Domesticating the Democratic Deficit? The Role of National Parliaments and Parties in the EU’s System of Governance
Parliamentary Affairs, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 20, 2012
The Lisbon Treaty (LT) grounds the European Union (EU) in the principles of political equality and representative democracy. It also acknowledges the role national parliaments play in realizing these norms within the EU’s system of governance - the first time they have been mentioned in the main body of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) - and introduced the Early Warning Mechanism (EWM) as a means for national parliaments (NPs) to be involved in EU policymaking. This article analyses the normative and empirical connections between political equality and representative democracy at the domestic level, and the ways they are embodied in parliamentary elections between competing parties. It then assesses how far these links continue to operate in the domestic debate of EU affairs before undertaking a first evaluation of the use NPs have made of the Early Warning Mechanism (EWM). We argue that in many respects they have been undermined by the integration process, which has reduced the capacity of national representative institutions to perform the tasks assigned to them by the Treaty.
Keywords: democratic deficit, EU, national parliaments, parties, representation
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