The enhancement of the European Parliament: Effects on Policies
The enhancement of the European Parliament: Effects on Policies Introduction
The European Parliament (EP) was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In the original institutional design of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the EP was not intended to play any key major roles. The EP was one of the oldest common institutions where it began as the Common Assembly. However, since 1987, the responsibility of the EP in the policy-making process has been progressively improved over the years. Such improvements were mainly due to the several treaties revision. Even though the EP does not formally propose EU legislation, it takes on an important function in the EU’s legislative and budgeting processes. The EP works closely together with two other main EU institutions which are the European Commission and the Council of ministers. Common assembly
In 1952, the current EP was found as the Common Assembly of ECSC and then it was renamed as the European Parliamentary Assembly in 1958. And finally in 1962, it became known as the European Parliament in 1962. Just as its name evolved, the EP’s power in the EU evolved as well. The common assembly consisted of 78 nominated national parliamentarians from the initial 6 ECSC founding member states. The current EP has 734 elected representatives from the 27 member states. EP is the only elected institution. The work of the EP is carried out by well-established system of 20 permanent committees. These committees cover most area of the EU policy. Initially, the EP along with ECJ was seen as an institution of control and scrutiny and not of decision making. With that, the EP was given restricted and precise roles and responsibilities. The EP could discuss policies and scrutinize their implementation. It could also dismiss the High Authority (commission) for mismanagement. However, when it comes to new policies and legislations, the EP could only give their opinions. However, other institutions such as the council and the commission were not compelled to response to the EP’s opinions. The EP evolution is strongly related to a series of successful treaties. The treaties that enhance the EP involvement start from the treaty of Rome to the treaty of Lisbon. These treaties define the rules and scope of EP in terms of its roles in the decision making process in policies. The EP is currently seen as a co-legislator involved in co-decision making process. The fact that the EP is now seen as co-legislator with the Council is a new development in the EU. In this easy, the different treaties will be analysed with regards of the EP’s policy-making decision. With the treaty revision, it is obvious that the EP has acquired increasing powers after each treaty revision. The input from the EP has indeed affected individual EU policies as well. Hence, the impact of the EP on the framing of policies will be explored. 1. The Treaties
Before 1987, the EP it did not get to participate in any of the EU legislative process. It was established as an assembly that only possessed two main roles which was the ability to pass a motion of censure against the High Authority (commission). With the Rome treaty, the EP has the right to be consulted and to give its opinions to the Council. EP’s opinions, given in this classical consultation procedure, were non-binding (Neuhold, 2000). This means that, the Council was only obliged to hear what the EP wanted in its amendments to the Commission’s proposal. The council need not act to EP’s demands on the proposal. 1.1 Single European Act (SEA)
Therefore, at the start, the EP was restricted to offering non-binding opinions in a consultation procedure. Due to the 1986 Single European Act, the EP began to gain more power to influence EU legislation through cooperation procedure. For the first time in EU,...