The French Parliament: A European Scrutineer or National Actor?
31 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2012 Last revised: 18 Feb 2017
Date Written: December 2012
With the Treaty of Lisbon in force, the expectation for national parliaments to democratize EU decision making has risen tangibly. This raises the question of the relationship between them and the European Parliament, as two channels of EU legitimation. The main argument of this article is that, in circumstances of high political salience of EU initiatives, national parliaments can be deemed to be European actors, performing their constitutional functions within a broader EU legal order as direct counterparts of EU institutions. To demonstrate this, we delve into the French Parliament’s scrutiny of the Services Directive and the European External Action Service Decision, both of which have sparked strong reactions in many parliamentary corners of Europe. We focus on the role perceptions of the French MPs and senators in their ex ante monitoring of these two dossiers. The analysis reveals that political control is not always directed only at the Government but that EU institutions can be addressees of national parliamentary scrutiny.
Keywords: French Parliament, scrutiny, legitimacy, accountability, European Parliament, commission, services directive, European External Action Service
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