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Taming trilogues: the EU's law-making process in a comparative perspective.

Greenwood, Justin; Roederer-Rynning, Christilla

Authors

Justin Greenwood

Christilla Roederer-Rynning



Contributors

Olivier Costa
Editor

Abstract

As the directly elected institution of representative democracy, the European Parliament (EP) is at the centre of debates about the nature of the EU polity. The dramatic increase in its legislative powers since becoming a directly elected institution in 1979 makes it the central object of analysis about the development of the European Union. At the core of its powers is its role as a co-legislator with the Council of Ministers for the overwhelming majority of legislative files since the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, making the mechanics of co-decision a key unit of analysis. The core question we address in this chapter is whether the EP, the people’s tribune in EU politics, has arrived at a stable set of arrangements in order to be able to assert itself in co-decision viz. other EU institutions. Trilogues present two potential risks for the EP as an organ of parliamentary representation: 1) depoliticizing conflict by delegating decision-making to technical experts; and 2) reducing the accountability and transparency of the decision-making process by making it more informal and ad hoc. The key for the EP to counter these risks is to develop a sense of common purpose as a parliamentary institution, and institutional autonomy to prevent being drawn into the Council’s world of diplomacy. On these premises, we explore the extent to which the EP has been able to articulate procedures for internal conflict solving; and to what extent these rules have helped to ensure transparency of the legislative process and the accountability of elected representatives. We examine these factors through an examination of the internal mechanisms of the EP in preparing for co-decision, trilogues, as a critical moment of the institutionalisation of the EP as a legislature. We discuss these developments in a comparative perspective of EU and US institutions for bicameral conflict resolution.

Publication Date Nov 24, 2018
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Pages 121-141
Book Title The European Parliament in times of EU crisis: dynamics and transformations.
Chapter Number Chapter 6
ISBN 9783319973906
Institution Citation GREENWOOD, J. and ROEDERER-RYNNING, C. 2019. Taming trilogues: the EU's law-making process in a comparative perspective. In Costa, O. (ed.) The European Parliament in times of EU crisis: dynamics and transformations. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan [online], pages 121-141. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97391-3_6
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97391-3_6
Keywords European Parliament; European Union; Trilogues; Decision making; Institutionalization