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Is Informal Politics Undemocratic? Trilogues, Early Agreements and the Selection Model of Representation

Reh, C; (2014) Is Informal Politics Undemocratic? Trilogues, Early Agreements and the Selection Model of Representation. Journal of European Public Policy , 21 (6) 822 - 841. 10.1080/13501763.2014.910247. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the last two decades, the European Parliament (EP) has been empowered to make European Union (EU) legislation more inclusive, transparent and accountable. Yet, co-legislation has increased informalization and seclusion, as an ever-larger proportion of legislative acts is pre-agreed between Parliament and Council prior to first reading. This article asks under which conditions informalization is democratically problematic or tenable. So far, ‘early agreements’ have been criticized for their lack of transparency and accountability, their challenge to deliberation and inclusiveness, and their differential empowerment of ‘relais actors’. Little attention has been paid, however, to the representation of the parliamentary principal in trilogues. This article draws on Jane Mansbridge's selection model of representation to fill the gap; it argues that representation with a strong ‘selection core’ and a weak ‘sanction periphery’ is, prudentially, best-suited for bicameral bargaining, and it introduces normative standards that make the selection model democratically tenable. A close analysis of codecision's current practices and institutions shows that these fall short of ‘good deliberation at initial selection’ and of ‘narrative accountability’; ‘ease of maintenance and de-selection’ is approximated and ‘transparency in rationale’ is strengthened in the EP's 2012 Rules of Procedure. Future reform should, therefore, introduce two democratically crucial, yet hitherto neglected, measures: open deliberation about the appointment of rapporteurs; and reason-giving and justification (in addition to reporting back) by trilogue negotiators.

Type: Article
Title: Is Informal Politics Undemocratic? Trilogues, Early Agreements and the Selection Model of Representation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2014.910247
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13501763.2014.910247
Additional information: © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
Keywords: Codecision; legitimacy; selection model of representation; trilogues;
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1434264
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