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The UK decision to withdraw from the EU: parliament or government?

If the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is to continue to have real meaning in Britain, the decision to leave the EU must be taken by parliament, not the government.
Piet Eeckhout
17 October 2016

Starts: Oct 17, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Does Eastern Europe have lessons for Brexit Britain?

What, if anything, can the experience of (research on) Eastern Europe say to us as we head towards Brexit? Lessons may lie above all in getting to grips with the tempo and nature of political change, its (un)predictability and likely channels.
Sean Hanley
1 August 2016

Starts: Aug 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Hollande's response to the Nice massacre will please only the far right

On Thursday night, for the third time since January 2015, President François Hollande was faced with a mass murder on French soil. An ashen-faced Hollande, almost looking like a broken man, appeared on television on Friday at 4am and declared: “This is undoubtedly a terrorist attack; the whole of France is under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack”.
Philippe Marlière
18 July 2016 More...

Starts: Jul 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM

WP2: The Domestic Deficits of Representative Democracy in EU Affairs

Publication date: Nov 14, 2011 10:19 AM

Start: Nov 14, 2011 12:00 AM
End: Dec 01, 2011 12:00 AM

Professor Richard Bellamy (UCL) and Dr Sandra Kröger (Exeter)

Download the full paper as a PDF file.


Ever since the problematic ratification of the Maastricht Treaty and the accompanying debate about a democratic deficit of the EU, politicians – rather more than scholars – have sought to strengthen the role of national Parliaments in EU policy-making. Accordingly, a legally binding Protocol on the role of National Parliaments in the European Union was added to the Amsterdam Treaty, which entered into force in 1997. The Protocol accorded parliaments the right to receive information on EU affairs, demanded that there be a six week period between issuing a legislative proposal and its adoption by the Council, and introduced rules for the cooperation between national parliaments and the European Parliament (EP). How far, and in what ways, parliaments took advantage of these new rights and provisions was largely left up to them.

The Lisbon Treaty marks a step change in this respect. Not only is it the first EU Treaty even to mention national parliaments in the main text, but also it gives them a potentially significant legal status in the democratic governance of the EU. In making this change, Member States have indicated that parliaments possess certain key democratic competences which should and possibly could not be assumed by the EP. For example, it has been the 17 national parliaments of the euro zone rather than the EP that have been the crucial sources of democratic legitimacy for the response of Member States to the Euro crisis.

This paper explores whether these domestic representative institutions are capable of living up to the normative role assigned to them and argues that to a degree that capacity has been eroded by the very process of European integration they are now supposed to control.

The Working Paper Series

Launching a new series of discussion and working papers in 2011-12, the European Institute is commissioning article-length research papers from UCL and external scholars specialising on Europe and the European Union.

Often, these will have grown out of, or provided input into, public panel discussions and workshops organised by the Institute. Part of the argument developed in Working Paper 2 was first rehearsed during a workshop in December 2010 with members of parliament, legal counsel and several academic experts on the role of National Parliaments post-Lisbon. It was organised by the Institute in cooperation with the Embassy of Belgium to the UK on the occasion of the Belgian Presidency of the EU.

For further commentaries and working papers, please see here.