Empowerment of National Parliaments and the European Democratic Disconnect

  • Abstract:
    Longstanding debated among scholars, today the priority in EU is to overcome the profound sense of political disaffection and distrust toward its own institutions. In this line the aim of the paper is to question whether the Lisbon Treaty legal provisions on National Parliaments can establish a higher endorsement of EU democracy. So far, the answers –mostly among political scientists – were rather skeptical and the majority considered the NPs could play just a marginal role at best. However, with the entered into force of the Lisbon Treaty we are witnessing to an important turnaround. The Treaty formally empowered NPs and they have been expressly recognized as the channel of the EU legitimacy. In the paper, following the hints provided by Lindseth’s theory, I defined the problem of EU democracy as a disconnection between the powers exercised in EU and the legitimized institutions controlling the formulation and implementation of policy. In this way, by looking at the role of parliaments in the relation between executive and people, I give evidences of how the role of national parliaments could be crucial for two reasons. Firstly, they have now the potential for becoming the channel for the establishment of a constitutive dialogue between the national and the European level and secondly they can contribute to enhancing citizens’ engagement in EU affairs.