Aristide CANEPA: La funzione parlamentare in Europa: tra evoluzione del Parlamento europeo e crisi dei Parlamenti nazionali (The “Parliamentary Function in Europe: Between European Parliament Evolution and National Parliaments Crisis) Abstract: The work is the result of prof. Canepa’s participation in a “Progetto di Ricerca di Interesse Nazionale” (National Interest Research Project) granted in 2002 by the Ministry of University and coordinated by prof. Michele Scudiero (University of Naples-“Federico II”), about “Europe’s Institutional Perspectives. The Proposals of the European Convention, the Decisions of the Intergovernmental Conference and Their Implementation”. Prof. Canepa was part of the research unit of the University of Genoa, coordinated by prof. Adriano Giovannelli and in charge of “The Evolution of the form of government in the European Union”. Research Units from the Universities of Naples-“Federico II”, Cagliari, Parma and Calabria also took part in the research. The work starts from a synthetic survey of the more important historical conceptions of Parliaments’ role and, then, passes to evaluate whether (and in which measure) the evolution of European Parliament’s role and powers have been making it more similar to the model of Parliament prevailing in the liberal democracies (although such a model is not so unequivocal as we are used to think). A brief historical excursus considers the gradual growing of parliamentary body’s powers in the European Communities, from ECSC’s Common Assembly to European Parliament in its different developments, paying particular attention to the Single European Act and the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam. The work examines then the functions EP carries out now on the ground of the Treaty of Nice, and it systematizes them according to the constitutional law traditional analysis of parliamentary assemblies’ role: representative functions (from which also a function of decision-making processes’ legitimation descends), policy-making functions, legislative functions and control functions. The work embraces the same categories in order to analyse how the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe reforms European Parliament’s role and powers. By using such interpretative categories, it is made clear that important European Parliament’s powers (such as the powers related to the budget or to the Commission approval) are not understandable as parts of the same functions they are currently playing in the National constitutional orders. Such a difference has been reduced, but not cancelled by the constitutional Treaty. In consequence, it isn’t possible to evaluate the possible dynamics of the future EU institutions through the classical models of constitutional regimes and forms of government. Then, the work analyses the relations between European Parliament and the national ones, in the light of the scholars’ debate (especially about the so-called democratic deficit and the subsidiarity principle), of the Convention works and of the rules established by the constitutional Treaty and the annexed Protocols on the role of national parliaments in the European Union and on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The analysis allows to draw the conclusion that the “parliamentary function”, as it is now developed in the institutional framework of the European Union and the member States as well, is not understandable through the classical models of national State, typical of the XIX c., which lie still on the ground of the interpretative categories used by Italian constitutional science. The research allowed to understand that today it isn’t possible to correctly evaluate the richness and the complexity of the “parliamentary function” by studying only the single assemblies. On the contrary, it is now needed to analyse the (partially synergic) system of the representative bodies (at least the ones enjoying legislative powers) at the different levels of government (European, national and sub-national), in a framework becoming more and more a multi-level government system, due to both the convergent processes of European Union constitutionalisation and regional devolution today in progress in several European countries, including Italy.
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