The national parliaments in the European Union: a critical view on EU constitution-building

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Series Details No.50
Publication Date 2006
ISBN 90-411-2452-7
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The resounding popular rejection in France and the Netherlands of the proposed EU Constitutional Treaty has focused attention on the role played by national parliaments in the process of European integration. Recognizing the need for an in-depth critical analysis of the complex interrelations between national parliaments and the European Union, this book draws on political science research findings as well as concepts from European and comparative constitutional law to bring the relevant issues and problems into bold relief. Among the perspectives along which the presentation approaches the subject are the following:

how the heterogeneous group of 25 national parliaments can be sensibly addressed at EU level; the ways in which the various parliaments are currently dealing with European integration; inter-parliamentary cooperation; the idea of a third chamber of national parliamentarians at EU level; accountability of the EU Commission to national parliaments; and national parliaments as guardians of the principle of subsidiarity.

Although these perspectives clearly overlap, the author shows that it is nonetheless helpful to consider them one by one, because individual assessment of each element allows us to better evaluate what they eventually add up to. As a result, the reader gains a much more grounded sense of how far we can generalize about national parliaments, and of whether they can live up to the expectations of those who believe they deserve a greater role in the European Union.

This book is a landmark in the crucial endeavour that seeks to further the legitimacy and transparency of EU action and the efficiency of EU decisionmaking. As such it will be of value to policymakers at every level throughout Europe, as well as to academics.

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