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International Handbook on Informal Governance

International Handbook on Informal Governance

Elgar original reference

Edited by Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold

Acknowledging that governance relies not only on formal rules and institutions but to a significant degree also on informal practices and arrangements, this unique Handbook examines and analyses a wide variety of theoretical, conceptual and normative perspectives on informal governance.

Chapter 18: The European Parliament as a Driving Force in Informal Institution-building: The Hard Case of the EP’s Relation with the High Representative for the CFSP

Ben Crum

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Ben Crum* INTRODUCTION The position of the European Parliament (EP) in the institutional framework of the European Union (EU) is characterized by an everlasting gap between the powers it formally enjoys and those it aspires to. From its inception as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, the EP has had a world to win within the scope of the powers that member states pooled and delegated within the frameworks of European integration – or, more specifically, in comparison with the powers enjoyed by the Council of Ministers. Importantly, the formal powers of the EP have steadily increased. Especially in the series of treaty revision that led from the Single European Act (1986) to the EU treaties of Maastricht (1991), Amsterdam (1997), Nice (2000) and Lisbon (2007), every new treaty has involved an expansion of the powers of the EP. Still, certainly as far as the EP (EP 2009a) is concerned, this process is anything but complete and there remain numerous accounts on which its powers may be extended still. Hence, it comes as little surprise that the EP has been keen to expand its powers informally where it finds its formal powers reaching their limits. Notably, the EP features in some of the most celebrated examples of informal institution-building in the EU: the evolution of the codecision procedure and of the comitology procedures, and the development of the EP’s powers of executive oversight over the European Commission (Hix 2002; Farrell and Héritier 2003; Kietz...

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