New Perspectives from Legal and Political Theory
The Balancing Role of National Parliaments in Transforming the European Union. Towards a Parliamentary Polity?
The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 represents a serious step moving the EU away from the path of de-parliamentarisation, typical since its foundation, towards a path of re-parliamentarisation. This is done not only by strengthening the European Parliament, but also by providing national parliaments of the member states a more active role. This chapter aims to present how the recent treaty novelties regarding national parliaments affect the balance of power in the intergovernmental system of EU governance. On a more theoretical level, it explores how the shared European intellectual traditions on sovereignty have influenced these developments, and how they may further transform the EU from a dominantly intergovernmental into a parliamentary polity.
Even before entering into force on 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty had started to be commonly referred to as ‘the Treaty on Parliaments.’ One of the main reasons for this qualification was the inclusion of five articles (articles 3, 8.a, 8.c, 48 and 49) in the main treaty text referring to the national parliaments, with art. 8c as the most significant, for its central role in stipulating how ‘national parliaments contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union’ (now Art. 12 TEU).1 Until then, in almost sixty years of the EC/EU existence, national parliaments were absent from the main texts of the EC/EU treaties, and only implicitly referred to. In addition, for the first time, annexed to the Lisbon Treaty are two legally binding protocols that regulate...
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