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attention is to be paid to its views, a rethink on the issue of first-

reading agreements is also essential” (European Parliament, 2012b).

In sum, contrary to the expectation that ordinary legislative

procedures would enhance the transparency and quality of EU

law-making, the routine conclusion at first reading has led to a

change in the legislative pattern that suits the Council well. What

appears to be a move to legitimize the Union has led to the

de facto

disempowerment of the EP and served to deflect attention away

from the expansion of the Council’s executive power (Curtin,

2007: 160). This is the theme of the following section.

IV. The Council and the European Council

The foregoing demonstrates that, by empowering the EP


institution whose own democratic legitimacy continues to be in

question, the Treaty of Lisbon does not succeed in rebalancing the

executive-legislative power relations. Can the Council succeed in

striking a new balance? In this section, I argue that the Treaty of

Lisbon succeeds in neither subjecting the Council to greater

scrutiny, nor enhancing the capacity of national executives to act as

gatekeepers of national interests. I first consider the impact of

expanded co-decision on the accountability of the Council, then

analyze the implications of the newly created posts, i.e., the

President of the European Council, for the accountability and

gatekeeping function of national executives.

A. Council Accountability

(A) Logical Evaluation

The Treaty of Lisbon stipulates that the Council must meet in

public when considering and voting on a draft legislative Act (Art.

15.2, TFEU). It was hoped that enhanced transparency would

allow for closer scrutiny of national executives’ actions in Council

by national parliaments and the public. This provision is innovative