A Representative Union? On Measuring Parliamentary Accountability in the EU

Gilles Pittoors, Wouter Wolfs

Upholding the democratic legitimacy of a political system is the prime purpose of any parliament, and parliamentary accountability is crucial to its success. However, as Weiler stated, "legitimacy is a notoriously elusive term, over-used and under-specified" (Weiler 2012). Particularly in the case of the complex multi-level and differentiated polity of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), "the literature does not provide a framework for analysing the legitimacy of monetary policy at the Eurozone level" (Torres 2013). While the European Commission has seen its supervisory powers expand rapidly over a few years and the Councils have stepped up their involvement, the EP is still only invited to discuss - ex-post - decisions that have been made elsweyr. As such, parliamentary accountability is under threat from executive control. But how exactly to measure accountability? When are the appropriate mechanisms of accountability in place? These questioned are addressed in this paper.

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