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National Parliaments in EU Policy-Making: When Do They Make a Difference

Jalvingh, HJ; (2016) National Parliaments in EU Policy-Making: When Do They Make a Difference. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty introduced new roles for national parliaments in EU decision-making with the aim of increasing democratic legitimacy in the EU. One key role was deemed to be the ability to ensure governments represented the electorate when negotiating at EU level. This thesis explores under what conditions national parliaments employ their formal powers for this purpose. It does so by using a normative categorisation of political representation to frame an empirical analysis comparing two national parliaments (the House of Commons in the UK and the Second Chamber in the Netherlands). Each deploys its formal powers to control and influence government representatives in different ways – the first operates by empowering them as trustees, while the second tends to treat them as delegates. The thesis compares the impact of these two approaches over a number of case studies. The main theoretical argument suggests that the formal powers of both types are relevant, but their impact varies under different conditions (like party composition, salience and the Lisbon Treaty). The empirical part of the study consists of applying the descriptive categorisation of Pitkin’s political representation theory to the world as it is, and examining to what extent mechanisms of control and influence make NPs part of a delegatory or trusteeship model based upon commonly-used indicators. Secondly, it investigates under what conditions the government is most likely to be responsive to the NP. The outcome of the case studies shows that, notwithstanding their formal powers, national parliaments can act on either a delegatory or trusteeship model of representation depending on different circumstances. The conclusions of this research contribute to the literature on institutional adaptation and to the normative debate on political representation, but are equally relevant to EU policy-makers involved in future Treaty changes focusing on further developing the EU’s democratic legitimacy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: National Parliaments in EU Policy-Making: When Do They Make a Difference
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: EU policy-Making, National Parliaments, national governments, impact
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532687
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