Accountability, Parliamentarism and Transparency in the EU
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Accountability, Parliamentarism and Transparency in the EU

The Role of National Parliaments

Adam Cygan

Adam Cygan analyses the impact of subsidiarity monitoring upon national parliaments and to what extent this provides new opportunities for national parliaments to be engaged in, and exert influence over, the EU legislative process. While the post-Lisbon position of national parliaments may have improved, this book questions whether national parliaments can really be considered as central actors in EU affairs. The author also queries whether subsidiarity monitoring has the capacity to create a collective bloc of horizontal actors which exert effective accountability over the EU legislative process.
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Chapter 4: The ordinary legislative process and national parliaments

The Role of National Parliaments

Adam Cygan


Chapters 2 and 3 considered how EU integration has impacted upon national parliaments. Chapter 2 highlighted how the process of Europeanisation has resulted in the transfer of significant competences to the EU from the Member States. This has led to criticisms that Europeanisation is the primary cause of a deparliamentarisation in the EU which has contributed to the democratic deficit. Chapter 3 examined how Treaty development has progressively recognised the democratic credentials of national parliaments which, through their own internal scrutiny mechanisms, have sought to exert some control over the executive within the EU legislative process. This leads to the inevitable question of whether the more prominent role of national parliaments in the EU, and especially their more recent role of undertaking subsidiarity monitoring, have improved democratic control over the EU institutions and law-making process. This chapter examines the operation of the ordinary legislative procedure and what this means for national parliaments, both in terms of their ability to scrutinise the executive and, in particular, to use the scrutiny reserves effectively. The primary issue for national parliaments is that as part of their oversight activities they need to ensure that ministerial accountability is upheld while simultaneously engaging in subsidiarity monitoring. This creates both practical and substantive challenges for national parliaments because there will, on occasion, undoubtedly be a divergence between securing ministerial accountability and benchmarking a legislative proposal against the principle of subsidiarity.

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