A Budgetary Advance: The European Parliament's Growing Role in EU Foreign Policy
This paper raises the question of why member states of the European Union would be willing to share their powers in EU foreign policy with the Members of the European Parliament over whom they have little, if no control.
Based on observations of the EP’s growing influence in EU foreign policy, this paper raises the question of why Member States would be willing to share their powers with MEPs over whom they have little, if no control. It contributes to answer this question by focusing on the allegedly most potent power the EP has in the area of CFSP: its budgetary power. It asks how the EP has gained more influence in the CFSP through the budgetary process and how this can be explained. It is shown how the EP has managed to expand its rights to be informed and consulted on CFSP-matters in a series of agreements with the Council. However, the EP has become involved in the CFSP beyond what would be expected from these agreements. Moreover, there has been a fundamental change in the Council’s perception of the EP’s role in the CFSP and that the mode of interaction between the Council and the EP has changed accordingly. The article argues that while the concrete agreements are mainly a result of the EP’s bargaining tactics, the change in the Council’s perception of the EP’s influence in the CFSP was due to a process of constitutive learning. Changes in the Council’s behaviour and an emerging consensus on the principles underlying the EP’s new rights in the CFSP may be traced back to the arguments presented by the EP. This also explains why the Council has agreed to go beyond the intention of its agreements with the EP.