New Intergovernmentalism, EU Legislation and the European Parliament

Paul James Cardwell

This paper considers the apparent decline in the amount of new EU legislation, and what this means for the role of the European Parliament, in the post-Maastricht period. The theoretical insights provided by New Intergovernmentalism are used to establish whether a perceived move away from 'traditional' law-making in the EU is occurring and if it can be explained by the logics of post-Maastricht institutional change. The paper considers whether deliberation and consensus-building (which new intergovernmentalism suggests are now ends in themselves rather than a means to further supranationalist integration (Bickerton, Hodson and Puetter 2014)) is reflected in the EU's legislative output. Whilst the paper agrees that new intergovernmentalism goes some way in providing an explanation for the trajectory of legislation and legislative outputs, it has more difficulty in accounting for the drive towards de-regulation as a means fulfilling Treaty goals. The deliberation and consensus-building hypothesis can help us understand how legal dynamics play a role in the contemporary EU and consider at the same time a change in the role of the European Parliament from a legislative body to a site for a new style of deliberation in the European framework

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