policy making in the EP

The importance of the European Parliament for the EU policy making process is growing. This observation is shared between researchers and practitioners. One dimension of this development is the inter-institutional working relationship between Council, COM and EP. With respect to the growing importance of the EP, one can think of it as a competition over influence that is reflected in recent attempts to modernise the Treaty and Constitutional Treaty respectively.

At the beginning of this year I had the opportunity to interview a long standing MEP who had served in many senior positions including that of the EP president. With respect to the inter-institutional relationship he mentioned the regular and compulsory meetings between the COM and the heads of the political groups in the EP as focal point. Although single MEPs also talk to the COM, it is only an incumbent on meetings with the heads of the fractions. Those EP-COM meetings proceed in a professional atmosphere, where both institutions asses the others thinking about policy proposals. In general, he said, COM and EP are aligned against the Council in favouring a community approach. With COM in regular contact with administrations in the MS, the EP leadership coordinates its political approach closely with the Council Presidency. In addition to their constituencies, MEPs also are in regular contacts with societal groups via events or receptions.