Much Ado About Nothing? National Legislatures in the EU Constitutional Treaty
This article analyses the impact of the EU's new Constitutional Treaty on the parliaments of its member states, with specific focus on access to information and on monitoring compliance with the subsidiarity principle. The main argument of the article is that while the Constitutional Treaty will strengthen the position of the national legislatures in the EU policy process, this empowerment does not constitute a major departure from the present situation. National parliaments will have better access to EU documents, and these information rights improve the capacity of national parliaments to control their governments. National parliaments will also gain a collective role in overseeing the implementation of the subsidiarity principle, but the effects of this mechanism will probably remain modest. While national MPs have thus stronger constitutional rights to control their governments, the increased use of the open method of coordination and other forms of intergovernmental policy coordination at least partially undermine these positive developments. The article concludes by proposing a set of reforms that would enable national legislatures to make a stronger impact on EU politics.
national parliaments; accountability; Constitution for Europe; open coordination; subsidiarity; European Convention; political science
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