Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

ANNUAL SURVEYS

Lega Developments in the European Parliament*

KIERAN ST. CLAIR BRADLEY


I. Introduction

Momentous for the Community in many respects, the year was marked by several legal and institutional developments, in particular judgments of the Court of Justice, of concern to the European Parliament. In a landmark ruling of 22 May 1990, the Court recognized that Parliament could initiate annulment proceedings in order to ensure respect by the other political institutions for its prerogatives in the decision-making process. Parliament showed considerable restraint in exercising this new-found facility, introducing only one further such action in the succeeding thirteen months, and deciding against annulment proceedings, admissible prima facie, on a number of other occasions. The Court also found that Parliament could not be held liable for the allegedly tortious acts of one of its political parties, and that the appointment of the chairman of a parliamentary delegation was not a justiciable act. A long-standing dispute with the Council as regards Parliament's powers over the determination of the revenue side of the budget gave rise to further annulment proceedings, at the suit of the Council. The new decade also heralded the tabling of the first motion of censure against the Commission since 1977, though, like previous motions, it received little support in the House.

All was not confrontation and litigation however; in preparation for the Intergovernmental Conferences ('IGCs') on Political Union and Economic and Monetary Union, Parliament invited the representatives of the Governments and the Commission to a series of interinstitutional conferences, reviving a practice of direct contact between the members of the Council (and not just its President), the Commission, and Parliament which predates the EEC. As well as direct contact with the Governments though such conferences ('CIPs'), Parliament organized the first 'Assizes', attended by delegations of the national Parliaments and the European Parliament, in November. Before the IGCs opened in December, Parliament had already adopted a complete series of draft Treaty amendments for each conference,

____________________
*
© St. Kieran Clair Bradley, 1991. Legal Service of the European Parliament; the views expressed are personal.

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