International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

one committee and a substitute on another, and also a full member on an interparliamentary delegation and a substitute on another.

The average member's monthly schedule is quite rigid. For two weeks each month he or she works in committee in Brussels; the following week he or she meets with his or her political group to decide on voting strategy in part sessions, as plenary sessions are called; and for one week each month he or she meets in Strasbourg for a plenary session of Parliament to vote on opinions drawn up by the committees.

As the member states did not at the beginning decide where the Parliament should meet permanently, the institution has in fact three temporary seats. Its committees and political groups meet in Brussels; its General Secretariat is based in Luxembourg, and its part-sessions are held for one week each month in Strasbourg. The failure of the member states to fix a single seat for the Parliament has been heavily criticized.

In practice the activities of the Parliament have become increasingly concentrated in Brussels. For example, a newly created hemicycle has been in use since 1994 to facilitate extraordinary part-sessions, and large sections of the secretariat have been gradually transferred from Luxembourg to Brussels.

The European Union resembles a Heraclitean reality in that it seems to be perpetually in a state of becoming as opposed to being. As the role and functions of the European Union change, so too will the role and functions of the European Parliament. In terms of the future democratic development of the European Union, the model that enjoys the support of the majority of member states as well as that of the majority of members themselves is that of a parliamentary form of government as opposed to a presidential model. This model envisages the EC Commission becoming the government of the European Union and responsible to the European Parliament as the lower chamber in a bicameral legislature, with the Council of Ministers, representing the member states, being the upper chamber.

The Single European Act and the European Union Treaty have wrought significant changes in terms of increasing Parliament's legislative powers; however, such developments fall short of conferring Parliament with coleg islature status, except in certain circumstances. The European Parliament, for the most part, is still in the position of persuading more than it decides. Its powers of control have also gradually increased, but it is its budgetary powers that are by far its strongest powers. The European Parliament in unlike any other existing parliament to the extent that it does not consider itself part of a finished institutional system, but as part of one requiring evolution or even transformation into something different ( Jacobs, Corbett , Shackleton 1992). It will continue to play a promi nent role in promoting constitutional development in the European Union, the next phase of which occurred in 1996 when an intergovernmental conference was held to revise the European Union Treaty.

MARGARET MARY MALONE


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bogdanor, Vernon, 1986. "The Future of the European Parliament, Separation and Interdependence of Powers", Government and Opposition, no. 2 (Spring): 161-176.

-----, 1989. "Direct Elections, Representative Democracy and European Integration", Electoral Studies, no. 3, (December).

Coombes, David, 1979. "The Future of the European Parliament". Studies in European Politics 1. Policy Studies Institute, European Centre for Political Studies.

Corbett, Richard, 1989. "Testing the New Procedures: The European Parliament's First Experiences with Its New Single Act Powers". Journal of Common Market Studies, no. 4, (June).

-----, 1992. "The Intergovernmental Conference on Political Union". Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 30, no. 3 (September): 271-298.

Corbett, Richard, and D. Nickel, 1984. "The Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union". The Yearbook of European Law.

European Parliament, 1989. Forging Ahead, the European Parliament 1952-1988, 36 Years. Luxembourg: 3d ed. Directorate General for Research, Office for Official Publications.

Fitzmaurice, John, 1975. The Party Groups in the European Parliament. London: Saxon House.

1988. "An Analysis of the European Community's Cooperation Procedure". Journal of Common Market Studies, no. 4. (June).

Jacobs, Francis B., 1989. Western Europe Political Parties: A Comprehensive Guide. London: Longman.

Jacobs, Francis, Richard Corbett, and Michael Shackleton, 1992. The European Parliament. 2d ed. London: Longman.

Kirchner, Emil Joseph, 1984. The European Parliament: Performance and Prospects. Aldershot: Gower.

Lasok, D. and J. W. Bridge, 1991. Law and Institutions of the European Communities. London: Butterworths.

Nugent, Neill, 1991. The Government and Politics of the European Community. 2d ed. London: MacMillan.

Palmer, Michael, 1981. The European Parliament, What It Is, What It Does, How It Works. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Reif, Karlheinz, and Oskar Niedermayer, 1987. "The European Parliament and the Political Parties". Revue dlntegration Européen, no. 2-3, Hiver, 1986-Printemps.

Wood, Alan, ed., 1989. The Times Guide to the European Parliament. London: Times Books.

EVALUATION . To judge the worth or value of a program or activity. (For the evaluation of individuals, see performance evaluation.) Evaluation determines the value or effectiveness of an activity for the purpose of decisionmaking.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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