The European Parliament, Transparency and Trilogues

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Justin Greenwood , Robert Gordon University
Christilla Roederer-Rynning , Political Science, University of Southern Denmark
In the 7th term of the European Parliament (EP) almost 90% of all legislative files under co-decision were adopted as first-reading agreements, resulting from inter-institutional trilogue negotiations.  These have attracted criticism for their transparency and a corresponding tendency to depoliticise EU policy making.  In response, EU institutions have developed a set of evolving internal arrangements for oversight, but an open question is whether these are sufficient to ensure their political content.  Is the EP drawn into unfamiliar territory of the Council’s quiet world of diplomacy, or does the EP draw the Council into unfamiliar political territory? In the European Parliament, some mechanisms of oversight have emerged from central co-ordination, and some from the practice of individual committees via the secretariat and from members.  These arrangements have helped to institutionalise the political development of the EP by securing its autonomy, and to prioritise the political content of legislative negotiations, but an open question concerns their durability from one term to another.  Whilst secretariat and central units help to secure autonomy and continuity, the extent to which members play a political role viz. information supply from member states and outside interests to influence the course of trilogue negotiations, and to introduce contestation, is unknown.  We develop a research strategy to identify and conceptualise these information flows and their consequences, and present some preliminary findings from an early stage of a research project aimed at looking inside the ‘black box’ of trilogues and their implications for contested politics in the European Union.
  • CES1 2017 Greenwood Roederer Rynning.pdf (497.2 kB)