Beyond a Constraining Dissensus: The Role of National Parliaments in Domesticating and Normalising the Politicization of European Integration
At the heart of the growing politicization of the EU lies a concern with how European integration potentially undermines forms of communal self-government linked to established political identities. This concern originates not from the much discussed democratic deficit of EU institutions but from a ‘democratic disconnect’ between domestic democratic institutions and processes and the decisions made at the EU level by national executives and EU officials. Our contention is that enhancing the role of national parliaments in EU decision-making offers a way to reconnect the integration process with the communal self-rule of the member states. We ground this argument in an account of the normative basis of the EU that we dub ‘republican intergovernmentalism’. We argue that national parliaments offer a means for what we term the domestication and normalization of EU policy-making within the democratic processes of the member states. However, these effects will only occur if mainstream domestic parties employ these new parliamentary powers to develop competing EU policies that reflect their core ideological positions and those of their voters. We propose the introduction of a Parliamentary Legislative Initiative as a mechanism to provide an incentive for them to do so.