Legitimising EU Policymaking: What role for National Parliaments?

Corina Stratulat, Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Thomas Fischer, Sonia Piedrafita

2014 BTTD Discussion Paper

Brussels 01/2014


The ‘euro crisis’ has sparked a renewed interest in how national parliaments can help to improve the democratic nature of European decision making. According to various treaties, assemblies in the Member States are now guaranteed a full spectrum of rights including access to information, participation and the ability to object to EU legislation.

The authors of this Discussion Paper argue that there is still room to refine and promote a more responsible use of existing instruments. Moreover, the possibility of adding new mechanisms to the available toolkit is part of the discussion on the topic but the authors warn that any proposals must be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis, especially in the context of the European economic governance reform process. Ultimately, according to the authors, the most straightforward and effective way for national parliaments to strengthen their direct involvement in EU policy formulation is to focus on building capacity to perform their two key domestic responsibilities: to hold their own governments to account, also on EU affairs, and to maintain the link with voters, including by communicating and debating ‘Europe’ at ‘home’.

This Discussion Paper was jointly prepared by Corina Stratulat and Janis A. Emmanouilidis (European Policy Centre), Thomas Fischer (Bertelsmann Stiftung) and Sonia Piedrafita (Centre for European Policy Studies) for the Brussels Think Tank Dialogue 2014.

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