considers from a number of related perspectives the interaction between the recent enlargement of the European Union and the workings and role of the European Parliament (EP). It concludes that the objective impact of enlargement upon the Parliament has been slight, but that the Union’s enlargement has crystallized diﬀering views about the Union’s future, diﬀerences which bear and will continue to bear particularly on the development of the EP over the coming years. THE NEW PARLIAMENTARIANS The Quantitative Impact of Enlargement A number of factors have combined to ensure that the impact of the European Union’s enlargements in 2004 and 2007 would be less pronounced in the EP than in the European Commission or the Council of Ministers. The ﬁrst and most obvious – as the Parliament relates to the Council – is purely quantitative in nature. While at plenary meetings of the Commission the number of decision-making participants has increased since 2004 from 20 to 27 (plus 35 per cent) and the European Parliament’s membership has increased by around the same proportion as a result of those countries joining the Union in 2004 and 2007, from 570 to 785 (plus 38 per cent) (see Table 5.1), the Council’s plenary meetings now have 27 members, where previously they had 15, an increase of 80 per cent. The enlargements of 2004 and 2007 embraced a number of small and very small member states, the limited population of which is reﬂected in their representation...
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