National parliaments have two basic ways of influencing the outcomes of the European decision-making process. First, they influence national input legitimacy at the national level on European issues through influencing and controlling their respective national governments. Second, they influence national input legitimacy at the European level on European issues through directly entering into the European decision-making and interacting with the European institutions participating in it. To be able to make use of this second possibility, national parliaments have to devise instruments of cooperation and coordination and learn to use them effectively. The first steps have already been made: national parliaments exchange information on their scrutiny of European legislation and other activities through their permanent representatives in Brussels, the IPEX database and other channels. This article examines the cooperation, or, at least, information exchange among national parliaments on a number of legislative proposals - those chosen for coordinated tests of subsidiarity by national parliaments themselves, those most voted on in the Council of the European Union (EU) and those subjected to three readings in the co-decision procedure - discussed between May 2004 and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. It shows that national parliaments face difficulties caused by the high costs of such cooperation, including the need for flexibility and speed of their own decision-making, as well as administrative costs, whilst they increasingly use the cooperation channels available to them.
Democratic deficit; National parliaments; Subsidiarity check
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