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The fourth chapter deals with the ECJ’s present role in the EU’s political system and how its procedural and organisational law might need to be adapted to better reflect it. The chapter first explains how in recent years, notably through the Treaty of Lisbon, the ECJ’s mandate has been modified. It argues that the Court is no longer only concerned with ensuring the autonomy and effectiveness of EU law, but that it is also a democratic organ of the EU polity, whose decisions need to be responsive to EU citizens. To ensure democratic responsiveness, the chapter argues, the ECJ’s procedural and organisational law needs to be further developed. The chapter makes concrete proposals by applying the Treaty on European Union’s democratic principles to the ECJ’s procedural and organisational law. It discusses, among other things, the role of the European Parliament in selecting ECJ members the place of NGOs and civil society in ECJ proceedings, the interaction between the Advocate General and the judges, the composition of the ECJ’s chambers and the mechanism for case assignment and make suggestions how to better reflect the concern for the ECJ’s democratic responsiveness.
This chapter explores the key policy and law-making institutions in the EU – the European Parliament (the EP), the European Council (the EC), the Council of Ministers (the Council) and the European Commission (the Commission). The elements of the exploration will be taken from Article 13(2) TEU, where each institution is mandated to act ‘within the limits of the powers conferred on it in the Treaties, and in conformity with the procedures, conditions and objectives set out in them’. The chapter will outline the powers: what authority does each institution have, for what functions and how is it exercised? It will discuss their composition and identify supervisory relationships between the institutions.
Law-making is perhaps the most important function in a democracy. Laws regulate the content of products as well as behaviour and relationships of both the state and individuals. However, as important as the rules themselves is that they are followed. It is not just the rules themselves that are important but how they are made, for this secures their credibility. Laws need to be fair, clear and comprehensible and in addition made according to procedures that are seen to be legitimate. Legitimate procedures must underpin rule-making if laws are to be considered credible by the populace who must follow them. This chapter will explore the typology of laws made in the EU and the procedures by which they are made. The chapter begins with an exploration of the law-making procedures themselves, looking at the different procedures for legislative and non-legislative measures. It then sets these within the regulatory environment of the EU to discuss the democratic deficit and a potential alternative. Finally, it analyses the EU law-making environment from the perspective of Lani Guinier’s concept of an ‘electocracy’ – when viewed through this lens, does the EU look more legitimate?
Conventional multidimensional statistical models of roll call votes assume that legislators’ preferences are additively separable over dimensions. In this article, we introduce an item response model of roll call votes that allows for non-separability over latent dimensions. Conceptually, non-separability matters if outcomes over dimensions are related rather than independent in legislators’ decisions. Monte Carlo simulations highlight that separable item response models of roll call votes capture non-separability via correlated ideal points and higher salience of a primary dimension. We apply our model to the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament. In both settings, we find that legislators’ preferences over two basic dimensions are non-separable. These results have general implications for our understanding of legislative decision-making, as well as for empirical descriptions of preferences in legislatures.
The research objective of this article is to analyze the European Parliament’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of feminist governance. Feminist governance can either play a role in ensuring the inclusion of a gender perspective in crisis responses, or, quite the opposite, crises may weaken or sideline feminist governance. The empirical analysis focuses on two aspects of feminist governance: (1) a dedicated gender equality body and (2) gender mainstreaming. In addition to assessing the effectiveness of feminist governance, the analysis sheds light on the political struggles behind the policy positions. The article argues that feminist governance in the European Parliament was successful in inserting a gender perspective into the COVID-19 response. The article pinpoints the effects of the achievements of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and gender mainstreaming on gendering the pandemic crisis response.
To understand ‘Europe as a bureaucracy’, this chapter lays down a central principle underlying the EU’s bureaucracy – the notion of ‘institutional balance’. What is the EU’s institutional structure trying to balance? Answering this question is important to understanding how different institutions in the EU inter-relate. It also outlines the composition and powers of the main EU institutions and examines how these institutions produce law, examining the EU’s central decision-making process. As we will see, the practice of EU decision-making is often untransparent and complex. Yet these very features are difficult to avoid given the need to balance the different interests that have to be brought on board for EU policy to be both effective and legitimate. The EU’s bureaucracy creates inevitable trade-offs, the resolution of which depend on one’s normative view of what Europe is for.
Since the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament (EP) has considerably increased its competencies in European Union (EU) trade policy. At the same time, a ‘new generation’ of free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, and the agreement with Japan, have been negotiated by the European Commission. Although existing literature has tackled the process of the EP's institutional self-empowerment in this policy area, there is no systematic research investigating the lines of conflict within the EP over FTAs. Through a newly collected dataset of all EP plenary debates between 2009 and 2019 on six relevant FTAs, we extract EP Members’ (MEPs) preferences by means of a manual textual analysis. We then test the explanatory power of the two traditional lines of cleavages within the EP over MEPs stated preferences: position on the left-right axis and support for EU integration. We find that both these dimensions fundamentally shape the conflict in the EP over FTAs. The impact of these two ideological cleavages is magnified in the context of politicized FTAs, namely the TTIP and CETA. Through these findings, the paper significantly contributes to the research on competition in the EP and, more broadly, to the understanding of EU trade policy and its emerging politicization dynamics.
As in nearly all European Union (EU) policy areas, scholars have turned to analysing the role of national parliaments, in addition to that of the European Parliament (EP), in trade politics. Yet, there is limited understanding of how the parliamentarians at the two levels interact. This article fills the gap by conceptualizing these interactions as a continuum ranging between cooperation, coexistence and competition. We use this continuum to explore multilevel party interactions in EU trade talks and show how cooperation compels politicization – national parliamentarians mainly interact with their European colleagues in salient matters. However, we argue that the impact of politicization on multilevel relations between parliamentarians in the EP and national parliaments is conditioned by party-level factors. Hence, we account for how and why politicization triggers multilevel party cooperation across parliaments in the EU through ideological orientation, government position and policy preferences and show how this takes place in the case of trade.
Legal advisers working in the institutions of the European Union exercise significant power, but very little is known about their work. Notwithstanding the handful of cases where legal matters find their way into the news, legal advice remains invisible in EU policy making. For more than ten years Päivi Leino-Sandberg was a part of the invisible community of EU legal advisers, and participated in the exercise of their power. In this book, she shares her insights about how law and lawyers work in the EU institutions, and what their role and impact is on EU decisions from within the decision-making structure. She draws on interviews with over sixty EU lawyers and policymakers: legal experts who interpret the Treaties within the Institutions, draft legislation and defend the Institutions before the EU Court. Telling the true stories behind key negotiations, this book explores the interplay and tensions between legal requirements and political ambitions.
This article examines the contribution of the FILEF (Federazione Italiana Lavoratori Migranti e Famiglie) to the European debate on the human, social and civil rights of migrant workers during the 1970s. Through the project of an ‘International Statute of Migrant Workers’ Rights’, presented to the European Parliament in 1971, FILEF submitted a proposal for the reform of the 1968 Community Regulation on the Free Movement of Migrant Workers in Europe in order to extend to workers from non-European countries the same rights and protections accorded to those from the EEC area. The analysis is focused on the discussion around the proposal in the committees of the European Parliament as well as on the debate that developed within the transnational network of the FILEF during the international conferences organised by the Federation from the mid-1970s until the early 1980s.
Over the last decade, the EU’s fundamental values have been under threat at the national level, in particular among several Central and Eastern European states that joined the EU since 2004. During this time, the European People’s Party (EPP) has been criticized for its unwillingness to vote for measures that would sanction the Hungarian Fidesz government, one of its members, in breach of key democratic principles since 2010. In this paper, we seek to understand how cohesive the EPP group has been on fundamental values-related votes, how the position of EPP MEPs on these issues has evolved over time, and what explains intra-EPP disagreement on whether to accommodate fundamental values violators within the EU. To address these questions, we analyse the votes of EPP MEPs across 24 resolutions on the protection of EU fundamental values between 2011 and 2019. Our findings reveal below-average EPP cohesion on these votes, and a sharp increase in the tendency of EPP MEPs to support these resolutions over time. A number of factors explain the disagreements we find. While the EPP’s desire to maintain Fidesz within its ranks is central, this explanation does not offer a comprehensive account of the group’s accommodative behaviour. In particular, we find that ideological factors as well as the strategic interests of national governments at the EU level are central to understanding the positions of EPP MEPs, as well as the evolution of these positions over time. These results further our understanding of the nature of the obstacles to EU sanctions in fundamental values abuse cases, and the role of partisanship in fuelling EU inaction especially.
Previous research reports that parties in established European democracies learn from and emulate the successful election strategies of foreign incumbents, i.e., successful parties are influential abroad. We theorize that—in addition to incumbency (or success)—exchange takes place through transnational party alliances in the European Union. Relying on party manifesto data and spatial econometric analyses, we show that belonging to the same European Parliament (EP) party group enhances learning and emulation processes between national political parties. Estimated short- and long-term effects are approximately two and three times greater when foreign incumbents are in the same EP party group compared to other foreign incumbents. Our results have implications for our understanding of how transnational party groups influence national parties’ policy positions.
Members of Parliament have traditionally enjoyed different kinds of immunities; nowadays, these are openly criticized on several grounds. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently given a judgment on the inviolability of European Parliament’s members, which might be regarded as a milestone in its scarce case law on the matter: Oriol Junqueras Vies, Judgment of the Grand Chamber of December 19, 2019. This Article intends to summarize and comment on this decision, a preliminary reference requested by the Spanish Supreme Court in a notorious criminal procedure, connected with the suspended referendum on Catalonia’s independence. The CJEU reinforces the inviolability of Members of European Parliament (MEPs), thus strengthening the powers of this institution. However, the judgment perhaps fails to fully capture European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law and was rendered at a time when the controversy on Mr. Junqueras had arguably become outdated.
The European Union (EU) has its origins in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which was formed by six European countries in 1951. Since then, it has grown to 27 members through the accession of new Member States, and has increased its powers by adding new policy areas to its remit. At the time of writing, the EU is negotiating the first exit of a Member State after a majority of the UK electorate voted to leaving the EU on 23 June 2016 in a process that has come to be known as Brexit. The chapter explains the functions of the most important EU institutions (European Commission, Council of the EU, European Council, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice) and legal instruments (including directives and regulations). It proceeds by outlining the process of monetary integration, from the agreement in principle in 1969, to the creation of an internal market, and the adoption of the euro in 1999 by 11 Member States. The final section discusses steps towards financial integration, including the Financial Services Action Plan, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union.
We examine the debate around the creation, in the near term, of a World Parliamentary Assembly (WPA), a body intended to enhance the democratic character of the UN. Representing the interests of the global citizenry, a WPA could bring fresh perspectives on a broad array of unresolved global problems and become an effective catalyst for advancing processes of reform and transformation at the United Nations itself, playing a role in reinforcing democratic tendencies in the world, and fostering a new planetary ethos of an interdependent global community. Taking the evolution of the European Parliament as a model, several pathways to the setting up of a WPA are discussed, arguing that it would not be essential to have the consent of all states to get it launched. In time, as the WPA gained democratic legitimacy, it could be integrated into the international constitutional order, attached as an advisory body to the General Assembly. If UN Charter amendments enabling a system of weighted voting in the General Assembly are a longer-term goal, a WPA with extensive advisory powers would be a sensible preparatory step for the eventual emergence of a General Assembly with legislative powers.
A lack of political legitimacy undermines the ability of the European Union (EU) to resolve major crises and threatens the stability of the system as a whole. By integrating digital data into political processes, the EU seeks to base decision-making increasingly on sound empirical evidence. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) systems have the potential to increase political legitimacy by identifying pressing societal issues, forecasting potential policy outcomes, and evaluating policy effectiveness. This paper investigates how citizens’ perceptions of EU input, throughput, and output legitimacy are influenced by three distinct decision-making arrangements: (a) independent human decision-making by EU politicians; (b) independent algorithmic decision-making (ADM) by AI-based systems; and (c) hybrid decision-making (HyDM) by EU politicians and AI-based systems together. The results of a preregistered online experiment (n = 572) suggest that existing EU decision-making arrangements are still perceived as the most participatory and accessible for citizens (input legitimacy). However, regarding the decision-making process itself (throughput legitimacy) and its policy outcomes (output legitimacy), no difference was observed between the status quo and HyDM. Respondents tend to perceive ADM systems as the sole decision-maker to be illegitimate. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for (a) EU legitimacy and (b) data-driven policy-making and outlines (c) avenues for future research.
This article explores the consequences of quotas on the level of diversity observed in legislators’ professional and political experience. We examine how party system and electoral system features that are meant to favor female representation, such as gender quotas for candidate selection or placement mandates on electoral lists, affect the composition of legislatures by altering the mix of professional and political qualifications held by its members. Using data collected for all legislators initially seated to the current session of the European Parliament, one of the largest and most diverse democratically elected legislatures in the world, we find that quotas eliminate gendered differences in experience within the institution, particularly when used in conjunction with placement mandates that ensure female candidates are featured on electoral lists in viable positions. Electoral institutions can generally help to “level the playing field” between the backgrounds of men and women in elected office while increasing the presence of desirable qualities among European Parliament representatives of both genders.
This study assesses how political parties’ candidate selection strategies influence women’s descriptive parliamentary representation. Focusing on proportional elections, it explores what determines whether parties place women in viable list positions. Evaluating party rankings at the individual level, it directly examines a mechanism – party nomination – central to prevailing explanations of empirical patterns in women’s representation. Moreover, it jointly evaluates how incumbency and gender affect nomination. This study uses European Parliament elections to compare a plethora of parties, operating under numerous institutions, in the context of a single legislature. It finds that gender differences in candidate selection are largely explained by incumbency bias, although party ideology and female labor force participation help explain which parties prioritize the placement of novice women.
Since the late 2000s economic and immigration crises are testing the European Union (EU). Such challenges have opened up a period of radical change for the EU, among them, the Brexit referendum that will radically change EU’s geography. This turmoil is mirrored by the last European Parliament (EP) election results; extreme right- and left-wing parties succeeded in the electoral competition at the expense of their mainstream counterpart. These forces are generally labelled as ‘Eurosceptic’, even though the literature still lacks a clear-cut definition of Euroscepticism. Starting from this observation, this paper reviews the conceptual evolution of Euroscepticism, stressing its pros and cons and proposes a reconceptualization of it in terms of EU-opposition such that the objects of criticism are clearly identified as the EU-policies, the EU-elite, the EU-regime, and the EU-community. The paper applies ‘EU-opposition’ to examine empirically the activity of two ‘Eurosceptic’ parties in the EP: the Italian Five Stars Movement (FSM) and the British United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), using the speeches they deliver in the arena of the EP as the main source of data. From the analysis, it can be seen that UKIP and FSM are an odd couple working in the same party group in the EP, and the concept of EU-opposition is able to better disentangle UKIP and FSM’s criticism of the EU.
The European Parliament (EP) adopted, between 2004 and 2009, a series of resolutions calling for recognition of Communist crimes and commemoration of their victims. This article focuses on an overlooked aspect of anti-Communist activism, the awareness-raising activities carried out by some Central European Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to perpetuate the cause through networks that enable them to exchange institutional credibility, scientific legitimacy, and policy-oriented knowledge with Institutes of National Memory, parts of academia, and victims associations. Although they use the techniques of expertise and scandalization that are often effective in European institutions, these memory entrepreneurs have largely failed to further their claims in the European Union (EU) after 2009. In line with the turn toward “practice” in EU studies and the increased attention paid to agency in memory politics, this article contends that the conditions of production of their narrative of indictment of Communism accounts for this relative lack of success. Because their demands produced a strong polarization inside the EP while colliding with established Western patterns of remembrance, these MEPs’ reach remains limited to their Conservative peers from the former Eastern bloc. This weak national and ideological representativeness hinders their capacity to impose their vision of the socialist period in the European political space.