The project on "The European Parliament in the new Europe: institutionally empowered, policy side-lined?" aims to re-assess the role of the European Parliament (EP) in the EU political system. In the last years, the EU had to take key decisions to tackle its crises: the financial crisis, the migration crisis, and eventually Brexit. To strengthen the legitimacy of the EU's actions, the EP has been further empowered by the Treaty of Lisbon, and has actively participated in decision-making. However, we currently lack a systematic assessment of the influence, impact and role of the EU's only elected institution in the newly contested (Hooghe and Marks 2009), politicized (Kriesi 2016) and more intergovernmental (Fabbrini 2015; Puetter & Fabbrini, 2016) Union. While there is no shortage of studies on the EP's powers and organization (i.e. Kreppel 2002; Hix et al 2007; Corbett et al 2016), the literature has not yet provided a comprehensive assessment of the EP's role in "testing times" (Laffan 2014) for European integration.
While a purely institutional evaluation of the legislative powers of the EP after the Lisbon Treaty puts it on a par with the Council in almost all policy areas, and its position in both trade and budgetary policy has been formally strengthened (Heritier et al., 2015), an empirical analysis is necessary to tackle more fundamental questions about its influence, power and, ultimately, role in the EU political system. In a context in which the member states are widely perceived to be in the driving seat of integration, while supranational institutions tend to be marginalized (i.e. Bickerton et al. 2015), preliminary evidence suggests that the EP policy-making role is, under certain conditions, likely to be overshadowed by the activism of the intergovernmental institutions (e.g. Bressanelli and Chelotti, 2016; Trauner & Ripoll-Servent 2016).
The project speaks both to the scholarly community and policy-makers, and it aims to make a theoretical, an empirical and a normative contribution. Theoretically, it will contribute to the debate between (new) intergovernmentalism and (new) supranationalism (i.e. Dehousse 2016; Fabbrini & Puetter 2016), thus addressing more general questions on the nature and the development of the EU political system by focusing on the EP. Empirically, it will assess the impact of the EP across policy areas, with a prominent focus on 'core state powers', such as economic integration and immigration (Genschel & Jachtenfuchs 2015), and on the ordinary legislative procedure more generally. By comparing the influence of the EP across different policy areas, it will tease out the conditions under which the EP pulls above, or below, its weight, and test different theoretical explanations. Normatively, it will (re-) assess the (lack of) legitimacy of the EP in the new intergovernmental EU, and speculate on its implications.
Thanks to the financial support of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy at King's College London, and UACES - the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (www.uaces.org), a network of established scholars, early carrier researchers and advanced PhD students will convene in London on May 26th 2017 to provide a first, comprehensive assessment of the powers of the EU's only elected institution in changing times for integration. The workshop will be structured in three core sections: (i) the EP in the ordinary legislative procedure; (ii) the EP beyond law-making; (iii) the EP in the EU political system.
Travel support for Student & Early-Career Membersis available for this event.