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can the European Parliament be regarded as an effective legislative

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Introduction

Can the European Parliament be regarded as an effective legislative? The European parliament 'first constituted as the assembly of the European coal and steal community' (Nugent, 2006), is the parliamentary body of the European Union. Since 1979, Member have been elected every five years by the citizens of the European Union member states, there are currently 732 members of European parliament (MEPs). The number of MEP's that each member state has is directly proportionate to the population and size of that state. The president is elected by an absolute majority vote, and 'directs its activities and acts as it's representative.' (European parliament, 2006). General opinion of the parliament is that it is an ineffectual institution; this essay will attempt to discuss whether this reputation is justified, discussing the various powers the parliament possesses and whether they are tantamount to an effective legislative. The parliament exercises its power, as with national parliaments 'in three main ways: through the legislative process, through the budgetary process, and through control and supervision of the executive.'(Nugent,2006). The European Parliament does some would argue have lots of opportunities in which it can influence European Union legislation. Its main role 'is to debate policy and to make recommendations to the commission' (Drake,1994). ...read more.

Middle

This power of co-decision gives the European parliament incredible affective legislative powers, as it has the power of veto over two legislative proposals. Another very important legislative procedure of the European community is that of assent. This is similar to that of the consultation procedure however parliament can not amend a piece of legislation it can only reject or accept a proposal, the decision is taken at a single reading as well as opposed to two separate readings. The legislation decided to be put through each separate decision making process varies depending on which treaty articles the proposal is based. With regard to legislative votes 46% used the consultation procedure, 27% the co-operation procedure and 25% the co-decision procedure and 1% the assent procedure.(Noury and Noland, 2002). In order for the European parliament to have more effective legislative power, it is obviously in its own interests for the majority of legislation to go through the co-decision procedure. With this in mind the European parliament gained more legislative power, in the Amsterdam treaty where 'a number of policy areas were upgraded from consultation to co-decision.' (Nugent, 2006). This means greater power for the European parliament in terms of legislation, the power of veto over a number of areas does have a large effect and could mean the general opinion of the parliament as ineffective, is an outdated one. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is also the situation when it comes to consulting on legislation as the parliament is not fully consulted on all legislation it can not always have an influence over it and therefore becomes an ineffective organisation. Also as the power fo veto that the government has can be over turned by the council at anytime, the effective legislative power is somewhat diminished. There is however the view point that a lot of these fall downs in parliamentary power are not in practice that difficult to overcome, The commission and the council often find it increasingly difficult to over turn the parliaments decisions and go against its veto's, the parliament also has a large amount of informal power and although the parliament does not have to be consulted on all of the legislative in practice most of it is discussed with them even if this is only on an informal basis. In conclusion the parliament is not the main powerhouse behind legislation within the European Union, however it does have some effective legislative power which the commission and council may find difficult to get in the way of. In practice there are a number of limitations the Parliament though and it is not very effective when it comes to all areas of legislation, however unlike general opinion it does in fact have some quite substantial powers which make it effective in some areas of the legislative process. ...read more.

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