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The inter-parliamentary alliance: how national parliaments empowered the European Parliament

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-1028
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2018

King's Authors


National parliaments (NPs) have been generally considered the ‘victims’ of European integration–at least until the 1990s. In this article, I argue instead that NPs played an active and decisive role in shaping European institutions since the 1960s. In particular, NPs were the key actors driving the empowerment of the European Parliament (EP). When national governments decided to transfer some of their powers to the European level, many NPs threatened to oppose those reforms unless governments agreed to increase the EP’s powers. These NPs considered the EP’s empowerment to be effective compensation for their own lost powers. Two case studies were selected to illustrate this argument: the first transfer of budgetary powers to the EP (1970) and the first transfer of legislative powers through the Single European Act (1986). In both cases, the EP’s empowerment was made possible by an inter-parliamentary alliance between the EP and NPs.

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