The German States’ New Role in EU Affairs

In Germany, the process of European integration has altered the balance of power between the executive and the legislature as well as the federal and state levels. This process has by and large worked to the detriment of parliaments and of the “Länder.” However, this balance of power is still forming in the wake of the 2009 EU Treaty – along with several rulings of the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC). The 16 German state parliaments perceive the new provisions for subsidiarity control that are codified in the Lisbon Treaty and the FFC’s 2009 Lisbon ruling as a political opportunity to refresh their long-term call for enhanced legislative and control rights in European affairs. All state parliaments have introduced reforms regarding their rights vis-à-vis their state executives; while some reforms are fairly modest, reforms are quite ambitious in other states (e.g. in Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg). The presentation will address these reform processes in the German Länder parliaments. The first key question is whether and to what extent the state parliaments become effective law-makers and controllers in EU affairs. The second question is whether this state-level re-parliamentarization will diminish the democratic deficit of the European Union.

Prof. Dr., Gabriele Abels is Jean Monnet Chair of European integration at the Institute of Political Science, University of Tuebingen, Germany, and director of the PRRIDE Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. Her research interests are democracy and European integration, parliaments and the EU, regulatory agencies, food safety regulation and gender studies. From 2012-2015 she was president of the German political science association DVPW. Her recent publications include: Subnational Parliaments in the EU Multi-level Parliamentary System: Taking Stock of the Post-Lisbon Era (co-edited with Annegret Eppler; Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2015).

May 4, 2016