Select Committee on European Scrutiny Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Lord Norton of Louth Professor of Government, University of Hull

  It is vital that the role of national parliaments is considered in the debate on the future of Europe. I therefore very much welcome the decision of the European Scrutiny Committee to conduct an inquiry into democracy and accountability in the EU and the role of national parliaments. This is in line with some excellent earlier inquiries undertaken by the Committee.[7]

  In order to give some structure to my comments, I address in turn each of the questions put in the invitation to submit evidence to the Committee. My response to some questions is designed to inform and, I hope, stimulate debate.

1.  What are the underlying reasons for the apparent "disconnection" between national electorates and the EU?

  I believe that there are two principal explanations for the disconnection, one largely though not wholly extraneous to the European Union and the other endogenous to the EU.

  The extraneous development is a growing alienation from established political activity, especially through support for and membership of political parties. Though some sections of society are clearly alienated from the political process, there has not necessarily been a decline in political activity per se. Rather, activity has taken a different form. Pressure groups now absorb the energies of people wanting to change public policy to a greater extent than ever before and, to some degree, at the expense of parties. Groups can target particular issues that excite the interest, and commitment, of followers in a way that catch-all political parties cannot. Political parties may also be their own worst enemies to the extent that there is a perception (and perceptions are important, even if they do not match the reality) that parties do not address issues of contemporary concern and are led by people who are not motivated by the public interest.

  This perception has fuelled a growing political cynicism. In some cases, parties have been seen as institutionally corrupt, leading in the case of Italy to the collapse of the established party political order. As I have said, perception is important. In the UK, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, in its first report in 1995, published a Gallup poll in which 64 per cent of those questioned believed that "most MPs make a lot of money by using public office improperly".[8] The percentage believing that they did so had increased notably since the mid-1980s. By international standards, political corruption in the UK is relatively rare and marginal, yet this negative perception is fairly widespread.

  Though the institutions of the EU maintain relations with a growing body of pressure groups,[9] and various Directorates-General have a reputation for being accessible, the EU is nonetheless a body dominated by politicians drawn usually from mainstream political parties in the Member States. If citizens have become increasingly disillusioned with mainstream politics, there is no reason to suppose that this does not also affect their perceptions of the EU. Indeed, the perception is exacerbated in the case of the EU by what may be termed the two c's: corruption and contempt.

  The events leading up to the resignation of the entire Santer Commission in 1999 and continuing stories of the mis-use of EU funds feed the view that corruption is not confined to national or local institutions. Indeed, the scale of fraud on the EU budget is a major problem. Criminologists have estimated that up to 10 per cent of the EU budget is lost to fraud; the official figure is about 1.4 per cent.[10] Even if the fault does not, or not always, lay with EU officials (only about 12 per cent of the budget is managed by Commission officials) the fact that it is the EU budget is bound to affect perceptions of EU institutions. Stories in the tabloid press of the allowances claimed by members of the European Parliament, and the cost of maintaining the Parliament, feed popular cynicism of politicians.

  The handling of EU treaty amendments also contributes to a feeling on the part of many electors that EU leaders, and indeed national leaders, are prone to adopt a contemptuous attitude towards those who disagree with them. The reaction to the rejection of the Maastricht treaty in the first Danish referendum in 1992, and to the rejection of the Nice treaty in the Irish referendum this year, was one that embodied, or appeared to embody, a "we know best" attitude. Whether one agrees with the outcomes of the referendums is not germane to the point I am making. It was not the outcome but the reaction to that outcome that contributed to a sense that political leaders within the EU were not necessarily prepared to listen to electors on the issue. In short, the EU has done nothing to counter distrust of politicians and, given the developments of recent years, has, if anything, fed it.

  The EU is thus tarred with the same brush as affects domestic politics. However, I would argue that negative attitudes are further compounded by a factor endogenous to the EU. A parliamentary form of government is common to the nation states of Western Europe.[11] Citizens elect their governments through elections to the national legislature. Citizens may not have a high regard for their elected politicians, but they know those politicians that head the government are there by reason of election, however imperfect in some cases the electoral process may be. The structure of the European Union is sui generis. It bears no relationship to the political systems with which people in the EU are familiar. When electors go the polls to elect members of the European Parliament (EP), they are not by their votes determining who will form the executive. The system of government thus lacks what Bernhard Wessels and Richard Katz have described as "input legitimacy": that is, "government by the people".[12] This absence of input legitimacy is at the root of the democratic deficit.

  Voters therefore see little point in connecting with the EU. Indeed, they are not likely to know how to connect, even if they wish to. Though there is some movement towards the creation of pan-European political parties, EP elections are still fought by national parties on the basis of national issues. There is still relatively little connection between citizens and members of the EP.[13] The complex array of decision-making procedures, variously changed under successive treaties, also render the process by which EU law is made a difficult one to follow, even for those engaged in the process. There is nothing in the structure of the EU to counter a widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics. That disillusionment is, if anything, reinforced by the two c's. It is not likely to abate at a time of economic recession.

  In addition to the formal structure of the EU, there are two compounding geographical factors. One is largely unavoidable, the other not. The first is the sheer distance of EU institutions from most citizens of the EU. Because the EU operates largely through Member States, there is usually no obvious local (as distinct from regional or national) EU presence in the form of offices or officials. For Swedes, Finns and Greeks, "Brussels" is very distant. Even if not that far away geographically, the EU still appears a distant entity to many.

  The other geographical factor is the split sites of the institutions of the EU, including the split between plenary and committee sessions of the EP. This is politically as well as financially damaging. There are no physical bodies that people equate clearly with "the EU" or with the European Parliament. National parliaments may not have much political power, but they are invested with political symbolism and are usually distinctive and recognisable buildings. Ask British citizens about Parliament and they will generally have a mental image of the Palace of Westminster. Ask them about the European Parliament and I doubt if they will have a distinct mental image of any particular structure. The position is even more confused in that there is now (since 1993) the capacity to hold plenary sessions in Brussels as well as Strasbourg. Where exactly is the seat of Parliament? And where is the seat of government? What mental image is there to equate with 10 Downing Street? There is, in the context of the EU, little to relate to.

  These extraneous and intrinsic factors combine to produce electorates that find little to connect with in the context of the EU. It is a distant set of structures that lacks the political accountability of national governments (through national parliaments) and has done nothing to free itself of the popular cynicism that now engulfs mainstream politics.

2.  How can decision making be made more open and government more accountable for the decisions they make in the Council? Is it essential for a more open and accountable EU that the Council meets in public when legislating?

  How one answers this question depends, in large measure, on whether you see the Council of Ministers as an executive decision-making body—the equivalent of a Cabinet—or as, in effect, a legislative second chamber. Some take the view that the Council should be and is a Cabinet, taking executive decisions, with each minister answerable to the home government and Parliament. On this view, the Commission is essentially a bureaucracy, comprising officials who are on tap rather than on top. Others see the Council as a legislative second chamber, with the EP as the first chamber and the Commission as the executive and essential driving force in the move toward closer Union.

  The case for opening up Council meetings is plausible one, ensuring that both the European Parliament and national parliaments are privy to what is going on. Most MEPs and members of national parliaments favour such openness.[14] It may be seen to have an especial appeal in the context of any inquiry by a British parliamentary body. The British Parliament is notable for the degree of transparency in its proceedings.[15] However, the Cabinet is not. The Cabinet is a small decision-making body. Ministers can reach comprises in a way that may not be possible if their deliberations are in the public domain. The contrast is significant. In essence, there is a trade-off between transparency (providing democratic accountability) and private deliberation (maximising negotiating effectiveness). Within Parliament there is no horse-trading to be done, so transparency comes at little cost. In Cabinet, as with other decision-making bodies, there is horse-trading to be done and opening up the process may therefore come at some cost. The Council of Ministers is a decision-making body. Should ministers attending the Council be open or should they preserve their negotiating effectiveness?

  The case for opening up the Council of Ministers is a strong one, especially viewed from the perspective of national Parliaments. Parliaments will know what the relevant minister is doing. It may, for the same reason, be unattractive from the perspective of national governments. They may wish to be free to negotiate privately. Opening up meetings may therefore be desirable but unachievable.

  If the case for openness is pursued, the wider potential consequences need to be considered. Insofar as proposals emanating from the Commission may be blocked by some members of the Council, under pressure from their respective parliaments, then it may be favoured by those who are critical of moves towards greater European integration. However, greater openness may constrain governments from doing deals and ministers may come to see their role as endorsing publicly the proposals put before them by the Commission. The latter may be the more likely outcome if national parliaments are not in a position to exercise the political will to constrain governments. Opening up Council meeting should therefore not be seen in isolation. If it is pursued, it should be allied with a strengthening of the role of national parliaments.

3.  What should the role of referendums be in the EU? How should the EU respond to national referendums, and could there be a role for Europe-wide referendums?

  Referendums are used widely in some countries and occasionally or not at all in others. In the history of the world, there have been some 800 or more referendums at national level, just over half of these being held in Switzerland.[16] There is no clear pattern or trend. They may be seen as democratic mechanisms but not necessarily liberal ones.

  Within the European Union, is not clear that there is a case for going beyond the existing position. Treaty amendments are subject to ratification by the Member States. Each is responsible for the means by which ratification takes place. Some (a minority) employ referendums as part of that process. This is a matter for each Member State and it is difficult to see the argument for encroachment on individual constitutional processes. I do not believe that there is a case for the EU to try to encourage or impose a uniform system. Any suggestion that treaty amendments be subject to an EU-wide referendum attracts the obvious objection that it would appear to be employed to overcome the opposition of majorities in individual Member States. Though an EU-wide referendum may produce a majority (at least among those voting) in favour of change, it may be at the expense of opposition within some Member States. This may engender a sense of hostility on the part of citizens opposed to ratification. It may also contribute to a wider sense of disconnection if citizens perceive that, even if they—at a national level—disagree with some change, their votes may be over-ridden by people from other countries. What is important here is not the outcome of a particular referendum but rather the realisation of what could happen.

  There are also practical limitations in seeking to introduce EU-wide referendums. The study by Butler and Ranney found that turnout in referendums tends to be lower than that for elections of candidates to public office. Though people (certainly in the UK) tend to believe that referendums are good in principle, this does not necessarily translate into voting when referendums are held.[17] If turnout in an EU-wide referendum is lower than that for EP elections, then the outcome may be determined by the votes of a committed minority rather than by the votes of a majority of citizens. Though it can be argued that non-voting citizens have no one to blame but themselves for outcomes they dislike, the danger is that they may feel alienated by the process.

  There is also the objection that referendums are not as effective in generating informed and nuanced debate as is possible within executive and legislative structures. It is also not clear what purpose, other than ratifying treaty amendments, EU-wide referendums could be used. Moving from national referendums to EU-wide referendums may not so much connect people with the EU but rather make them feel insignificant in a mass ballot. The sense of having an effect on outcomes is likely to be greater in a national referendum than in an EU-wide one. If the aim is to make people more connected, more involved, in the EU, then—possibly paradoxically—that is best achieved through a number of national referendums, with the results conveyed through national governments, than through an EU-wide one. Working through national referendums, or through any established national process for giving (or withholding) assent, will retain some sense of ownership of the process. Moving to EU-wide referendums for treaty ratification in the wake of national referendums rejecting treaty amendments would add to the sense that EU leaders take the view that decisions cannot be left to national electorates.

4.  Would election of the Commission or the President of the Commission either directly or by the European Parliament (a) be appropriate or (b) contribute to reconnecting electorates with the EU?

  The idea of having an elected President has been variously voiced. It was raised by Jacques Delors and is back on the political agenda. Election of the Commission, or the Commission President, either directly or indirectly, has an obvious attraction. As J. H. Weiler has noted, "The EU enjoys powers unparalleled by any other transnational entity. It is not a state, but in its powers it is pretty close."[18] There is an obvious case for insisting that its leaders are democratically accountable. As Joschka Fischer told Belgian MPs in May of last year, an elected President would "give Europe a recognisable political figure with real democratic legitimacy".[19] Furthermore, if indirectly elected through the EP (a proposal, not surprisingly, favoured by most MEPs),[20] the process would be closer to that with which electors are familiar in choosing their national governments. The Commission would be the equivalent of a Cabinet. The Council of Ministers could then assume a role akin to a second chamber.

  There is thus a prima facie case for considering election. So much for the positive response to the question. Let me turn immediately to the negative. I would suggest that election is not likely to re-connect the electorate with the EU. Indeed, there is a danger that it may contribute to a greater disconnection.

  One needs to establish a sense of political community—a European demos - as the basis for electing a set of political leaders rather than the other way round. Electing the EU President in the absence of a demos poses potential dangers. There is, as yet, not sufficient commonality, no sense of common belonging, among the peoples of Europe to sustain a sense of ownership of an elected leader or executive body. Only in the Treaty of Amsterdam were citizens of the Member States made citizens of the EU. Election may appear a step towards the goal of "an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe"[21] but the essential point to note here is that it is still the peoples of Europe, not the people of Europe. An elected President will claim electoral legitimacy and political powers commensurate with that legitimacy but operate in a context in which citizens in the different Member States feel no particular affinity with the person exercising those powers. The legitimacy of the President will not be rooted in an established political culture. That culture, even if taken at the minimal level of certain shared values,[22] has to be nurtured before election can be introduced as a means of connecting citizens with the EU. As Adrian Beresford Taylor argued in a Federal Trust pamphlet published last year, a European civil society is most likely to evolve from the bottom up, with pressure from a network of interests, rather than from top down attempts to create the forums for such a society.[23]

  There are also obvious political problems with the proposal. It is likely that critics of further European integration will see it as a move towards a United States of Europe. The election of the EU President would, in effect, confirm his or her position as the equivalent of a head of government. The proposal is thus unacceptable to those who adopt an intergovernmental view of the how the EU should be structured. It is also likely to be unacceptable to those who see the EU in terms of a consociational democracy. In such a democracy, élites co-operate in order to ensure stability. The election of the President would have the effect of taking power out of the hands of élites and giving it to a single body, militating against the flexibility, adaptability and collaboration among different bodies necessary to sustain a viable stable political system.

  Given the existence of what, in Ralf Dahrendorf's term, constitutes a cartel of élites, a practical problem is that those élites may be unwilling to give up power. Governments of some Member States will be wary of pursuing a proposal that will entail the diminution of their power exercised through the Council of Ministers and, indeed, the European Council. Members of national parliaments also view the proposal with some distrust: fewer than half of those questioned in one survey favoured election of the President by the EP.[24]

  It is thus not clear that there is the incentive at the élite or mass level to sustain the move towards the election of the EU President or Commission.

5.  Should there be any new institutional arrangements to give national parliaments a more important role in the EU, such as the Second Chamber proposed by the Prime Minister or involvement of national parliamentarians in the Council?

  It is difficult to see how new institutional arrangements—certainly new formal structures—can be introduced to give national parliaments a more important role in the EU. Though I believe that there is a powerful case for utilising national parliaments more effectively in the EU, not least as a means of connecting citizens with the political process within the Union, I do not believe some new body or bodies, such as a second chamber or a conference of the parliaments, is the way forward. There are two, linked objections to such a development.

  The first is a principled objection by the European Parliament and other supporters of greater European integration. The argument is that the European Parliament is the elected representative body at the EU-level and responsibility for giving or withholding assent to EU law should rest with it and not with national bodies that exist to call national governments to account. Survey data show that MEPs regard the EP as the body for conferring democratic legitimacy on the EU.[25] The second objection is a practical one. Any change has to occur in the context of institutional arrangements that are already in place. Established institutions are not likely to take a sympathetic view of bodies that challenge their power and authority. The European Parliament is opposed to the creation of a second chamber and was not sympathetic to the assises, or Conference of the Parliaments, held in 1990 and not convened since.

  Maurice Duverger advanced three arguments against a second chamber and these were embodied in a resolution adopted by the EP in 1990: an appointed chamber (like the pre-1979 appointed EP) would not be able to claim substantial powers; there is already a body representing the interests of the member states (the Council of Ministers) and one representing the interests of citizens (the EP); and "decision making would become even more complex and, therefore, less transparent".[26] The opposition of the EP to a second chamber is not confined to the EP. It is shared by a number of Member State governments. There are, as I have noted in my evidence to the House of Lords European Union Committee, other problems.[27] As the European Legislation Committee noted in its 28th Report in 1995-96, "for all practical purposes, the idea seems to be dead".[28] Though there are now high-level attempts to bring it to life, I question whether much can be achieved by doing so.

  There are also problems with creating any body that draws on the members of the parliaments of the Member States. It is difficult to ensure that members are representative of the home institutions. Representativeness is arguably a prerequisite for creating a body with any formal powers in the EU law-making process. The role of COSAC has been extended and now formally recognised but it is an advisory, information-sharing body. Given the problems of ensuring a representative body, it is difficult to see how it could be taken further. The larger the body, the greater the opportunity to ensure a representative membership, but the larger it is the more unwieldy it becomes. The smaller it is, the less able one is to ensure that it fairly represents the members of each of the 15 national parliaments. Enlargement will add further national parliaments to the total.

  There is a clearly a case for arguing that the role of national parliaments is principally, and certainly definitively, at the national level, ensuring that each has an input through the national government. However, this is not to argue that there is not a role for national parliaments at a trans-national level. The route to ensuring that national parliaments have some impact on EU decision-making is through self-generated multilateral or even bilateral contact between parliaments. New technology makes such contact possible. Information can be shared quickly.[29] If one parliament knows what another is doing and thinking, it is easier to influence governmental decision-making.

  The value of this approach can be illustrated by way of a practical example. In a recent Federal Trust publication, Dutch MEP Florus Wijsenbeek recounted the occasion when the European Parliament asked the Commission to delay adoption of a trade agreement with Romania (then still under Communist rule) and the relevant Commissioner had indicated that it would do so:

    The astonishment and even anger in the Parliament was great when a fortnight later the Council nonetheless approved the trade agreement with Romania. A request was sent out immediately to all national parliaments to question their governments about this. The reply turned out to be revealing. In five national parliaments the governments declared that they were against as well, but could not on their own resist the wish of eleven other member states. Mutual information was not speedy and accurate enough for the national parliaments to contradict this misrepresentation.[30]

  This points the way forward. Communication can be institutionalised but contact is essentially flexible. A national parliament can be in regular contact with other parliaments that are keen to maintain such contact. Not all may be. Some have parliamentary traditions and structures more geared to scrutiny of European documents than others,[31]31 though the use of European committees is now common.[32] This, I believe, offers a means of developing an influence within the EU. It allows a national parliament to be better informed, and knowledge is power. It strengthens the parliament in questioning government. Through national governments, decisions in the Council of Ministers can be influenced. Though an objection by one or two states may be insufficient to block a measure being decided under Qualified Majority Voting, contact between parliaments can enhance the capacity of several national parliaments to influence the actions of their ministers, sufficient to provide a blocking minority. Operating in isolation can leave a parliament at a distinct disadvantage, as our example shows.

  National parliaments are developing structured contacts through bodies such as COSAC. One or two, including the UK, have established national parliament offices in Brussels. There is a growing knowledge base on which to draw.[33] Contact between parliaments can be developed quickly, effectively and at relatively little cost. It also offers a flexible and parliament-based approach, operating independently of EU structures and not infringing the prerogatives of any body involved in the European law-making process. I believe that exploring voluntary co-operation is the most fruitful way forward for national parliaments. Nor need co-operation be confined to the parliaments of the existing Member States. Developing links with parliaments of the applicant states should also be pursued.

6.  What changes are needed to the EU's legislative process to facilitate democratic scrutiny before decisions are made? For example, is there adequate consultation at early enough stages; and should there be tougher rules on allowing time for scrutiny by national parliaments?

  There have been various developments that have strengthened parliaments in the EU legislative process. As a consequence of the Treaty of Amsterdam, co-decision has become the most used method of determining law. The EP is therefore a more significant actor than it has ever been before and, in practice, now influences legislative outputs in a way that most national parliaments do not. COSAC is proving a useful, albeit modest, means of sharing information among parliaments. Within the UK, parliamentary scrutiny has been extended to the second and third pillars. The need for exchange of information between national parliaments and the EU was recognised in one of the declarations appended to the Maastricht Treaty. There was also a recognition of the importance of encouraging "greater involvement of national Parliaments in the activities of the European Union". A protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam accepted that there should be six weeks between the text of a document being available in the appropriate language in every national capital and a decision on the document being taken in the Council. The need for such a gap had variously been argued by the European Legislation Committee.[34]

  These developments, though welcome, still leave a notable democratic deficit in the legislative process. The deficit is now marked at the level of the Member States. The declarations appended to the Maastricht Treaty proved to be dead letters. Though the capacity of the EP to have a voice in the process has been extended, many national parliaments still lack the capacity to influence government prior to meetings of the Council of Europe. Proposals for increasing the formal powers of national parliaments collectively (such as a second chamber, assises, joint committees with the EP, formal powers for COSAC)[35] are not likely to find political acceptance. Of those designed to increase collective influence without conferring new formal powers, then that of information sharing (as developed in my previous answer) offer a practical and politically acceptable way forward. It requires no collective agreement. Like-minded parliaments can collaborate in information sharing. The more that do so, the more likely it is that others will wish to join in.

  The principal strengthening of national parliaments in the legislative process of the EU must otherwise come in their relationship with their respective governments. There is a tendency to look for solutions at a collective level as a way of masking or ignoring the incapacity of parliaments to control or influence their own national executives. Some national parliaments exert some control over ministers prior to meetings of the Council of Ministers. Denmark is the most obvious and most cited case. Some of the newer Member States have stronger regimes of parliamentary supervision than longer-serving Member States. Two upper chambers, the House of Lords and the German Bundesrat, have reputations for undertaking informed scrutiny. They are exceptional. Overall, the picture is one of limited control.

  National parliaments have, therefore, to look at their relationships with their governments. Those relationships vary and there is no way that an EU solution can be imposed. The solution lies in the hands of individual parliaments. Information can be shared as to best practice (a central role of COSAC) and much more can be done to foster cross-national discussion and collaboration, but fundamentally it is the responsibility of each parliament to act. Crucial events in the development of the EU may evoke a similar response—the use of European committees became common in response to the White Paper on Completion of the Single Market and implementation of the Single European Act—but it is not clear what foreseeable change in the EU may provoke a common response. Enlargement may influence thinking though not necessarily prompt national parliaments to think and act in the same way.

  The core question for each national legislature, therefore, is not "what should national parliaments be doing?" but rather "what should this national parliament be doing?" This is not to say that the first question is not important, nor that the two are unrelated to one another. One of the things that each national legislature should be doing is to maintain greater and consistent contact with other legislatures. As I have argued, this is the most fruitful way of proceeding in terms of collective influence. Such collaboration may inform and strengthen each parliament in dealing with its own government. There is a general recognition among members of national parliaments that they are exercising too little supervision over their governments.[36] The relationship between parliament and the government at national level is fundamental and cannot be determined by bodies external to the country. It is a matter for each national parliament.

  In the context of the United Kingdom, there are a number of changes that can be made to strengthen Parliament's role in the scrutiny of European legislation. I chaired the Commission to Strengthen Parliament, which published its report, Strengthening Parliament, in July 2000. The report made a wide range of recommendations for strengthening Parliament in calling government to account.[37] On EU legislation, we recommended that the scrutiny reserve be embodied in statute. "This would provide some protection for the procedure and also make ministers much more wary about agreeing a proposal that has not been cleared from scrutiny."[38] We also recommended strengthening the link between European Standing Committees and the floor of the House. We favoured the motion put before the House being that agreed by the Committee. We also recommended that, where a European Standing Committee recommends that a minister does not agree to a proposal, the motion of the Committee should be debatable in the House for up to 60 minutes.[39]

  We also addressed the problem of "gold plating" of legislation by Departments. We quoted David Millar, who has served as an officer of the Westminster and European Parliaments, who told us that this practice "has done more harm to the UK's perceptions of the EU than any other bureaucratic failure of successive governments". The Select Committee on Agriculture drew attention to a good example of gold plating in its Fourth Report, 1999-2000, in looking at how the European Council Directive 96/61/EC on integrated pollution prevention and control had been implemented through the provisions of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, the Act providing for implementation at least three years ahead of the date given by the Directive.[40] The Commission favoured the proposal advanced by Lord Cranborne in his Parliamentary Government Bill. Under his proposals, a minister must certify, when introducing a Bill, which provisions are necessary to give effect to European legislation and identify the legislation concerned. A bill implementing European legislation should normally embody only provisions certified by the minister as necessary to implement European directives. Where a bill includes substantive items not certified as necessary, the Speaker or Lord Chairman of Committees shall direct that the Bill be divided into two separate Bills. We also recommended that similar provisions apply in respect of delegated legislation.

  These proposals may help prompt further reflection on parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislation. Structural and procedural changes are necessary if parliamentary scrutiny is to be strengthened but scrutiny itself can only be effective if parliamentarians themselves are prepared to sustain and use the mechanisms of scrutiny available to them. In other words, political will is an essentially condition of effective scrutiny. If MPs and peers are not interested, and are not prepared to make the effort to engage in such scrutiny, then well argued reports advancing sensible proposals for change will count for nothing.

7.  Could national parliaments play a greater role in informing the public about the EU and its activities, and in channelling the public's views to EU institutions?

  I believe that a case can be made for national parliaments fulfilling an informing role. It can be undertaken in such a way as to be both effective and acceptable.

  There are obvious problems if national parliaments serve simply as conduits for the transmission of material generated by the institutions of the EU. There are problems of duplication, wasted effort and of encountering opposition from those who are not favourably disposed towards further European integration. Material extolling the value of the EU and its procedure are likely to be attacked as propaganda. Nor are national parliaments geared to supplanting the role of schools and Universities in explaining and analysing the actual processes of government.

  However, where national parliaments have a role, and I believe a very constructive and educative role, is through their own scrutiny processes. The work of parliamentary committees dealing with EU affairs can be a valuable basis for informing citizens about the work of the EU. The activity of the European Union Committee of the House of Lords stands as a particularly fine example of what I have in mind. The reports of the committee, emanating usually from one of its six-sub-committees,[41] are invariably well informed and authoritative, embodying often a mass of material supplied by interested parties. They help inform the debate within the institutions of the EU as well as within Whitehall and Westminster. I believe that such reports could help form the basis of wider debate. Through them, one learns a great deal about the policy under review as well as about the processes of the EU. An understanding of processes comes especially from the inquiries undertaken by Sub-Committee E, dealing with law and institutions. It variously looks at different aspects of the structures and process of the EU. I served on the sub-committee for three years from 1998 until earlier this year. Among the several topics we considered during that time were comitology (producing the first full list of committees covered by comitology) and the Court of First Instance. Anyone reading those reports would be immeasurably better informed about the work of the EU.

  I appreciate that such inquiries, and the reports emanating from them, are not the basis for directly raising public awareness of EU institutions and their activities. I think, for that, one has to look to the education process and to the institutions of the EU themselves. However, national parliaments have a role to play in informing particular publics—those bodies and organisations affected by the work of the EU—and the mass media. Given the number of organisations affected by the EU, the potential effect is considerable. The work of parliament may have an important ripple effect, ensuring that knowledge may reach out through other organisations and the mass media to a wider audience.

  To achieve this, I believe two things need to be done. First, both Houses need to consider how the work of their committees can be rendered more accessible to a wider audience. In part, the problem is a presentational one. Committee reports are published in standard dull covers and usually comprise fairy dense text. They need to be made more attractive in design and layout. They also need to be disseminated much more widely. Putting committee reports on the Internet has been a step forward. (Reports of the Lords EU Committee, for example, get over 10,000 hits, from more than 1,600 users, each month.)[42] What is needed is a vigorous campaign to make potential users more aware of the published and Internet material available from Parliament. Parliament also needs to be more permissive in making copies of reports freely available. Prudence, in this context, is the enemy of knowledge.

  Second, it is important that the departmental select committees take a greater interest in EU affairs. Some committees, such as agriculture and environment, have given time to address EU issues but such consideration is relatively rare. As the Procedure Committee noted in 1989 (in recommending against a European "grand" committee), "the total amount of time and resources devoted to this subject does not appear to be very great".[43] Select committees should be encouraged to consider EU issues on a regular basis. They are in a position to undertake short but informed inquiries and to produce reports that inform and influence debate. Getting select committees to take a greater interest in EU affairs is justified on the grounds that important decisions affecting UK interests are taken in Brussels. By undertaking inquiries, committees have the potential to raise awareness among MPs, to influence deliberations in Brussels (indeed, in some cases, to set the agenda) and to inform a wider public, or rather attentive publics, as to what is going on within the EU.

  Select Committees may also serve as important conduits for the transmission of the views of the public (or, rather, particular publics) to EU institutions. This potential is already realised in the case of the Lords EU Committee. It occurs, of course, with departmental select committees in the Commons in addressing issues of domestic concern. Select committees already constitute an important magnet for representations from interested bodies outside Parliament. They are ideally placed to receive representations on EU matters and to take them into account in drawing up their reports. It is important that committees draw on a wide range of views—and do not confine themselves, as some do, to the "usual suspects"—if they are to engage the interest and support of as many relevant bodies as possible.

  Utilising parliamentary committees as means of transmitting the views of interested publics to the EU has a number of advantages. It allows groups to utilise national bodies with which they are likely to be familiar and have some affinity. It allows views particular to a group or groups in one country to be considered without being swamped by a larger body of groups in the rest of the EU. It allows views to be transmitted to EU institutions without impinging on the powers or prerogatives of those institutions. The input can be seen as helpful to such institutions rather than challenging their role within the legislative process. National parliaments can thus, through committees, play a greater, and constructive, role in the EU legislative process.

8.  What is the potential contribution of delimitation of competences, subsidiarity and variable-speed Europe to reducing any "disconnection" between electorates and political institutions? Would a clear statement of the EU's purpose help? What impact will enlargement have?

  There is clearly an argument for delimiting the competences of the EU. The EU suffers from its image as an encroaching Leviathan, a view fed by the comments of some figures within the EU, not least Jacques Delors when President of the Commission. The more policy areas are brought within the provisions of the treaties, and the greater the encroachment of new territory for the purpose of fulfilling EU objectives, the more this perception is fuelled. There is a case for making clear what the boundaries are, not least for the purpose of reducing fears that decision making is moving further away from the institutions to which people feel some attachment. The more the decision-making competences flow upward to the EU, the greater the danger people will feel disconnected from the process.

  How, though, to set those boundaries? Subsidiarity was seen, certainly by its progenitors, as a way of bringing decision-making closer to the people and ensuring that the EU took decisions which could be taken effectively only at EU level. The problem with subsidiarity was twofold. One was in terms of defining what it meant. Did it mean pushing powers down to national governments? Or did it mean taking decisions at the most appropriate level? The other problem was in terms of who decided at what level decisions should be taken. The decision is essentially a political one for the Council of Ministers. The substantive issue of subsidiarity, except to the extent that it overlaps with the principle of proportionality, may be non-justiciable or at least amenable only to limited judicial intervention.[44] Those people who are supposed to be limited by subsidiairity are themselves the ones deciding at what level decisions should be taken.

  A formal delimitation of competences poses certain political problems. If embodied within a document drawn in broad terms, it may not act as a sufficient constraint and may run the risk of being seen by critics as a form of EU constitution. The same problem applies to any statement of the EU's purpose. Furthermore, broad statements (as with "ever closer union") can create minefields of ambiguity and confusion. If drawn in very precise terms, such a document may be unacceptable to advocates of European integration if it limits the capacity of the EU to develop and achieve its treaty objectives. For the purpose of reducing any disconnection between electorates and the EU, a clear delimitation of competences may be attractive. This may involve a trade-off between the all-encompassing nature of the acquis communautaire and popular awareness of what the EU is not permitted to do.

  The concept of a two-speed or variable speed Europe is not new. It found expression in effect in the Tindemans Report in 1975 and, although rejected by national governments, nonetheless found de facto expression in the creation of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1979. Furthermore, treaties embody various derogations for particular countries. The Treaty of Amsterdam has also introduced, under Section V, scope for "flexibility" in closer co-operation among a majority of Member States. One could argue that a variable speed Europe is emerging in an unplanned manner.

  There is an argument that a variable-speed Europe may be desirable to reduce the disconnection between electorates and the EU. It can also be argued that it is necessary to enable the EU to progress following enlargement. A one-speed EU entails the danger of decisions being taken which are not acceptable to the citizens of all the Member States or of decisions being taken on the basis of general acceptance (the lowest-common denominator approach). Under the first, some citizens see decisions as going too far; under the latter, advocates of European integration would see them as not going far enough. A variable speed Europe also offers the capacity to integrate new Member States more effectively into the Union. New members in an enlarged Union may find it difficult to operate at the same level as the more powerful Member States. A variable speed approach may become more attractive as the EU becomes more heterogeneous.

  The larger the number of Member States, and the greater variety of cultures and aspirations, the greater the danger of a "one speed" Europe being a slow speed. Though Qualified Majority Voting enables a small number of Member States to be outvoted, the more the EU moves ahead on the basis of over-riding states through Qualified Majority Voting, the greater the danger of popular alienation. Though the practice is to try to proceed by consensus, enlargement may result in greater pressures to resort to QMV.

  Conversely, a variable speed Europe holds obvious dangers. It holds out the prospect of some countries becoming second-rank countries. There is the danger of an inner club, or what some Christian Democrat members of the Bundestag called in 1994 a "hard core", forging ahead on their own. It creates problems of decision making, since not all members may be able to claim an equal share in decision making, and has implications for the EU budget. The more countries move at different speeds, the greater the prospect of the EU becoming a largely incoherent entity.

  There are thus problems. One alternative to a two-speed or variable speed Europe is a Europe of concentric circles. The latter should not be confused with the former. The creation of a three-pillar European Union was a notable example of the concentric circles, or variable geometry, approach. The inner circle was the EC with the second and third pillar constituting outer circles. The attraction of this approach over a variable speed Europe is that it retains a position of equity among the Member States. None is excluded from the circles nor the decision-making process within each. There may thus be a case for exploring further whether co-operation can be encouraged. The attraction of the outer circles in the creation of the EU is that Member States retain in most cases the capacity to say "no". This provides the basis for reassuring citizens in each Member State that their views, expressed through their government, cannot be simply overridden.

9.  What contribution can be made by regional and local government and devolved institutions in the UK and elsewhere, and should the EU have any new institutional arrangements in this respect?

  Within the EU, there have been both top down and bottom up pressures favouring a growth of regionalism. Regional bodies play an important role in the EU, both in terms of input and as the recipient of EU funds. As Michael Keating and Liesbet Hooghe have written, "European integration and regionalism are two developments which are altering the architecture of the western European state. Their combined effects have created new forms of politics."[45] The concept of a Europe of regions has been variously discussed and advocated.[46] Regions have been recognised through the structures of the EU. At the instigation of Germany and Spain, the Maastricht Treaty established a Committee of the Regions. The EU deals with issues that are highly salient to regions. The Directorate-General dealing with regional policy is now a substantial bureaucracy. Regions have become important, both in practice and theory.

  Nonetheless, the impact of the region has to be seen in perspective. The nation state remains the essential unit within the EU. Regions generally operate through national governments, certainly not wholly but certainly largely so. About 85-90 per cent of Regional Development funds pass through national governments. Though some regional bodies have offices in Brussels, regional lobbies—as Keating and Hooghe note—are rarely powerful on their own.[47] They achieve more when they work with a national government. The role and concept of regions varies enormously between the Member States.[48] Not all Member States have a regional tier of government. The Committee of the Regions is an advisory body and has not established a particularly high profile among the institutions of the EU. Though there is some dynamic favouring greater regionalism within the EU, there are sceptical voices raised about the desirability of succumbing to such pressure.

  My own view is that the contribution by regional and local government is a matter for the Member States. Within the UK, the national government must remain the core body for dealing with EU affairs. Devolved institutions and local government can and do monitor developments in the EU and can seek to influence them, but there are practical problems with going beyond existing arrangements. Foremost here is the fact that, as we have asymmetrical devolution in the United Kingdom, it is impossible to ensure equity among the different parts of the UK in involvement in EU affairs.[49] That dictates the UK government acting on behalf of all parts of the United Kingdom.

  More fundamentally, I have a principled objection to any changes that encourage a further fragmentation in decision-making structures. The more layers of elected government one creates, the less accountable each one becomes and the greater the problem of attachment to, and sense of ownership of, a particular level of government. If one creates a Europe of the regions, or a Europe of local governments, each component part has a small or very small voice compared with the voice that one presently has through national governments. The more people crowded around the table, the less impact each one has.

  I can see the argument for giving people decision-making structures that are closer to them geographically than national government, and there have clearly been significant pressures in that direction, but there is a potential downside. Economically, in a Europe of the regions, less advantaged regions are likely to be the losers. Politically, the more power is pushed down and fragmented, and the more (consequently) national governments are weakened, the more the centre ("Brussels") is strengthened. Utilising regional and local government for the administration of EU projects may be administratively convenient, but strengthening sub-national levels of government may prove ultimately to the benefit of the Commission. This raises important concerns from the perspective of "connecting" people with the EU. If people feel part of a small entity in a large powerful EU, there is the danger that they will feel more, not less, disconnected from EU affairs. Though one EU Commissioner has argued that "regional policy might bring the EU nearer to the citizen",[50] my fear is that the effect may be precisely the opposite.

10.  What is the role of the European Parliament in promoting a more democratic EU? Is there scope for more co-operation between the European Parliament and national parliaments?

  The European Parliament has a number of proposals of its own, designed to strengthen its role in the law-making process and to provide a means for the views of citizens to affect legislative outcomes. Though the EP is, in many respects, more powerful than a typical national parliament, especially following the enactment of the Treaty of Amsterdam, it lacks many of the attributes of a parliament. It is pushing hard to acquire those attributes.

  Rather than going over ground already trodden by the EP and others, I wish to provide a slightly different focus. The proposals advanced by the EP and others tend to fall within the context of parliament-executive relations. The question asked is how can the parliament more effectively call the executive to account? Relatively little attention is given to strengthening the EP in the context of parliament-citizen relations. Given the disconnection between citizens and the EU, this relationship deserves serious and immediate attention. Even if the EP does a good job in scrutinising and influencing the executive, citizens will not necessarily feel connected with the EU if they themselves feel detached from the process. Contact with their elected representatives provides a means of contact and hence awareness of what is going on.

  Identifying the need for strengthening the citizen-EP link is easier than producing a solution. Giving the EP greater resources to promote the EP to electors is not necessarily the answer. Indeed, it may be counter-productive. In this context, it is what MEPs do rather than what they say that is important. Extolling the virtues of the EP, or the EU generally, may not attract a positive reaction if it does not square with what citizens are experiencing. The essential investment necessary is one of time and effort.

  Links between MEPs and constituents are not well developed. In part, this is a consequence of electoral systems and the size of electoral districts under those systems. MEPs do not usually represent small, well-defined communities. Not altogether unrelated, it is also a consequence of political culture. Within the UK, the expectation that MPs will be active on behalf of constituents is now an established element of the political culture.[51] In most other Member States, there is no such culture. If citizens are to feel a connection with the EU, then there needs to be a culture shift.

  One modest step in this direction would be to introduce training for MEPs, if necessary providing information and, in effect, best practice advice from those countries with constituency-based electoral systems. This is a modest proposal and one that falls principally within the responsibility of the EP itself. The EP also has some in-house resources in the form of those MEPs who have previously served as constituency representatives in national parliaments.

  Encouraging MEPs to be active in their (sometimes mass) constituencies addresses the supply side of the equation. Letting constituents know what MEPs can do for them addresses, in part, the demand side. Sponsoring campaigns to let citizens know what MEPs (or, better still, what MEPs and MPs) can do for them may be more productive than telling people what the EU can do for them. The EU is a set of institutions, somewhat distant; MEPs are real people, elected by the citizens. Raising awareness of what MEPs can do for constituents—and encouraging contact between them—may do more than previous campaigns have done to help connect electorates with the EU.

  These are modest proposals relative to the task at hand. They are also open to the objection that they derive from a particular (in this case, a UK) view of MP-citizen relations. There is also the problem that excessive demand made of parliamentarians can (as in Ireland) over-burden the MP and undermine rather than increase popular support for the institution of parliament. Nonetheless, I believe we can learn from the experience of Member States and encourage greater contact between citizens and MEPs. The nature and extent of MEP responsiveness will largely determine whether citizens believe MEPs are doing a good job. Evidence from the UK suggests that positive evaluations of the local MP do not feed necessarily into evaluations of the institution of the parliament itself. Nonetheless, encouraging more positive evaluations of the work of MEPs may be seen as a modest starting point toward connecting citizens with the EU.

  Is there scope for greater co-operation between the European Parliament and national parliaments? There is clearly substantial scope. There is already some co-operation, though the extent of it varies from parliament to parliament. However, there is some wariness between members of national parliaments, even in some countries strongly committed to further EU integration, and MEPs. Each tends to fear the other is seeking to encroach on its domain. MEPs view the EP as the principal source of democratic legitimation of the EU. Members of national parliaments put the emphasis on joint EP/national parliament (or only national parliament) legitimation.[52] This wariness is understandable. The beneficiaries of it are the Council, Commission and national governments, since it reduces the capacity for effective co-operation in challenging executive actions.

  I have already outlined the value of what may be termed co-operation between national parliaments. There is a similar value in co-operation between the EP and national parliaments. The EP is privy to information and sources that may be of value to national parliaments. The EP is attuned to the speed and intricacies of a highly complex legislative process. Conversely, national parliaments can exert influence at a pre-legislative stage. They may undertake inquiries that can inform debate. The reports of the House of Lords European Union Committee are notable examples, both qualitatively and quantitatively, of what can be done in this respect. Though COSAC is valuable is an information-sharing body, it meets only twice a year. In the UK case, visits to Brussels by the officers of the Commons Scrutiny Committee and Lords EU Committee are not frequent. Information needs to be shared on a constant basis if parliaments are to keen abreast of developments within the EU and, indeed, within the Member States. Some contact between the EP and national parliaments is already institutionalised but there is scope for national parliaments to devote more resources to monitoring events in the EP and to developing contacts with MEPs. Again, as with contact between national parliaments, contact may need to be flexible, depending on the culture and interests of the several national parliaments. I see such development as part and parcel of the process of developing links between national parliaments. The need to develop links horizontally (between national parliaments) is perhaps greater than the need to develop vertical co-operation (between national parliaments and the EP), given that the latter is a little further advanced, but there is considerable scope for national parliaments to take further their links with the EP. Such links will reinforce the capacity of each to call executives to account. That, by itself, may not contribute greatly to popular awareness and encourage a greater connection with the EU, but it will make for a healthier system, or systems, of representative government.

11.  How should the debate on the future of Europe be conducted, eg should there be a convention, and if so, how could it be made representative and how should it operate?

  One needs to address the future of Europe in the context of the response to the first question: that is, the disconnection between national electorates and the EU. If people are disinterested in mainstream politics and in the activities of the EU, how then does one get them to engage in a debate on that in which they have no great interest?

  It is essential to ensure that there is a thorough debate within each Member State. To focus on some collective deliberation draws attention away from that essential need. It must be for each Member State to decide the best method of gathering views but one obvious medium is the national parliament. It is an established and representative body. It is difficult to see how a more representative body can be crafted. However, given popular disaffection with established processes, it is essential that the debate is not an insular one. It is important that as many bodies as possible are drawn into the debate, including those not usually consulted, and given the opportunity to make their views heard. The value of the national parliament is that it should be able to draw those views together and act both as a safety valve and as a conduit. One possible way to proceed in the British context would be to appoint a (reasonably large) select committee, possibly a joint committee of both Houses, to take evidence—possibly on a peripatetic basis, going to different parts of the UK—and for it to produce a full report that can then be the basis of full and, if necessary, extended debate in both Houses.

  At the EU level, it is difficult to identify the best medium for discussing the views expressed in the different Member States. It is easier to identify the problems with proposals that have been advanced. When members of national parliaments are drawn together, there is the problem—as we have seen—of ensuring that it is representative of the views of the home institutions. The problems of having a convention, or a conference of the parliaments, were demonstrated by the assises in 1990. If a similar exercise were to be undertaken, it would need to be independent of the EP, though creating the conditions for neutral leadership may prove difficult. I am not averse to a conference of the parliaments, but I recognise the problems that attach to it. It may serve to complement the existing structures, though the most effective means of conveying opinions may be through national parliaments making their views known to their governments.

  There may also be a case for exploring some bilateral, possibly multilateral, gatherings of members of national parliaments to discuss the future of Europe. Such gatherings would be essentially informal (and obviously advisory) but could help foster contact between parliaments and by drawing together members from two or three parliaments at a time can draw on a larger number of parliamentarians from each country than would be possible in a meeting drawing on members of all 15 national parliaments. It would also serve to build the sort of ties between national parliaments that I believe constitutes the way forward for national parliaments in the European Union.


  The future of Europe cannot be considered in a vacuum. It has to take into account what exists. However much one craves the ideal, it cannot be divorced from the real. That entails taking account of the views of the peoples of Europe as well as of those occupying political office. If people are to be connected to the EU, the gap between elite and mass views cannot afford to be too wide. Leadership may take place from the front, but it entails carrying people with you, not leaving them simply to follow. New structures and new directions have to be discussed and agreed, not imposed. At the same time, one has to recognise the political realities of what is, and what is not, achievable. As I have touched upon already, a second chamber composed of members of the national parliaments may be desirable in principle but impossible to achieve in practice. The chances of mobilising the political support necessary for its creation, and for its sustenance, are slim.

  Given this, I believe that a substantial burden falls on national parliaments. They are in a position to ensure that people are more connected with the EU and its activities. They can serve as channels between citizens and the EU and between the EU and citizens. The EP can also claim such a role, but that which I have advanced for national parliaments is a non-threatening one and can develop independently of the EP. Citizens of each Member State have ownership of their parliament and can utilise them to effect. Whether they do so depends on them and on the parliament. There is no guarantee that each national parliament will carve out an effective role and there is no way that they can be forced to do so. Nonetheless, advances can and should be made by those national parliaments that recognise the potential to inform and influence decision-making within the EU.

  I believe that the way forward is through information exchange between parliaments and through building links between like-minded parliaments. This is a flexible, informal and mutually beneficial way of proceeding. It strengthens parliaments in dealing with their own governments and, through their governments, in influencing EU law making. How each national parliament ensures that it is able to influence ministers attending the Council of Ministers, and to call government to account for its actions in the Council, is a matter for each parliament. I have, drawing on the report of the Commission to Strengthen Parliament, outlined ways in which the UK parliament can be more effective in the scrutiny of EU legislation. Parliament already does a good job, but it could do an ever better one.

  I appreciate that my proposals for national parliaments may not be radical or particularly novel. They may seem insignificant in the context of the wider debate about the future of Europe. My proposals are, though, premised on the recognition that national parliaments are the core representative institution in each Member State, that they offer scope for a greater connection between citizens and the EU, and that the way to move forward is not by embracing proposals that stand little or no chance of being accepted and implemented. If national parliaments are to play a role, it is up to them to take the initiative, individually and in collaboration with like-minded parliaments. What is needed is not a grand scheme but modest—and real—action.

7   For example: The 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference: The Agenda, Democracy and Efficiency, The Role of National Parliaments, 24th Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation, Session 1994-95, HC 239-I. The Scrutiny of European Business, 27th Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation, Session 1995-96, HC 51-xxvii. The Role of National Parliaments in the European Union, 28th Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation, Session 1995-96, HC 51-xxviii. Back

8   Standards in Public Life, First Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Vol 1: Report, Cm 2850-I, 1995, p 108. Back

9   S Mazey and J Richardson (eds), Lobbying in the European Community (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993); J Greenwood, Representing Interests in the European Union (London: Macmillan, 1997). Back

10   Prosecuting Fraud on the Communities' Finances-The Corpus Juris, 9th Report from the Select Committee on the European Union, House of Lords, Session 1998-99, HL Paper 62, para 9. Back

11   Common but not uniform. France has a hybrid system. Back

12   B Wessels and R S Katz, "Introduction", in R S Katz and B Wessels (eds), The European Parliament, The National Parliaments, and European Integration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), p 9. Back

13   See M Shephard and R Scully, "The European Parliament: Of Barriers and Removed Citizens" in P Norton (ed), Parliaments and Citizens in Western Europe (London: Frank Cass, forthcoming 2002). Back

14   One survey found that almost 90 per cent of MEPs favoured the proposal, as did 75 per cent of members of national parliaments. B. Wessels, 'Institutional Change and the Future Political Order", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, p 215. Back

15   In The Private Eye (Washington DC: International Human Rights Law Group, 1995), Chapter 20 and Appendix C. Back

16   D Butler and A Ranney (eds), Referendums around the World (Washington DC: The AEI Press, 1994), Table 1-1, p 5. Back

17   In surveys, more than 70 per cent of those questioned say they are, in principle, in favour of referendums. (The proportion falls when the question relates to a referendum on a particular issue. See MORI, State of the Nation, MORI, 1995, p.5.) The turnout in referendums has never reached that figure. In the most recent referendums, only a clear majority of voters (60.4 per cent) took part in the 1997 referendum in Scotland. In Wales, half the voters stayed at home and in London almost two-thirds of the voters stayed away from the voting booths. Back

18   J H H Weiler, "European models: Polity, people and system" in P Craig and C Harlow (eds), Lawmaking in the European Union (London: Kluwer Law International, 1998), p 23. Back

19   "Germany calls for EU presidency", BBC News Online, 14 November 2000. Back

20   Wessels, "Institutional Change and the Future Political Order", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, p 215. Back

21   EEC Treaty, Preamble, para 1. Back

22   See Weiler, "European models: Polity, people and system", in Craig and Harlow, Lawmaking in the European Union, p 31. Back

23   A B Taylor, Is Civil Society heard in Brussels, European Essay No. 4 (London: The Federal Trust, 2000), pp 28-30. Back

24   Wessels, "Institutional Change and the Future Political Order", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, p 215. Back

25   R S Katz, "Representation, the Locus of Democratic Legitimation and the Role of National Parliaments in the European Union", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, pp 27-28. Back

26   Resolution on the preparation of the meeting with the national parliaments to discuss the future of the Community ("the Assises"), adopted 12.7.90, C 231, 17.9.90, p. 165. Cited in M. Westlake, "The View from Brussels", in P Norton (ed), National Parliaments and the European Union (London: Frank Cass, 1996), p 174. Back

27   Lord Norton of Louth, "Addressing the Democratic Deficit: The Role of a European Second Chamber", evidence submitted to the House of Lords European Union Committee, February 2001. Back

28   The Role of National Parliaments in the European Union, 28th Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation, Session 1995-96, HC 51, p xix. Back

29   See V Miller and R Ware, "Keeping National Parliaments Informed: The Problem of European Legislation", The Journal of Legislative Studies, Vol 2 (3), 1996, pp 184-97. Back

30   F Wijsenbeek, "Fifteen Years in a Growing Parliament", in Lord Plumb, C Tongue, and F Wijsenbeek, Shaping Europe: Reflections of Three MEPs (London: Federal Trust, 2000), p 149. Back

31   See M. Shackleton, "Interparliamentary Cooperation and the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference", in F Laursen and S. A. Pappas (eds), The Changing Role of Parliaments in the European Union (Maastricht: European Institute of Public Administration, 1995), pp 166-68. Back

32   See P Norton (ed), National Parliaments and the European Union (London: Frank Cass, 1996). Back

33   Miller and Ware, "Keeping National Parliaments Informed: The Problem of European Legislation", pp 184-97. Back

34   As in The 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference: The Agenda, Democracy and Efficiency, The Role of National Parliaments, 24th Report from the Select Committee on European Legislation, Session 1994-95, HC 239-I, paras. 63-68. Back

35   See P Norton, "National Parliaments and the European Union: where to from here?" in Harlow and Craig, Lawmaking in the European Union, pp 215-7. Back

36   R S Katz, "Representation, the Locus of Democratic Legitimation and the Role of National Parliaments in the European Union", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, pp 40-42. Back

37   The Commission to Strengthen Parliament, Strengthening Parliament (London: The Conservative Party, 2000). Back

38   Strengthening Parliament, p 45. Back

39   Strengthening Parliament, p 45. Back

40   Environmental Regulation and Farming, 4th Report from the Agriculture Committee, Session 1999-2000, HC 212-I. Back

41   "Usually", but not always; the main committee itself can and does undertake its own inquiries. Back

42   1999 figures. The Lords Science and Technology Committee averaged just over 7,600 hits, from 1,900 users, a month. Back

43   The Scrutiny of European Legislation, 4th Report from the Select Committee on Procedure, Session 1988-89, HC 622, p xxix. Back

44   J Usher, EC Institutions and Legislation (London: Longman, 1998), pp 97-101. Back

45   M Keating and L Hooghe, "By-passing the nation state? Regions and the EU policy process", in J Richardson (ed), European Union: Power and Policy-Making (London: Routledge, 1996), p 216. Back

46   See, eg B Jones and M Keating (eds), The European Union and the Regions (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). Back

47   Keating and Hooghe, "By-passing the nation state?" in Richardson, The European Union, p. 222. Back

48   K Middlemass, Orchestrating Europe (London: Fontana Press, 1995), Chapter 9. Back

49   During the 1997 general election campaign, Robin Cook said that, after devolution, Scotland could be represented in the EU in a manner similar to that of a Land government in Germany. The problem with this assertion is that, whereas every German citizen is represented by a state government, not every citizen of the UK is represented by a devolved assembly. Back

50   Quoted in Middlemass, Orchestrating Europe, p 427. Back

51   See, eg P Norton and D Wood, Back from Westminster (Lexington KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1993) and P Norton, "The Growth of the Constituency Role of the MP", Parliamentary Affairs, Vol. 47 (4), Oct. 1994, pp 705-20. Back

52   R S Katz, "Representation, the Locus of Democratic Legitimation and the Role of National Parliaments in the European Union", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament, the National Parliaments, and European Integration, pp 28-29. Back

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