Parliamentary Oversight: Challenges Facing Classic Scrutiny Instruments and the Emergence of New Forms of ‘Steering’ Scrutiny

  • Eva-Maria PoptchevaEmail author
Part of the European Administrative Governance book series (EAGOV)


A persisting challenge facing any type of scrutiny remains the co-existence of numerous executive actors at the different levels of EU multilevel decision-making, which often seek to deliberately escape parliamentary control. The competition between several actors at both the agenda-setting and implementation stages of EU legislation makes it necessary for the different political actors involved, and hence also for the European Parliament, to use their say on legislative and policy programming to bring to bear the insights of their respective scrutiny exercises. The increasingly stronger political link between the Parliament and the Commission also justifies an increased effort on Parliament’s side to constructively shape future policy and legislative action based on implementation results. If executive action is already significantly predetermined at the stage of agenda-setting, for instance, the ex-post control needs to be complemented by an ex-ante control, as well as by other ‘steering’ oversight tools, so as to be able to pre-empt the effects of agenda-setting and legislation on their implementation.


  1. Alexandrova, P. (2015). Analysis of Agenda Setting in the European Council, 2009–2014. Study for the European Parliamentary Research Service, European Council Oversight Unit, Brussels.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, S., & Burns, T. (1996). The European Union and the Erosion of Parliamentary Democracy: A Study of Post-Parliamentary Governance. In S. Andersen & K. Eliassen (Eds.), The European Union: How Democratic Is It? (pp. 227–251). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartolini, S. (2006). Should the Union be ‘Politicised’? Prospects and Risks. In Simon Hix and Stefano Bartolini, (Eds.), Politics: The Right or the Wrong Sort of Medicine for the EU? (pp. 28–50). Notre Europe Policy Papers, No. 19.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, K. (1997). The European Parliament and Comitology: On the Road to Nowhere? European Law Journal, 3(3), 230–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley, K. (2008). Halfway House: The 2006 Comitology Reforms and the European Parliament. West European Politics, 31(3), 837–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brandsma, G. J. (2013). Controlling Comitology Accountability in a Multi-Level System. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Corbett, R., Jacobs, F., & Neville, D. (2016). The European Parliament (9th ed.). John Harper Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Dann, P. (2006). The Political Institutions. In A. von Bogdandy & J. Bast (Eds.), Principles of European Constitutional Law (1st ed., pp. 229–279). Hart.Google Scholar
  9. De Schoutheete, Ph., & Micossi, S. (2013). On Political Union in Europe: The Changing Landscape of Decision-Making and Political Accountability. CEPS Essay No. 4/21, February.Google Scholar
  10. Eggermont, F. (2012). The Changing Role of the European Council in the Institutional Framework of the European Union. Cambridge: Intersentia METRO.Google Scholar
  11. Fabbrini, F. (2016). Economic Governance in Europe. Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fabbrini, S. (2013). Intergovernmentalism and Its Limits: Assessing the European Union’s Answer to the Euro Crisis. Comparative Political Studies, 46(9), 1003–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fabbrini, S. (2017, May 4). The Dual Executive of the European Union: A Comparative Federalism’s Approach. EUSA Biennal Conference, Miami.Google Scholar
  14. Fasone, C. (2014). European Economic Governance and Parliamentary Representation. What Place for the European Parliament? European Law Journal, 20(2), 164–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Follesdal, A., & Hix, S. (2006). Why There Is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik. Journal for Common Market Studies (JCMS), 44(3), 533–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freixes, T. (2013). Multilevel Constitutionalism and Federalism Reflections Upon the Congress on “The Path to Federalism in the State of Autonomies”. In The Ways of Federalism in Western Countries and the Horizons of Territorial Autonomy in Spain (pp. 61–72) Volume I/coord. por Alberto López Basaguren, Leire Escajedo San Epifani.Google Scholar
  17. Grabbe, H., & Lehne, S. (2013). The 2014 European Elections: Why a Partisan Commission President Would be Bad for the EU. Centre for European Reform.Google Scholar
  18. Hix, S. (2006). Why the EU Needs (Left-Right) Politics? Policy Reform and Accountability Are Impossible Without It, in Politics: The Right or the Wrong Sort of Medicine for the EU? Notre Europe, Policy paper no. 19. Two papers by Simon Hix and Stefano Bartolini.Google Scholar
  19. Isensee, J., & Kirchhof, P. (2005). Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Band III Demokratie-Bundesorgane. Heidelberg: C.F. Mueller Verlag.Google Scholar
  20. Kaeding, M., & Hardacre, A. (2013). The European Parliament and the Future of Comitology After Lisbon. European Law Journal: Review of European Law in Context, 19(3), 382–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klein, H. H. (2005). Stellung und Aufgaben des Bundestags. In J. Isensee & P. Kirchhof (Eds.), Handbuch des Staatsrechts, Band III Demokratie-Bundesorgane. Heidelberg: Müller Jur. Ver.Google Scholar
  22. Krebs, W. (1984). Kontrolle in staatlichen Entscheidungsprozessen, Ein Beitrag zur rechtlichen Analyse von gerichtlichen, parlamentarischen und Rechnungshof-Kontrollen. Münsterer Beiträge zum Öffentlichen Recht, Bd. 3.Google Scholar
  23. Lijphart, A. (2012). Patterns of Democracy, Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (2nd ed.). London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Lindberg, L. N., & Scheingold, S. A. (1970). Europe’s Would-be Polity: Patterns of Change in the European Community. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Lodge, J. (1994). The European Parliament and the Authority-Democracy Crisis. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 531, 69–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Majone, G. (1994). The Rise of the Regulatory State in Europe. West European Politics, 17(3), 77–101; The Credibility Crisis of Community Regulation. Journal of Common Market Studies, 38(2) (2000, June), 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Majone, G. (2000). The Credibility Crisis of Community Regulation. Journal for Common Market Studies, 38(2), 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maunz, T., & Dürig, G. (2017). Grundgesetz-Kommentar, 81. EL September 2017.Google Scholar
  29. Pernice, I. (2009). The Treaty of Lisbon: Multilevel Constitutionalism in Action. Columbia Journal of European Law, 15(3), 349–407.Google Scholar
  30. Pernice, I. (2015). Multilevel Constitutionalism and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe. European Constitutional Law Review, 11(3), 541–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peters, A. (2011). Soft Law as a New Model of Governance. In U. Diedrichs, W. Reiners, & W. Wessels (Eds.), The Dynamics of Change in EU Governance (pp. 21–51). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  32. Ponzano, P., Hermanin, C., & Corona, D. (2012). The Power of Initiative of the European Commission: A Progressive Erosion? Paris: Notre Europe.Google Scholar
  33. Poptcheva, E.-M. (2015). The State of the Union Debate in the European Parliament. Brussels: European Parliamentary Research Service.Google Scholar
  34. Poptcheva, E.-M. (2016). Parliament’s Committees of Inquiry and Special Committees. Brussels: European Parliamentary Research Service.Google Scholar
  35. Proksch, S. O., & Slapin, J. B. (2011). Parliamentary Questions and Oversight in the European Union. European Journal of Political Research, 50, 53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Raunio, T. (1996). Parliamentary Questions in the European Parliament: Representation, Information and Control. Journal of Legislative Studies, 2(4), 356–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Raunio, T. (1999). Always One Step Behind? National Legislatures and the European Union. Government and Opposition, 34, 180–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schmidt, J. (2007). Die demokratische Legitimationsfunktion der parlamentarischen Kontrolle: eine verfassungsrechtliche Untersuchung über Grundlage, Gegenstand und Grenzen der parlamentarischen Kontrolle unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der ministerialfreien Räume und der Privatisierung, in Schriften zum Öffentlichen Recht, Band 1064. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.Google Scholar
  39. Stern, E. (2009). Evaluation Policy in the European Union and its Institutions. Evaluation Policy and Evaluation Practice. New Directions for Evaluation, 123, 71.Google Scholar
  40. Syrier, C. (2013). The Investigative Function of the European Parliament: Holding the EU Executive to Account by Conducting Investigations. Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers.Google Scholar
  41. Tans, O., Carla Zoethout, C., & Peters, J. (2007). National Parliaments and European Democracy. A Bottom-Up Approach to European Constitutionalism. Groningen: Europa Law Publishing.Google Scholar
  42. Teasdale, A., & Bainbridge, T. (2012). The Penguin Companion to European Union, Additional Web Entry on Censure Motion. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  43. Tribe, L. (1988). American Constitutional Law, University Treatise Series.Google Scholar
  44. Tusk, D. (2017, October 17). Letter to the Heads of State and Government. Press Release 593/17.Google Scholar
  45. Van Rompuy, H. (2010). Communiqué de Herman Van Rompuy, président du Conseil européen, à la suite de la réunion du groupe de travail sur la gouvernance économique, PCE 161/10, Brussels, July 12.Google Scholar
  46. Vanden Broucke, J., De Finance, S., & Poptcheva, E.-M. (2015). The European Council and Its President. Brussels: European Parliamentary Research Service.Google Scholar
  47. Verhey, L. (2009). Political Accountability: A Useful Concept. In L. Verhey, P. Kiiver, & S. Loeffen (Eds.), EU Inter-Institutional Relations? Political Accountability and European Integration. Groningen: Europa Law Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Welle, K. (2016). Strategic Planning for the Secretariat–General of the European Parliament. Brussels.Google Scholar
  49. Wessels, W. (2016). The European Council. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Parliamentary Research ServiceEuropean ParliamentBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations