The Barroso Initiative: Window Dressing or Democracy Boost?

14 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012

See all articles by Davor Jancic

Davor Jancic

Queen Mary University of London

Date Written: January 27, 2012


This article carries out a multifaceted legal analysis of the so-called Barroso Initiative, which was commenced by the European Commission in September 2006 in order to involve national parliaments of the Member States in the process of EU policy making. The key motive underlying the Initiative is to enhance the parliamentary and democratic dimension of the Union. After examining the origins, nature, scope and purpose of the Initiative, we explain the distinction between the Barroso Initiative and the early warning mechanism. In an attempt to assess the practical effects of the Initiative, we probe into its operation and reception in the national parliaments of France, the United Kingdom and Portugal, as systems which represent different constitutional and political traditions and which thus exhibit different attitudes to European scrutiny. In particular, we inquire about the constitutional impact of the Initiative on the national parliament in question. The paper concludes that the Barroso Initiative is a welcome commitment whose potential for eradicating the democratic deficit is modest but nonetheless one worth actively engaging in.

Keywords: European Commission, national parliaments, legislature, scrutiny, subsidiarity, EU decision making, democratic deficit

Suggested Citation

Jancic, Davor, The Barroso Initiative: Window Dressing or Democracy Boost? (January 27, 2012). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 78-91, January 2012. Available at SSRN:

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