The process of European integration, it is generally argued, has led to a transfer of legislative power not only from the national to the European level, but also, and more importantly, from parliament to the executive. As a consequence, democratically elected institutions at the national level are often bypassed in the decision-making process. The current financial and debt crisis seems to reinforce this trend: budgetary authority – a key prerogative of parliaments – is increasingly subject to influence from EU institutions both within and outside the EU legal framework. To assess whether and
to what extent the crisis has indeed led to a further de-parliamentarisation, this paper will analyse how national parliaments have responded to the crisis. Detailed empirical data reveals a very uneven participation of parliaments in the management of the crisis, in terms both of formal rights and of their involvement in practice. As a result, the crisis reinforces the gap between stronger and weaker parliaments, possibly leading to the dangerous development of ‘second class’ parliaments in the EU.
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