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The UK Parliament is effectively subservient to European Legislators (Term Paper Sample)


Discuss the following statement with reference to both the EU and the ECHR. “The UK Parliament is effectively subservient to European Legislators.” OSCOLA referencing style for this assignment.

“The UK Parliament is effectively subservient to European Legislators.”
The nature of an existing parliament and the level of power held by the parliamentary individuals determine if a country has the ability of dominating the legislation on another country. The European Union (EU) dominates an estimated 65% of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) legislation. This however does not mean that the sovereignty of the Britons is no longer in existence. This is so since the United Kingdom’s citizens can decide whether to be part of the European Union or not. The fact that the EU has authority over the UK’s legislation has raised suspicion since the UK has always been fighting for democracy over the years. Various scholars and analysts, who try to understand why and how a proud nation like the UK has succumbed to EU’s dominance, have scrutinized the existing relationship between the two. As a result, a European project was generated with an aim of taking governance of the nation’s states. In addition, the project aimed at creating a perpetuating rule, which could not be inconvenienced by democracy. This however resulted to a weakened UK parliament, as elected candidates had no power. Further, this resulted in the development of fear of a democratic crisis arising among the European elites.
Characteristics of the European Parliament
Bureaucrats, who did not intend to extend the democracy, designed the Rome Treaty of 1956. Evidently, the European foundation had a Commission that was in charge of all the new Union’s affairs. The commission had a strong support for bureaucracy, which led to a feeling of resentment among the European parliamentary individuals. Further, the existing power was subordinated amid the enlisted members of the Commission. Despite the fact that members of the European parliament had huge salaries to enjoy, their expense meters had also gone up. In addition, their powers and authority had declined. The European Parliament is still subservient to the commission consisting of enlisted members. As a result, an undemocratic parliamentary structure has been developed, which has resulted in a continued Euro-corruption among the member states.
How the EU Perceived Democracy
It is clear how the EU is undemocratic. For instance, the EU split its power among three institutions namely the European Parliament, the Commission, and the council of ministers. The commission’s president appointed commission members based on the criterion that a country should have a representative in the commission. However, the electorate did not account for the criterion of selection. Into the bargain, the commission set forth its agendas and made legislation proposals, national parliament’s ministers formed the Council of ministers after vying for seats in an election on national manifestos, and political leaders in the European Council had the ability of exercising power when it was deemed appropriate. Moreover, the EU is also perceived undemocratic since all meetings attended by the European Union members took place behind closed doors without any recordings made for the public to view and listen to. In addition, an estimated eighty percent of the proposals made were stored at an “A” list, a location set aside for items that ministers found hard to examine.
In Britain, there existed an assumption that every legislation item had to be scrutinized prior to being approved by the minister. To ensure this, a scrutiny system was designed back in the year 1973 with an aim of deterring ministers from approving a legislative subject before being a subject of inspection by parliamentary members. Having in mind the fact that the MPs could not influence whatever the council of ministers had undertaken; the scrutiny system was considered an empty ritual.
EU’s Acts of Democracy
Election of EU commission councillors in 2009 took place under the assumption that the Lisbon Treaty was ratified while in actual sense, it was not. Under this treaty, an increase in the overall number of seats of each country was required in order to accommodate an overall of 754 members. Consequently, the UK had an extra seat based in West Midlands while Spain had four extra seats. The extra seats were referred to as the “observer” seats until the treaty was ratified.
In the EU, power lies within the council of ministers and the commission. The union has no obligation of taking into account any of the amendments that the parliament proposes. All the positions available in the European government have no effective opposition and the existing power is required to rest on parliament, which has little legitimacy because of its election method. In the European Union, the council of ministers is considered as the most powerful body. The fact that the council holds close door meetings is unacceptable by the legislative body. In addition, the European Commission can propose new legal initiatives, which have the ability of trumping national sovereignty. The result of the act is that a strange type of bureaucracy is born that requires the commission to broaden its reach without being self-conscious. Reason being that the European integration has to be free from the political oversight that currently exists at a national level.
For a government to be considered effective and active, it has to ensure accountability and transparency in its governance.The European government identifies the direction that Europe should move through new legal initiatives. On the other hand, new initiatives are required to evolve from the European government or the ministers available in the council. Moreover, the commission is required to serve the people of Europe rather than governing them.
Elements of a Democratic Country
Any democratic test is required to contain or at least cover issues on fair presentation, participatory mean, respect for the rights of the people, accountability and transparency of any decisions arrived at. After a five-year term in service, an election should be set up for self-governing parties where the current government could be thrown out in case the electors do not concur with the current operations of the government.
From the identified elements, it is clear that the EU does not fit within the template of democracy. This is supported by the fact that political parties are not considered as part of the European Union’s government. The electorate appoints the members of the European Commission whilst the non-elected members propose the EU legislation. As a result, political parties vying for elections do not have the ability of indicating within their manifestation what they are likely to do with the government. This is because they do not occupy a position within the government. Additionally, the parliament has to accept the legislation proposed by the commission whose powers are limited when altering the legislation. Once the legislation is passed, acts of altering the legislation become difficult. The electorate has no ability of overthrowing the government in case another election is called upon since the electorate is not involved in acts of electing the government.
The Doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy and the ECHR
A supreme parliament is one that has the ability of making laws governing any issue. Parliamentary supremacy arises in cases where there is no available parliament, which has the ability of binding a future parliament, and where there is no valid parliamentary act that can be questioned by the court. Thus, the parliament is considered the strongest and highest lawmaker of the land. The unitary UK’s parliament has sovereignty that exists in its parliament or the central governing institution. This government is sovereign in that it has the ability of making and changing any local laws without any legal constraints in existence. As a result, it has remained effectively subservient to European Legislators.
Other than being an early signatory, the UK contributes majorly towards the drafting of the European Convention on Human rights (ECHR). ECHR had a greater influence on the UK’s local law. However, the separation of the national law from the international law was evident, as had the ability of indulging into treaties on behalf of the United Kingdom. Considering parliamentary and sovereignty acts, UK’s internal laws should not be altered by existing treaties. Treaties do not give rise to rights, which are enforceable in courts. However, the ECHR is a convention that has a meaning towards British Citizens as they consider it an unusual treaty. This treaty creates obligations between the states and generation of individual rights, enforceable among signatories.
The ECHR had some distinct effects on the existing UK law. For instance, the convention has the ability of interpreting the ambiguous legislation of the UK. Moreover, the convention aids in the acts of exercising administrative discretion. It is however rarely utilized when generating new rules of development. According to the ECHR, some national courts such as the Britain’s court should be having a greater authority regarding local laws. In addition, ECHR also argues that Britain’s court should be provided with an enhanced opportunity of interpreting any decisions that come their way.
The ECHR needs to include clauses that will favour national courts such as Britain’s national courts with a say on their local law. The fact that the EU split its power among three institutions namely the European Parliament, the Commission, and the council of ministers, offers evidence of how undemocratic the EU is. This is evident as the EU dominates the UK’s legislation by an approximate of 65%. The UK citizens have the opportunity of deciding on whether or not they want to be a ...
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