News reports Oversight

Op-ed on current initiatives for enhancing EU’s democratic transparency

Parliamentary disobedience in the the eurosceptic UK strengthens democratic oversight in the EU.

On 4 Februari, an op-ed article by professor Deirdre Curtin of the Open Government in the EU project, entitled “How the British are making the EU more democratic”, was published in Dutch daily Trouw. The article (in Dutch) is reproduced below. By clicking on the image, the picture is shown in a larger version.


The article was written in preparation of a debate on the ‘United Kingdom and the State of the European Democracy’, organized by the Montesquieu Institute, in which professor Curtin participated. In the article, she argues that some of the initiatives that eurosceptic members of the British parliament are coming up with ironically may have a rather positive effect on democratic oversight on European decision-making, especially in the Council of Ministers and the European Council.

As a particular example of the regained parliamentary assertiveness, the article mentions an instance of “parliamentary disobedience” in which a British MP made reference in parliament to an EU document that, according to internal Council rules, should not be discussed in public. The speaker of the house allowed this public discussion with a view to the document’s public importance. “So it happened, and surely the roof didn’t come falling down.” –MH