The role of national parliaments in the European Union (EU) has developed considerably over time. This book focuses on one parliament as a case study in this regard: the national parliament of Ireland, the Oireachtas. The basic structure of that parliament is modelled on that of the United Kingdom. Like the United Kingdom, Ireland joined the then European Communities on 1 January 1973. Within a relatively short period from the date of Ireland's joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, it became clear that major structural change to the Communities would be needed if the EEC were ever to fulfil its potential. The book examines the initial adaptations of its parliament to European integration and how Ireland's domestic parliamentary accommodation of membership slowly changed over time. It focuses on the considerable impact on domestic parliamentary arrangements of the recent banking and foreign debt crises and of the Treaty of Lisbon. An assessment of the role of the Oireachtas in European law and policy during the lifetimes of the 30th Dail (2007-11) and the 31st Dail (2011-16) follows. The book discusses the formation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs, which held its first meeting in private on 19 July 2016, and its first public meeting on 7 September. However, Ireland's position as a "slow adaptor" to European integration has meant that the Oireachtas has had more ground to make up than many other legislatures.
The development of a role for nationalparliaments in the European Union
Nationalparliaments: a role in the shadow of the Treaties
This chapter seeks to examine the norms which the European Union (EU) has
established regarding the role of nationalparliaments, and how these norms have
evolved over time, and then offer some brief reflections on how domestic legal
systems within the EU have tailored the role of their nationalparliaments in EU
Nationalparliaments were present at the birth of the EU. Each of the three
Why are we augmenting the role of
nationalparliaments in European
affairs? Should we continue to do so?
What are the arguments concerning giving nationalparliaments an increased role in EU matters?
The empowerment of nationalparliaments: an idea whose time
The idea of augmenting the powers of nationalparliaments in EU policy matters
has momentum. There are several possible reasons, e.g., the gradual expansion
of EU activities into a wider and more politicised range of policy fields, and
the perception that this would help remedy a supposed
Local identities and a nationalparliament,
The increase in parliamentary activity following the Glorious Revolution of 1688
is one of the most conspicuous features of the eighteenth-century landscape,
and a large proportion of the growing volume of legislation arose from local
bills. More recently, historians have also been alerted to the significance of failed
legislation which reveals even higher levels of business emanating from the
localities.2 Legislation of both kinds, national and local, attracted an even
Catalysts for reform of the Oireachtas role in European Union affairs
factors played a role in
catalysing the economic crisis within the country, domestic factors –institutional,
procedural and indeed attitudinal –also need to be addressed to improve Ireland’s
resilience to future shocks.2
Reform pressures generated by the Lisbon Treaty and the economic crisis thus
pushed, to some degree, against an open door.
Nationalparliaments in the European Union
The impact of the banking and sovereign debt crises is examined below. The
provisions of the Treaty itself and of the Lisbon Treaty and its associated Protocols
The Land parliaments
deputies in Germany
When one reads of European parliaments and their members, one normally thinks of the national level. This is understandable with respect to
the mostly unitary political systems, which have only nationalparliaments.
But some of these states, such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and
Belgium, are federal systems, and some others, such as Spain, have a semifederal territorial organization. In these systems far more parliamentarians
are members of regional parliaments
Otmar Höll, Johannes Pollack, and Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann
his constitutional role – i.e. without specific competences in European
In comparison with other nationalparliaments the Austrian parliament is
provided with strong constitutionally embodied participation rights in the
field of EU policy.23 Articles 23e and 23f were introduced in a constitutional amendment in December 1994 regulating the rights of information
and opinion. Thus, Morass (1996) talks about a ‘special constitutional
democratic legitimation’ by the parliament.24 Today this assessment
facilitate independents in Ireland, accounting for why it has an
exceptional number in its nationalparliament.
These factors have been discussed in terms of a series of five premises throughout this study. The first was that the presence of independents is related to the openness of the party system; the second
that it is due to a tradition of electoral success for independents; the
third that there is a conducive political culture; the fourth that this
is facilitated by a candidate-centred electoral system; while the fifth
premise is that independents have relevance
In 1660 the four nations of the British Isles were governed by one imperial crown but by three parliaments. The abolition of the Scottish and Irish Parliaments in 1707 and 1800 created a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland centred upon the Westminster legislature. This book takes state formation. A number of important points emerge, however, the book deals with three. The first and most obvious point is that the unions were limited in scope and were palpably not incorporating . The second point is that, depending upon the issue, parliament required or encouraged not only different arguments but different voices. The final conclusion to emerge from these essays is that utility of 'national identity' as a way of understanding how people in the period conceived of themselves and their relationship to the state is not as clear and certain as might be first thought. National identity was one amongst a number of geo-political communities people might belong to, albeit a very important one. Inasmuch as the Westminster parliament provided a forum in which debates about how to legislate for three kingdoms took place, in its own way it helped to reinforce awareness of that difference. Liverpool petitions allow us to explore the intersection between policy debate and imperial identity during a pivotal era in the evolution of the British Empire. After 1832, virtual representation, though it survived in many different ways, became associated in the colonial context with nabobs and planters, the very demons of 'old Corruption'.
Reflections on how the role of the Irish parliament in European affairs might be improved
Looking to the future: reflections on
how the role of the Irish parliament in
European affairs might be improved
The question of why nationalparliaments should be acquiring an increased role
in EU policy matters was examined in Chapter 2. This chapter focuses on the
particular case of the Oireachtas and considers what improvements could be
effected in its EU-related role.
Ireland’s EU membership has given rise to many challenges for the Oireachtas.1
It is not unique among parliaments in this.2 However, Ireland’s position as a “slow