Problems of Compound Representation

Christopher Lord has published the chapter 'Problems of compound representation in the European Union after Lisbon' in a book which explains the redistribution of power in the post-Lisbon EU with a focus on the European Council.

President Barroso of the European Commission and President van Rompuy of the European Council are part of the EU's hydra-headed leadership (Photo: Colourbox.com)

The book 'The European Council and European Governance: The Commanding Heights of the EU' is edited by Fran├žois Foret and Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer.

About the book

In recent years, the failure of the constitutional process, the difficult ratification and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as the several crises affecting Europe have revitalized the debate on the nature of the European polity and the balance of powers in Brussels. This book explains the redistribution of power in the post-Lisbon EU with a focus on the European Council.

Reform of institutions and the creation of new political functions at the top of the European Union have raised fresh questions about leadership and accountability. This book argues that the European Union exhibits a political order with hierarchies, mechanisms of domination and legitimating narratives. As such, it can be understood by analysing what happens at its summit. Taking the European Council as the nexus of European political governance, contributors consider council and rotating presidencies' co-operation, rivalry and opposition. The book combines approaches through events, processes and political structures, issues and the biographical trajectories of actors and explores how the founding compromise of European integration between sovereignty and supranationality is affected by the evolving nature of this new European political model which aims to combine cooperation and integration.

Problems of compound representation after Lisbon

In his chapter, Christopher Lord discusses the 'double move' of the Lisbon Treaty which consists in confirming the Union's compound form of representation with multiple channels and institutions representing citizens at the EU level, while at the same time conferring responsibility for the strategic direction of the Union to just on of these bodies: the European Council. This move seems to 'introduce an element of hierarchy to a treaty that can otherwise be understood as a coherent attempt to move the Union closer to compound representation by simultaneously strengthening several of the institutions that could contribute to any compound: the European Parliament, national parliaments and the European Council'. Lord proposes some criteria that may help us answer the question whether these two elements are compatible.

He also draws lessons from the rest of the book both for compound representation and the challenge of reconciling it with the idea that the European Council should have 'strategic direction' of the Union.

Full info

Christopher Lord
'Problems of Compound Representation in the European Union After Lisbon'

In: The European Council and European Governance:
The Commanding Heights of the EU

Fran├žois Foret and Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer (eds)

Routledge, 2014
ISBN 978-0-415-85733-8

Published Jan. 7, 2014 1:21 PM - Last modified Jan. 7, 2014 2:30 PM