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OPAL - Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty

OPAL Online Paper No. 2/2012

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Les parlements nationaux et L’Union Européenne: De la reconnaissance à l’engagement

Alain Delcamp & François Sicard

Abstract: After the introduction of direct elections to the European Parliament, national parliaments seemed to be excluded from the European construction. The image of powerless “transposers” for a legislation, on which they did not have anything to say, was for a lot of observers the symbol for parliamentary decline. Even in France, on the eve of the Maastricht Treaty, it had not been easy to gain first control rights on the government’s EU policy in Brussels - against an unwilling executive and a reluctant president of the Constitutional Court. The signature of the Lisbon Treaty marks an acknowledgement of the need for democracy which has dominated debates for some time. As it was not possible to build Europe without its peoples, it seemed appropriate to give an institutionalised voice to those whose central function it is to represent them. This evolution is also the result of a pragmatic and diversified inter-parliamentary cooperation that accompanied the progressive incorporation of European issues into the agendas and the organisational structures of the parliamentary assemblies. The new opportunities are at the same time challenges for the national parliaments. They force them to strengthen and institutionalise further the existing structures for cooperation, or even to create new ones - for example for the control of the external action of the European Union and of the building-up of a European defense policy. All of this adds to the vertical relationship of the past a new horizontal one that will – together with the European Parliament – represent the double legitimacy, which Europe needs in order to account for its diversity and consequently to better affirm its unity.

OPAL Online Paper No. 2/2012
ISBN: 978-90-818813-1-9

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