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The Road Europe Travelled Along

The Evolution of the EEC/EU Institutions and Policies


Edited By Daniela Preda and Daniele Pasquinucci

This volume contains the proceedings of the international conference «The Road Europe Travelled Along. The Evolution of the EEC/EU Institutions and Policies», organized by the Associazione Universitaria di Studi Europei (AUSE) (European Community Studies Association – ECSA Italy) at the University of Siena in May 2008. The editors of this book hope it will contribute to the debate on an interpretative thesis which is widespread among scholars dealing with European integration.
This thesis holds that the political and institutional circuit of the European Community/Union should be entirely dependent on the nation-states. The immediate implication of this view is that the moments of crisis in the EEC/EU, as well as its periods of «relaunch», are due only to the will of and decisions made by the national states, more specifically their governments.
On the contrary, many of the essays in this book show that community institutions have also played an important role in the developments in the EEC/EU. From this point of view the evolution of the Community, and subsequently of the European Union, can be examined also by analyzing the gradual extension of its area of intervention, and thus through a study of its common policies and actions. Moreover, an interdisciplinary reflection on the rules, procedures and practices behind the community decision-making process would also be very important.
It would be extremely useful to examine the «weakness» or «effectiveness» of the decision-making mechanism, and to reconstruct the historical, political and legal reasons that have led to the evolution of this mechanism in order to have a better understanding of the historical-political path taken over the years by the European Community/Union.


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PART II THE EEC/EU INSTITUTIONS AND POLICIES 203 The Evolution of the European Parliament’s Role before the Direct Elections (1952-1979) Sandro GUERRIERI In assessing the role of the European Parliament, it is current – and at least to a certain degree required – practise to compare the powers attributed to it with those enjoyed by the national parliaments. The results of this comparison are not favourable to the supranational Assembly, as the traditional functions of the parliamentary institutions are exercised in an incomplete fashion: the political oversight over the European Commission is offset by scant control over the Council of Ministers; legislative powers do not cover all areas; and European voters are not called upon to pass their judgment on the choice of a government of Europe. But the comparison becomes less unfavourable to the European Parliament if we consider it diachronically as well, which allows us to see trends. In 1952, when the first European community parliamentary assembly – the ECSC Common Assembly – was formed, there was an abyss between the prerogatives of the member countries’ parliaments and those of the supranational representative body. Today, after 58 years, this gap has shrunk. Indeed, on the one hand, the national parliaments have had to face such difficult challenges as the growing role of the executive (the most conspicuous case being France’s passage to the Fifth Republic) and the internationalisation processes. On the other hand, over time, the European Parliament was able to considerably expand its functions: within the Community system, it is the...

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