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OPAL - Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty

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New opportunity structures for the “unusual suspects”? Implications of the Early Warning System for the role of national parliaments within the EU system of governance

Christine Neuhold & Alexander Strelkov

Abstract: The Treaty of Lisbon upgrades the role of national parliaments in the European Union (EU) by foreseeing a number of mechanisms in order to contribute actively to the “good functioning of the Union”. One of the most notable provisions is the so-called Early Warning System (EWS), which has already been put to the test before the Treaty came into force. This contribution aims to assess first empirical experiences with this new mechanism. In this quest the concept of “opportunity structure” is used to assess the redistribution of power between the national level and the EU arena. The main argument is that a new opportunity structure empowers national parliaments that have thus far not played a pro-active role in EU affairs and as such provides new venues for their political action. These observations are based on an analysis of data of the “COSAC subsidiarity checks” and the IPEX database.

OPAL Online Paper No. 4/2012
ISBN: 978-90-818813-3-3

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