The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union
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The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change

Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri

How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.
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Chapter 5: The European Parliament and Enlargement

Brendan Donnelly and Milena Bigatto


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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