The Convention and the national parliamentary dimension
National parliaments, seeing their prerogatives threatened by accelerating European integration, have responded by a variety of strategies. This paper discusses divergent parliamentary responses in the light of recent Treaty revisions and the Convention’s reflections on future relations between institutions in the EU system.
It belongs to the conventional wisdom that national parliaments have increasingly lost in overall importance due to the evolution of the EU’s political system. By passing subsequent Treaty amendments and revisions they accepted shifts of competencies to the European level,which reduced their final say over major areas of traditional legislative powers and the political control over governments.The European Convention on the future of Europe induced a debate between the different levels of EU parliamentarism about the optimal loci and phases of parliamentary involvement in EU affairs. The major puzzle of this paper is, why and under which circumstances political actors promoted different forms of parliamentary participation in EU policy making. Furthermore, it discusses how national parliaments (re)-act and adapt to a dynamic institutional and procedural set-up, and in what manner parliamentary actors in different national and socio-political settings ‘acclimatise’ to common challenges, constraints and opportunities.
Given the growing salience of the EU system and its daily output, participation and involvement are vital issues for the overall weight and role of parliaments. It is of major importance for the legitimacy of the constitutional set-ups of the EU member states and of the Union itself. Whatever institutional arrangements will be taken it will tell us something about the future shape of the European polity in the broader sense.