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National Parliaments in the European Constitutional Order: Political Accountability Beyond Borders?

Davor Jancic

Contemporary theoretical depictions of the European constitutional order typically espouse heterarchicalapproaches to constitutionalism, whereby national and EU institutions exercise public power within aninterdependent public law realm defined as multilevel, pluralist, polycentric or composite. The proposed paperplaces national parliaments amidst these visions of EU constitutionalism and inquires whether they form part of itor whether they are merely actors at the national level. In particular, the paper poses the question whether andhow national parliaments utilise their scrutiny instruments in practice and whether their political control over thegovernment includes elements of liaison with EU institutions and in which form. To these ends, the proposedstudy carries out a qualitative empirical analysis of the claims made by the national parliaments of the UnitedKingdom and France in their scrutiny of the Services Directive and the European External Action Service Decision. These selections are made to account for different systemsof government, types of EU measures, fields of EU action and functions of EU institutions. In so doing, the paperseeks to carry forward the abundant literature on the European role of national parliaments, which has hithertomainly focused on describing the scrutiny arrangements.

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