Clawing Back Lost Powers? Parliamentary Scrutiny of the Transposition of EU Social Policy Directives in the Netherlands

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Series Details Vol.37, No.4, July 2014, p750-768
Publication Date July 2014
ISSN 0140-2382
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For quite some time parliaments were seen as the losers of European integration. As a reaction, several parliaments have sought to exert more control over the executive branch in EU decision-making. An alternative venue for ‘clawing back’ these lost powers is by influencing the domestic transposition of EU policies. Surprisingly, this opportunity for greater parliamentary involvement has not received much scholarly attention.

Under what conditions do the parties in parliament engage in ex post scrutiny over transposition? To shed light on this question, this article provides a detailed study of scrutiny by the Dutch parliament over the transposition of two social policy directives, investigating four hypotheses regarding vote-seeking, policy-seeking and office-seeking incentives for parliamentary oversight. The analysis shows that the ex post scrutiny that takes place can mostly be summarised as low-profile scrutiny aimed at information-gathering and position-taking, especially by opposition parties.

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