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Title: The elected European Parliament and its impact on the process of European integration
Author: Corbett, Richard Graham
ISNI:       0000 0001 2145 7438
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 1994
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The process of European integration has been going on for almost half a century. The last 15 years have seen an elected trans-national Parliament as part of that process. This thesis seeks to explore what impact the existence of an elected, full-time Parliament has had on the integration process. Chapter 1 begins by examining what is actually meant by European integration. It explores the various theoretical approaches, relating them to the intentions of governments and other actors. It finds that there is wide diversity of scholarly approaches and of actor"s objectives, as well as of the importance attributed to a Parliament. Nonetheless, elements of all the main approaches give certain insights into the process and it is possible to construct an overview (or "preliminary synthesis") taking aspects of all the integrative approaches, but which emphasizes in particular the importance of the basic constitutional settlements laid down in the treaties and the role of the institutions, governments and other actor's in using the possibilities thereby created to go further (in the right circumstances) and thereby to generate pressure for constitutional change. Chapter 2 examines what, exactly, was expected of the elected Parliament in academic literature and in political circles prior to and around the time of the first elections. Here, too, it is possible to find an enormous diversity of expectations. From this examination it is possible, bearing in mind the overview of integration theory developed in Chapter 1, to formulate hypothesis about how an elected Parliament might effect the integration process. The remaining chapters attempt to test the impact of the Parliament, at various levels, which overlap in time and content but remain distinct. Firstly, in Chapter 3, the Significance of establishing a new corps of full-time politicians, with back-up support and facilities, is assessed. Independently of the powers and formal role of the institution as such, is there any evidence of a new political network developing having an influence on political classes in Member States and other European institutions? Secondly, in Chapter 4, we examine what use the elected Parliament made of the existing, limited powers that it inherited from the nominated Parliament. Thirdly, Chapter 5 explores the attempts by Parliament to achieve institutional reform within the context of the treaties as they stood at the time of its election, notably by seeking to reach agreements with the other institutions. These three chapters are, in fact, overviews of material that deserves further exploration because, for reasons of time and space, the bulk of the thesis concentrates on exploring the role of the Parliament in securing changes to the treaties themselves - that is to find out what was Parliament's contribution to the processes leading to the Single European Act (SEA) of 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. Thus, Chapter 6 describes how Parliament, after initial hesitation, turned to the path of treaty revision and prepared its own draft treaty on European Union at a time when such a path seemed to offer few prospects. Chapter 7 briefly describes the content of Parliament' s draft treaty and analyses the main objectives it sought to achieve. Chapter 8 looks at Parliament's strategy in building up support for a reform of the treaties and examines the run-up to the calling of the IGC that negotiated the SEA to assess Parliament's impact. Chapter 9 takes us through that IGC with a similar eye to Parliament's role and impact. Chapter 10 assesses how all the institutions, but especially the Parliament, were affected by the SEA and were able to exploit its provisions to achieve a higher level of integration. Chapter 11 examines how Parliament remained dissatisfied and made attempts to launch a new process of treaty reform. Chapter 12 takes us through the IGCs that produced the Maastricht Treaty, again with an eye to Parliament's role and impact. An attempt to bring all this together is made in the concluding Chapter 13 which takes up the synthesis of integration theories developed in Chapter 1 and the hypotheses developed at the end of Chapter 2 to see how the events explored in the intervening chapters (and the assessment made at the end of each chapter) have confirmed or invalidated them. The time-frame covered by this thesis was intended to be essentially the period from the first direct elections in 1979 until the third direct elections in 1989 i.e. the first two legislatures of the EP including the first two years of the application of the SEA. However, the immediate beginning in 1989 of the process leading to the Maastricht Treaty induced me to add the events of 1989 to 1993, but mainly as regards the treaty-making process rather than other institutional developments. Clearly, this thesis is an ambitious one in that it deals with a vast process involving a huge amount of material - hence its length. Its methodology is inevitably one that involves a large amount of piecing together and describing events of the basis of primary and secondary documentary sources, and a considerable degree of participant-observation and direct contact with key actors more than surveys or statistical analysis. Nonetheless, it is not a history thesis, but an attempt to provide an insight into one of the most complex and multi-faceted ongoing political processes of our time, namely that of European integration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politics