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06.2 Program for the Study of Germany and Europe

How European Integration Impacts on National Legislatures: The Europeanization of The German Bundestag



In looking at the Europeanization of the German Bundestag, the paper brings together two different debates: the well-established debate on the democratic legitimacy of the European Union sees national Parliaments as guarantor of one branch of a "dual" legitimacy. The more recent debate on "Europeanization" addresses the impacts that European integration has had on its Member States. Analyzing the Europeanization of the German Bundestag, the paper identifies and analyzes three dimensions: legislative Europeanization – the extent to which legislative decision making by the German Bundestag has been influenced by European stipulations over the last twenty years; institutional Europeanization – how the Bundestag as an institution reacted to this loss of function by establishing institutional and procedural provisions for influencing the government's Euro-politics; and strategic Europeanization – the ways in which individual MPs started more recently to develop euro-political strategies that go beyond controlling the national government. The paper shows that the Bundestag only hesitantly reacted to the increasing loss of functions through legislative Europeanization by establishing effective institutional and procedural provisions for controlling the government's Euro-political activities. What is more, the establishment of institutions does not guarantee their effective use. All in all, Euro- politics continues to remain the activity of few MPs. These few, however, have more recently started to europeanize their strategies. The empirical findings support the claim that the traditional concept of chains of legitimacy is inadequate, both in conceptual and in empirical terms. With regard to the democ- ratic legitimacy of EU governance, this indicates that, apart from major reform projects, especially with regard to everyday legislation, not too great a burden should be placed on national Parliaments.