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national legislatures, while the European Parliament is

insufficiently legitimate to redress the power shift. In the previous

sections, we have seen that the Treaty of Lisbon makes the EP

operate more like the Council (with more deals struck by small

circles, and fewer issues subject to public, plenary debates) and the

Council operates more like the Commission (by gaining more

autonomy from domestic legislatures). The current section will

examine the one institution that has the potential to redress the

shifting balance.

A. Subsidiarity

(A) Logical Evaluation

One of the challenges faced by the EP is that of the “no



” or “no European public” problem. Since this

problem is inherent to the Union and may be insurmountable,

national parliaments retain the position as the ultimate institution

that can make democracy work right in Europe. If national

parliaments are passive with respect to engaging in European

affairs, by giving national parliaments a treaty-based role in formal

decision-making, the Union may nonetheless improve its own

democratic legitimacy via national parliaments. In other words, if

the job of national parliaments is to legislate and to hold national

executive power accountable, then, when the national executive

power becomes active and engaged at the European level, national

parliaments should follow suit. By staying put “within their own

neatly nationally fenced off compartments,” national parliaments

have fallen far behind in the performance of their oversight of

policy making with regard to European affairs and allowed

executives to develop a robust, interwoven, and complex

administrative network that operates over the horizons of national

parliaments (Curtin, 2009: 134-135).

The Treaty of Lisbon empowers national parliaments to

ensure compliance of EU policies with the principle of subsidiarity.