The European Parliament's Role in Closer Eu Integration

By Richard Corbett | Go to book overview

13
Making the Most of Maastricht 1

As with the Single Act, much of the true impact of the Treaty on European Union would depend on its implementation and on how the institutions would be able to make the most of the new possibilities afforded. From an integration perspective, the single most important issue will be the process of Economic and Monetary Union. However, a number of other aspects were important, not least for the European Parliament.


A NEW GENERATION OF INTERINSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENTS

The Maastricht Treaty provided for the European Parliament to adopt the regulation governing the duties of the Ombudsman, with the approval of Council acting by a qualified majority. It also specified that the rights of parliamentary committees of inquiry shall be determined by common accord of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. In both these areas, the EP therefore adopted a set of proposals to discuss with the other institutions in interinstitutional conferences. Parliament also called for interinstitutional conferences to discuss other matters such as the application of the co-decision procedure.

A single interinstitutional conference began at the end of 1992 to seek an agreement on all these issues. It brought together 12 ministers on the Council's side, 12 MEPs on Parliament's side, and members of the Commission, modelled on the interinstitutional conferences that prepared, and later accompanied, the 1990–1 Intergovernmental Conferences. Council wished to raise the issue of subsidiarity, to which Parliament agreed on condition that it was accompanied by discussions on democracy and transparency in EU decision-taking. With the help of the Belgian Presidency in the second half of the year, Council also came round to accepting the benefits of an agreement on the operation of the conciliation committee.

Negotiations were difficult, and finished somewhat later than originally expected (the Danish Presidency of the Council having hoped to

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