Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

The Standing of the European Parliament in the Community System of Legal Remedies: A Thorny Jurisprudential Development*

GERHARD BEBR


I. Introduction

The Treaties establishing the Communities set precise rules for settling disputes between the Commission and the Council or between a Member State and one of the Community institutions. Leaving aside Article 38 ECSC Treaty, the provisions of the EEC, and Euratom Treaties on the standing of the European Parliament, be it active or passive, are general, contradictory, or even missing.1 Under the Treaties of Rome the Parliament lacks any power of decision. Its right of action, unlike that of the Commission and Council, is either generally formulated and, therefore, ambiguous (Article 175 EEC Treaty; Article 148 Euratom Treaty) or the Commission and Council are specifically mentioned (Article 173 EEC Treaty; Article 146 Euratom Treaty) as having an active or passive standing before the Court, thereby excluding the Parliament.

Because of the mere consultative function of the Parliament in the Community legislative process the drafters of the Rome Treaties might not have considered it necessary to recognize the Parliament's capacity to sue or be sued. The institutional structure has, however, meanwhile undergone some changes.2 Thus the Parliament acquired under the budgetary agreements of 1970 and 1973 some limited budgetary powers.3 And under the Single European Act it obtained greater power in the Community legislative process in the so called co-operation proceeding;4 moreover, a power of co-decision in admitting a new State to the Community5 or in concluding an association agreement with a third State.6 Yet the inter-governmental Conference charged to draft this Act rejected a proposed

____________________
*
© Gerhard Bebr, 1990, former Legal Advisor to the Commission of the European Communities and Member of the Advisory Board of the Common Market Law Review.
1
Pescatore, "'Possible Conflicts between Community Institutions in the Implementation of Community Law'", FIDE, 9th Congress, Reports at 6.2 ( 1980).
2
For a general discussion of the institutional development Glaesner, Das Recht als Gestaltungsmittel der Politik der Europäischen Gemeinschaften (Nomos Verlagsgesselschaft, Baden-Baden, 1986) 160-83.
3
OJ 1970 L 94/19; OJ 1977 L 359/1.
4
Art 149 EEC Treaty as am ed by the SEA Art 14.
5
Art 237 EEC Treaty as amended by the SEA Art 8.
6
Art 238 EEC Treaty as amended by the SEA Art 9.

-171-

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