European parliament issues


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European parliament issues

  1. 1. European Parliament - Issues • Why is it regarded as weak? 1. It is too big! – 785 members – Divided by political, national & regional lines – No coherence – No sense of govt & opposition
  2. 2. European Parliament - Issues • 2. The executive (Council & Commission) are not drawn from parliament – Decision makers do not rely on support of parliament – Important decisions can be forces through the council – Parliament does not act as an effective ‘check & balance’
  3. 3. European Parliament - Issues • MEP’s have no clear political mandate – Elected on a ‘national’ & not ‘European’ allegiance – Most of electorate have limited knowledge of EU issues – MEP’s have limited authority – Authority of ministers in council is stronger than for MEP’s – Authority = power – Parliament has influence rather than power (?)
  4. 4. European Parliament - Issues • EU decisions are too complex to be fully understood • CAP technicalities cannot be understood by MEP’s who are not specialist – leave this to the council ministers • An MEP from ‘Little Malta’ may have no understanding of the issue of youth unemployment in the inner cities of bigger member states.
  5. 5. European Parliament - Issues • Parliament has no real/effective leader – Arguably a parliament needs a figurehead – Ie dealings with the thirld world are difficult as EU initiatives are not coherent. – A leader would help with this
  6. 6. How is Parliament getting stronger? • Each treaty increases power of parliament – Maastricht/Amsterdam/Lisbon – Codecision powers were extended here (almost equal legislative power with the council – albeit on a ltd amount of law)
  7. 7. How is Parliament getting stronger? • Party groupings are becoming more meaningful – Is Socialist grouping successful in championing workers rights – Conservative alliance look to agricultural affairs • Commission more accountable to parliament – 1999: Whole commission was removed – Commission and any future president, needs to take account of parliamentary opinion
  8. 8. How is Parliament getting stronger? • Commission has strengthened its links with parliament – Commission initiatives are closer scrutinised by parliament
  9. 9. How is Parliament getting stronger? • Parliament flexing its muscles: • 1. Rejection of commission nominee in 2004 • • • • Rocco Buttiglione was seen as an illiberal homophobe Hugely disliked by parliament Buoyed by its success parliament then rejected other nominees until finally agreeing to Jose Barroso 2. Human Rights issues – These are discussed at length in parliament – Huge impact on member & non-member states – Provoked debate on whether Turkey should be allowed to join • 2. The single market – 2006 Commission wanted to extend the single market (was only in goods up to that point) – Several hundred amendments were forced through by parliament (so ultimately bill was led by parliament ,not the commission)
  10. 10. Your Task • Essay • How much influence does the European Parliament have in EU policy-making? (15 Marks) • Research 1. Committee of the Regions 2. Economic & Social Committee 3. European Ombudsman 4. European Central Bank