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The European parliament and the commission crisis: a new assertiveness?

Judge, David and Earnshaw, D. (2002) The European parliament and the commission crisis: a new assertiveness? Governance, 15 (3). pp. 345-374.

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This article examines two claims made about the 'Commission crisis' of 1999: first, that the accountability of the Commission to the European Parliament (EP) was significantly increased; and, second, that the model of parliamentary government in the European Union (EU) was advanced by events in 1999. In analyzing the crisis and its consequences, this article focuses upon the powers of dismissal and appointment, and what these powers reveal about the capacity of the EP both to hold the Commission responsible for its collective and individual actions and to influence its policy agenda. If a parliamentary model is to develop in the EU, the negative parliamentary powers of censure and dismissal have to be balanced by the positive powers of appointment and enhanced executive responsiveness. On both counts - dismissal and appointment - the 1999 'Commission crisis' did not point to the clear and unambiguous dawning of a 'genuine European parliamentary democracy.'