The Role of National Parliaments
Chapter 2: European integration and deparliamentarisation
European integration, or what is commonly referred to as ‘Europeanisation’, has resulted in the transfer of legislative competence from the national arena to the EU, with the EU assuming responsibility for regulating key economic and social policies. Europeanisation has created a shared policy and legislative agenda which Member States are bound to implement and which has resulted not only in new laws, but also in new practices for Member States and their institutions. The use of ‘hard’ law as a tool of harmonisation has, in recent years, been accompanied by the increased use of ‘soft’ law and policy co-ordination following the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda in 2000 and the more recent Agenda 2020 Programme. This less formal decision-making, which encompasses an exchange of policy ideas between Member States, has become an important instrument of Europeanisation through which non-mandatory policies have developed. Soft law has advanced Europeanisation because it enables the EU to embrace spontaneous realignment of national policy to correspond to a single EU model by facilitating peer-learning between some or all Member States. Europeanisation has necessitated a distinct governance framework at the centre of which is the ordinary legislative procedure. The main effect of this governance structure has been to transfer legislative powers to the EU institutions and restrict the capabilities of national institutions and actors. The legislative powers of the European Parliament have been enhanced and the technocratic nature of EU decision-making means that it is national ministers within the Council who agree legislation and not national parliaments.
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