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OPAL - Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty

The Focus of the Research Team at Maastricht University PDF Print E-mail

The Role of Parliamentary Administrations

Parliaments are more than the collective sum of their elected members - they rely on administrative structures and appointed officials in order to exercise their functions. Yet, the contributions of administrators to parliamentary decision-making processes are largely missing from the analysis of political processes. This strand of the OPAL project aims to fill this gap by developing an understanding of the role and nature of parliamentary administrations within the EU Member States.

In this vein, we provide a comparative analysis of different systems of civil servant support in EU affairs across the member state parliaments on the basis of new and original data collected from eight member states. We focus, in particular, on the extent to which the Lisbon Treaty has triggered reforms within national parliaments and on the effect that these reforms have on the effectiveness and bureaucratisation of parliamentary scrutiny of EU affairs.

This examination is complemented by an overview of all 28 Member States (including Croatia) where we provide insights not only into questions of the size of parliamentary administrations but whether the input of civil servants in EU affairs is legally regulated. In recognition of the emergence of multilevel democracy in the EU, the team also explores the ways in which the administrations of parliaments interact with, and are influenced by, political and bureaucratic actors at the European level.

Finally we point to the implications of these phenomena for the democratic process of the EU.

 

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