National Parliaments and EU Economic Governance. In Search of New Ways to Enhance Democratic Legitimacy

  • Ton van den BrinkEmail author


The current economic crisis has challenged the democratic model of representation within the European Union. The author mentions three fundamental tensions that characterize the legal position of EU states: First, the tension between national sovereignty and economic stability; second, the tension between executive and legislative powers; third, the tension of the gradual introduction and development of redistributive policies at the European level. According to the author, the debate on the ‘democratic deficit’ is still alive. One of the strongest points of critique on the entire EU has been that there is no concrete democratic path for the national governments. Many measures have been taken to address the economic crisis, such as treaties and soft law instruments. These have led to a new EU Economic Governance Model, where public finance and macroeconomic policies of member states are being coordinated. EU institutions are, on one hand, involved via the European Semester and on the other hand via special procedures in case of problems. The author considers the role of the European Parliament still weak in this issue, as it has no real powers. Arguments therefore arise for stronger national parliaments, for example to compensate this lack of power. The author reminds that national governments are still the key players in defining national economic policies. Although the procedural role of national parliaments in the EU dominates, the author claims that the essential issue is which substantive roles they must pursue in the field of economics.


European Council National Sovereignty National Parliament Democratic Legitimacy Economic Governance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Europa Institute of Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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