Mechthild Roos


The European Parliament (EP) can be considered the boldest advocate for ever more European integration. Its members (MEPs) have been pushing for broad Community competences in economic, social and financial policy matters from the EP’s first years of existence – a time in which member states struggled to agree on mere political rapprochement in major parts of the above-mentioned areas, and also a time in which the EP had, according to the Communities’ founding treaties, few parliamentary powers. This paper aims to show that despite the minor role assigned to it by the treaties, the EP developed into a de facto co-legislator long before the Single European Act (SEA), the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam, being able to amend Council regulations and directives, and exercising a certain level of control not only over the Commission, but also the Council through non-binding instruments such as questions, which both institutions regularly answered. Different strategies will be assessed through which the MEPs aimed to gain more parliamentary power. Based on these analyses, the paper seeks to refute dominant theories of the EP as a fairly powerless talking shop prior to its first direct elections in 1979, demonstrating that treaty basis and political reality differed remarkably.


Article Keywords

European Parliament, social policy, European Communities, legislative procedures, European integration, supranational activism

Research Articles
Article Copyright
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
  • Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
  • Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
  • Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.
Further information about archiving and copyright are contained within the JCER Open Access Policy.