Building: 27SG Floor: First Room: 12
The ability of national parliaments to oversee European integration has undergone changes in the last decade. Institutional developments, specifically the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, have enhanced the role of national parliaments in day-to-day decision making processes at the EU level. National parliaments are considered to provide a link between the EU and domestic audiences, adding to the democratic legitimacy of the multi-level EU polity. Political developments such as the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, and geographical conflicts such as the Ukraine crisis – i.e. examples of EU-related emergency politics – constitute a challenge to established parliamentary scrutiny practices at the national level because this type of EU decision making is less predictable, more ad hoc and prone to improvisation than EU decision-making under the ordinary legislative procedure. For example, the decision to launch the Banking Union was taken at European Council level and the debate about the most sensitive elements took place in the informal Eurogroup. If national parliaments want to remain on top of these kind of developments, fixed routine scrutiny practices around regular Council meetings and waiting for Commission proposals, are not effective scrutiny strategies. In sum, the executive dominance of the European Council, and the rise of intergovernmental modes of decision making in situations of crises, might have undermined the capacity of parliaments to keep track of EU affairs. On the other hand, the fact that EU decision making has become more political controversial could have created more incentives for MPs to intensify their oversight of decisions of their national governments at the EU level. Whether MPs keep on focusing, because of fixed parliamentary routines, on day-to-day EU decision making and changes in EU Treaties, and/or focus on intergovernmental crisis decision-making is an empirical question we would like to address in this panel.