CfP: Parliaments and the Politicization of the EU

4th TRACE Symposium will be held on May 31st to June 1st, 2018 at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The call for papers is open now.

EU scholarship has tended to underplay the role of national and European parliaments in European politics. Specialists in parliamentary studies have largely missed the politicizing novelty of European integration. It is time to rethink parliaments in the EU from the perspective of politicization.  

From the beginning, European integration included a parliamentary assembly and national parliaments played crucial roles. The failure of the European Political Community in 1953 was due to a decision of the French parliament, and for many years the German Bundestag was a crucial player when it came to furthering European integration. Parliamentary representation, debate and control of government and administration politicized questions that belonged to governmental prerogatives, opening up political controversies on new issues. An example in point is the parliamentary control of the election and dismissal of the European Commission. Parliaments are arenas for debating and legitimizing future integration steps. More than a system of government, parliamentary politics is a modus operandi according to which a proper understanding of a political issue requires debate with opposing views. Parliaments are arenas of debate, sites of political representation, and actors in EU politics.

Since the 1990s, the competencies of parliaments have formally increased. The European Parliament is today the first chamber of legislation in the EU. The range of European public policies and parliamentary involvement have expanded. To counter the Commission and the Council, the European Parliament has used its powers to represent European citizens and to provide a forum for Europe-wide political debates. Extreme political movements and parties have seized the EU as a central element in their political programmes and in their parliamentary activities. The Lisbon Treaty formally strengthened the role of national parliaments and opened up the way for inter-parliamentary cooperation with the European Parliament. Despite these developments, the law-making competencies of national parliaments have been limited by the fact that a considerable number of laws have been and still are decided at the EU level.

This symposium invites empirical and theoretical papers that explore the relationships between the changing role of parliaments and processes of politicization in European integration. Can parliamentarism be a response to entrenched euroskepticism? Would an increased parliamentarization of the EU lead to growing politicization and democratization? How could a parliamentarization of the EU be realized?

Keynotes: Simona Piattoni (University of Trento) and Olivier Rozenberg (Sciences Po Paris).

Please send abstracts to before April 1st. Decisions will be made mid-April. A limited amount of funds to cover travel expenses will be available for graduate students. 

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