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Upper chambers in EU parliamentary democracies

Romaniello, Maria (2014) Upper chambers in EU parliamentary democracies. Advisor: Lupo, Prof. Nicola. Coadvisor: Masala, Dr. Antonio . pp. 388. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty and the Early Warning System represent the culmination of a long process of European treaties reform, among whose aims was to increase the EU democratic legitimacy. Which was not only undertaken through the enlargement of the European Parliament’s functions, but also through a greater involvement of National Parliaments in the EU decision-making process. However, the Treaty of Lisbon reaffirms the EU blindness toward the internal constitutional setting of its Member States and National Parliaments are treated equally, notwithstanding their powers and functions. Hence, the role of upper houses appears reinforced, because regardless of the internal constitutional setting of its Member States, the Early Warning System establishes an equal distribution of votes between the two houses of the parliament. Hence, the 13 Member States with a bicameral system cannot liberally assign the two votes according to the internal repartition of competencies, but rather the houses must have one vote each. The aim of this research is to explore the impact of the Europeanisation process on upper houses and to assess their value in the Europeanisation discourse. Scrutinising the Italian, the UK and the German upper houses, the research stresses on the differential impact of Europeanisation and it elucidates that the diverse participation patterns reflect the profound heterogeneity of the institutional landscape of National Parliaments. In this respect, the research argues that the upper chambers which are more likely to promptly adapt to the impact of the Europeanisation process, both in terms of structural and procedural organisation and of active involvement in the EU decision-making process, are those characterised by two basic features: the non-partisan membership and the territorial representation of interests. However, it goes without saying that formal powers and party affiliation remain two essential factors. Moreover, as for the issue of executive accountability, the research, beyond the classical political cleavage, affirms the central role of upper chambers in taking the Government into account. In fact, the lack of the confidence vote assures the impartiality of the upper house, which is more likely to act independently from the executive.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
PhD Course: Political Science and Institutional Change
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/157
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 12:53
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/157

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