Volume 54 (2017)

Volume 54 (2017) / Issue 2

Andrew Woodhouse, 'With great power, comes no responsibility? The “political exception” to duties of sincere cooperation for national parliaments' (2017) 54 Common Market Law Review, Issue 2, pp. 443–473


As national parliaments gain power in relation to the Union legislative process, we must ask what legal obligations might attach to this increased influence. For Union institutions, obligations apply based on a model of internal immunity and external responsibility; their internal deliberations benefit from a “political exception” to duties of sincere cooperation and it is their external actions for which they are held accountable. This model works for national parliamentary influence on a Council representative; such influence is part of the internal action of the Council and thus ought to benefit from the “political exception”. However, for aggregative power, such as the “early warning system” and the “red card”, this model is problematic, because such power is not accompanied by an externally-facing institutional architecture which can be held accountable. However, this potential for imbalance between rights and obligations ought not be remedied by imposing duties on individual national parliaments: they are actors within a legislative power and thus ought to benefit from the “political exception”.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2017032