Ten Years of an Elected European Parliament

  • Juliet Lodge


Vilified as impotent, irrelevant and a waste of time and money, the European Parliament receives arguably the worst press of all parliaments within the boundaries of the European Community. Negative and undeserved as its poor image is in many states, the third elections to the European Parliament held on 15 and 18 June 1989 overturned popular media portrayals and expectations of the European Parliament overnight. In Britain, in particular (where turnout was only a few percentage points above the 1984 and 1979 levels and where it remained the lowest of any EC state), the transformation in expectations of the widely misrepresented EP was astounding. Moreover, there were hints of a similar transformation of expectations even in countries where turnout had fallen below the 1984 levels and in which such decline was partly attributed to the relatively weak powers conferred on the EP. Ten years after its first direct election the EP had come of age. But why had it taken so long for its potential to be recognised? Why, moreover, after ten years of pundits insisting that Euro-elections were little more than second-order national elections did the EP acquire a clear ‘European’ image when its Members (MEPs) almost without exception had been elected on platforms in campaigns fought predominantly on national issues?


Member State European Council Institutional Reform National Parliament Democratic Legitimacy 
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Notes and References

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© Juliet Lodge 1990

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  • Juliet Lodge

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