ORA - Open Research Area in Europe

National Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty: Domestic Watchdogs or Autonomous Players? – EU-ParlWatch

Submission summary

The role of national parliaments in European integration is a topical issue in current political and academic debates. The Treaty of Lisbon significantly expands the influence of national parliaments in EU policy-making. To this end, the new treaty has introduced “Provisions on Democratic Principles” stipulating that “national parliaments contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union” (Article 12 TEU). These expanded participation rights give reason to assume that national parliaments have the potential not only to be attentive domestic watchdogs regarding their governments’ actions in ‘Brussels’, but also to develop into more autonomous players – either individually or jointly – at the EU level, potentially bypassing or even acting against the interest of their national governments.

Very little research has been done on the question of how institutional reforms and legal stipulations actually impact on the role of national parliaments in EU affairs in any substantive way. This proposed project addresses this gap and for the first time gathers comprehensive data on parliamentary involvement in EU affairs across all 27 Member States. It will carry out in-depth research on four specific issues: 1) parliamentary scrutiny of EU legislative processes, 2) parliamentary involvement in non-legislative EU policy processes, 3) parliamentary activity beyond the domestic arena (inter-parliamentary co-operation and contacts to EU institutions) and 4) the parliamentary infrastructure in EU affairs (role of parliamentary administrations, recruitment and socialisation).

The project will analyse the strategies at the disposal of national parliaments to influence EU policy, the factors influencing strategy choice and their effectiveness. These empirical insights can in turn feed into the more normative and very topical debate on the status of national parliaments in the quest of overcoming problems of democratic legitimacy within the EU system of governance. The project will therefore contribute to a better understanding of what national parliaments actually do in EU affairs and how this affects the conduct and democratic quality of decision-making in the European Union.

Results will be of high relevance for a number of audiences. They address the academic debate, in particular in the fields of comparative legislative studies and European politics. Moreover, results will be made publicly accessible in form of a web-based portal for systematic information concerning activities of national parliaments, organised by member state. Citizens will thus have greater access to the actions of their national parliaments in EU affairs. Finally, the project addresses policy-makers, in particular members of national parliaments (and their administrators) to provide insights into how to make most effective use the provisions introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Olivier ROZENBERG (FONDATION NATIONALE DES SCIENCES POLITIQUES) – olivier.rozenberg@sciences-po.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UCol Universität zu Koeln
UM Universiteit Maastricht
UCAM University of Cambridge

Help of the ANR 260,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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