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The Institutions of the European Union

The Institutions of the European Union (5th edn)

Dermot Hodson, Uwe Puetter, Sabine Saurugger, and John Peterson
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date: 23 July 2024

p. 1286. The European Parliament

powerful but fragmentedlocked

p. 1286. The European Parliament

powerful but fragmentedlocked

  • Ariadna Ripoll Servent
  •  and Olivier Costa


The European Parliament (EP) symbolizes many of the struggles that characterize the process of European integration and is at the core of many theoretical and empirical debates about representation, accountability, and legitimacy. This chapter draws on a variety of theoretical approaches to explain the complex role the EP plays in the political system of the European Union (EU). It starts with a brief overview of the history and functions of the assembly, followed by a theoretical explanation of its empowerment over time. Then, it determines the extent to which the EP is capable of influencing policymaking, both in legislative and non-legislative domains, as well as for the appointment of the Commission. It presents the political structure of the assembly and underlines the role of parliamentary groups and committees. It discusses the representativeness of the EP and the democratic quality of its internal functioning. Finally, it addresses current and future challenges for the EP.

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