The European Parliament: a working parliament without a public?
Christopher Lord asks in this JLS article whether the distinction between a working and a debating parliament can help us understand how the European Parliament can contribute to the legitimacy of EU law-making.
This paper asks whether the distinction between a working and a debating parliament can help us understand how the European Parliament (EP) can contribute to the legitimacy of European Union (EU) law-making. The paper discusses normative standards, practical challenges and institutional choices the EP faces in developing as either a working or a debating parliament. It sketches the particular configuration of working and debating parliament the EP has developed. All this allows the paper to identify a predicament. Only by working alongside the Commission and Council in shaping the detail of legislation is the EP likely to provide the in-depth scrutiny needed for standards of public control and public justification where legislation is authored by complex modern bureaucracies with huge informational advantages over parliaments. On the other hand, the EP’s success in developing practices that allow it to work alongside the Commission and Council throughout the legislative process may have been at some cost to the development of its role as a visible forum of public debate which communicates the political system to the public, and explains and politicises political choices. The paper concludes with some broad lessons for how parliamentary participation in EU law-making should be distributed between the European and national parliaments.
The European Parliament: a Working Parliament without a Public?
The Journal of Legislative Studies, Online, March 2018
Open Access (link)