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Administrators 'Precooking' European Affairs? The Role of Civil Servants within National Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty.

Anna-Lena Hoegenauer, Christine Neuhold

The role of national parliaments within the European Union (EU) system of multi-level governance has undergone important transformations. From political players that have largely been side-lined within EU integration, national parliaments have gained a formal role in the scrutiny of EU affairs under the Lisbon Treaty. The new Early Warning System (EWS) provides national parliaments with the prerogative to directly influence the EU policy process.The new opportunities have led national parliaments to adapt their working practices and organization. A central but often overlooked issue in this context is the delegation of tasks to civil servants and their execution of these tasks. This delegation raises questions of the democratic legitimacy of the outcome of parliamentary scrutiny, which are closely related to the debates on political control and legislative oversight of bureaucracy. Yet, there is a gap in the literatures on political control and on European integration, which currently neglect the issue of oversight of administrators of national parliaments in the EU context. This article addresses this gap by providing a comparative analysis of different systems of civil servant support in EU affairs in the member state parliaments on the basis of data from eight member states. It focuses, in particular, on the extent to which the Lisbon Treaty has triggered reforms within national parliaments and on the effect of these reforms on the effectiveness and bureaucratization of parliamentary scrutiny of EU affairs.

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