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.
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
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".
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,
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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".
This absence of input legitimacy is at the root of the democratic
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.
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 bodythe equivalent of a Cabinetor
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.
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.
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
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.
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 theyat a national leveldisagree 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
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, thenpossibly
paradoxicallythat 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."
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".
Furthermore, if indirectly elected through the EP (a proposal,
not surprisingly, favoured by most MEPs),
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
One needs to establish a sense of political
communitya 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"
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,
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.
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.
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
arrangementscertainly new formal structurescan 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.
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".
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.
As the European Legislation Committee noted in its 28th Report
in 1995-96, "for all practical purposes, the idea seems to
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.
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.
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
though the use of European committees is now common.
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.
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.
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)
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 responsethe use of European committees
became common in response to the White Paper on Completion of
the Single Market and implementation of the Single European Actbut
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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,
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 publicsthose bodies and
organisations affected by the work of the EUand 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
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.)
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".
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 viewsand 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
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
Those people who are supposed to be limited by subsidiairity are
themselves the ones deciding at what level decisions should be
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
The concept of a Europe of regions has been variously discussed
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 lobbiesas Keating and Hooghe noteare rarely
powerful on their own.
They achieve more when they work with a national government. The
role and concept of regions varies enormously between the Member
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.
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",
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
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
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
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
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 constituentsand encouraging contact
between themmay 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)
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
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
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 evidencepossibly on a
peripatetic basis, going to different parts of the UKand
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 problemas we have seenof
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,
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 modestand realaction.
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
Standards in Public Life, First Report of the Committee
on Standards in Public Life, Vol 1: Report, Cm 2850-I, 1995, p
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
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
Common but not uniform. France has a hybrid system. Back
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
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
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
In The Private Eye (Washington DC: International Human
Rights Law Group, 1995), Chapter 20 and Appendix C. Back
D Butler and A Ranney (eds), Referendums around the World
(Washington DC: The AEI Press, 1994), Table 1-1, p 5. Back
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
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
"Germany calls for EU presidency", BBC News Online,
14 November 2000. Back
Wessels, "Institutional Change and the Future Political
Order", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament,
the National Parliaments, and European Integration, p 215. Back
EEC Treaty, Preamble, para 1. Back
See Weiler, "European models: Polity, people and system",
in Craig and Harlow, Lawmaking in the European Union, p
A B Taylor, Is Civil Society heard in Brussels, European
Essay No. 4 (London: The Federal Trust, 2000), pp 28-30. Back
Wessels, "Institutional Change and the Future Political
Order", in Katz and Wessels, The European Parliament,
the National Parliaments, and European Integration, p 215. Back
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
See P Norton (ed), National Parliaments and the European Union
(London: Frank Cass, 1996). Back
Miller and Ware, "Keeping National Parliaments Informed:
The Problem of European Legislation", pp 184-97. Back
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
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
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
The Commission to Strengthen Parliament, Strengthening Parliament
(London: The Conservative Party, 2000). Back
Strengthening Parliament, p 45. Back
Strengthening Parliament, p 45. Back
Environmental Regulation and Farming, 4th Report from
the Agriculture Committee, Session 1999-2000, HC 212-I. Back
"Usually", but not always; the main committee itself
can and does undertake its own inquiries. Back
1999 figures. The Lords Science and Technology Committee averaged
just over 7,600 hits, from 1,900 users, a month. Back
The Scrutiny of European Legislation, 4th Report from
the Select Committee on Procedure, Session 1988-89, HC 622, p
J Usher, EC Institutions and Legislation (London: Longman,
1998), pp 97-101. Back
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
See, eg B Jones and M Keating (eds), The European Union and
the Regions (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). Back
Keating and Hooghe, "By-passing the nation state?"
in Richardson, The European Union, p. 222. Back
K Middlemass, Orchestrating Europe (London: Fontana Press,
1995), Chapter 9. Back
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
Quoted in Middlemass, Orchestrating Europe, p 427. Back
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
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