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The Tale of High Expectations and Ambiguous Results: Adaptation of National Parliaments to the Lisbon Treaty

Alexander Strelkov

The Lisbon Treaty has enhanced the access of national parliaments to EU politics, yet it remains to be seen whether European institutions and national governments become more receptive of the parliaments' views. Drawing on actor-centered institutionalism, the paper tries to specify the factors than can help parliaments draw benefit from the new opportunity structure. The case selection is based on the "most different" research design and exploratory interviews with representatives of national parliaments conducted in October-December 2010: the parliaments of Sweden, Czech Republic and Romania are chosen. In order to assess the impact of the Lisbon Treaty, the paper analyzes the scrutiny of the "Green Paper on pensions" (COM 2010 0365) and Proposal for directive on seasonal third-country migrants (COM 2010 0379 looking at the evaluation of both non-legislative and legislative proposals. The capacity to overcome the "democratic deficit" depends on the ability of national parliaments to use the new opportunity structure. Yet, despite the fact that the new procedures have been developed, no connection seems to have been made between the EU proposals and national politics. This raises doubts about the wider relevance of Lisbon Treaty provisions on national parliaments.

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