The European Parliament

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Publication Date 2003
ISBN 0-333-59873-3 (Hbk)
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Book abstract:

One of this book's aims is to 'locate' or identify the European Parliament (EP) from the study of legislatures. It assesses the three so-called 'universal' functions of legislatures: legitimation, linkage and decision-making, and asks questions about their relevance to both the EP and the European Union as a whole. These functions, the writers suggest, have varied over the years, and this shift needs to be acknowledged. The writers also argue that the EP needs to be understood in terms of the broader framework of EU governance.

Chapter one deals broadly with locating the EP in terms of legislature, legitimation and linkage, but also its status within the EU's system of governance. Chapter two explores the historical evolution of the EP, and chapter three scrutinises linkage, elections and legitimacy in more detail. Chapter four looks at linkage in terms of representation and MEPs, chapter five investigates party groups in the EP, and chapter six examines the internal organisation of the EP, with work, for instance, on speaking in tongues, the presidency, the bureau and the secretariat. Chapters seven, eight and nine involve work, respectively, on formal powers, such as legislative powers and budgetary powers, the problem of influence and decision-making, and the question of a parliamentary Europe.

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