The new European Parliament : the Common Agricultural Policy under codecision after the Treaty of Lisbon
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© The Author & University of Jyväskylä
In this thesis, a long analysis has been undertaken that has dealt with a multitude of issues pertaining to the EU, European integration theories, codecision, the Lisbon treaty, the Common Agricultural Policy, transports policy, and environmental policy. One of the most important aspects this thesis has intended to develop is the examination of the changes in the CAP after its inclusion in the codecision system with the Lisbon Treaty after 2009 and until 2014 (seventh legislature of the EP). Interpreting these changes involves the history of the parliamentarization of the EU, mostly since the Maastricht treaty but also since the Treaty of Rome of 1957, as well as the analysis of the EP’s debates together with policy- analytical studies on the CAP. This study started by investigating European integration theories such as neofunctionalism, federalism, intergovernmentalism and more contemporary theories and their main authors such as Ernst Haas, Schuman, Jean Monnet, Leon Lindberg, Alan Milward, Moravcsik, Hoffmann, Frances Lynch, Pierre Renouvin, Catherine Moury, Adrienne Héritier, Kari Palonen and Claudia Wiesner. The main points of discord between these schools have been addressed, the strengths and weaknesses of each school, its main claims, and the evolution of analysis through the decades. After that, a study engaged with the treaties of the European Union, particularly those where an increase of the legal powers of the EP through codecision was obtained – Maastricht treaty, Amsterdam treaty, Nice treaty, the (failed) Constitutional treaty and the Lisbon treaty, while I simultaneously researched the reasons for the successfulness of the Lisbon treaty. These, I believe, were mostly based on it not being as federalist as the Constitutional Treaty - in its name, construction or many other micro-level aspects. Consequently, an analysis on the parliamentarization of the CAP was necessary as this common policy, the oldest in Europe which still represents a third of the EU budget, is the main focus of this study. Many neofunctionalist, intergovernmentalist and more contemporary scholars such as the ones mentioned in the previous paragraphs were studied for this purpose, as the CAP has been debated in European integration ever since it was first created. In this same chapter 6, I clearly delineated which areas came under the codecision system under which specific treaty, something often left aside by most studies. Since the CAP has been increasingly associated with environmental policies and the concept of greening, I decided to include a study on the evolution of environmental policies and agri-environmental policies and when and how they were first implemented in EEC or EU legislation. Subsequently, in chapter 6.4, I advanced an analysis on the actual legislative difference the EP has achieved in the EU’s environmental, transports, and agricultural policies. It was understood that the role of the EP in the early years of codecision was a more radical one greatly pushing for legislative innovation, more dissensus, and greater third reading procedures. However, as EP legislatures passed, this initial reformative character of the EP changed into one more focused on consensus and early agreements, hence showing more first reading procedures and less second and third readings. However, despite this curious evolution in the behavior and effects of the EP in these policies, this institution was able to exert influence on legislation despite the fact that it was only after the Lisbon treaty that the EP gained codecision in practically all the policies and frameworks associated with these areas. This same behavior continued after the implementation of the Lisbon treaty. In this evolution, the EP had increasingly realised that it was more effective and successful at amending micro-level legislation than at changing and establishing macro-level reforms. The types of coalitions developed at the codecision level proved to be an important aspect to research mainly through the statistics provided by the study of Fertö and Kovács (2014) which we used as a basis to develop an informed opinion on what these patterns mean for political science scholars. These patterns show that the role of the EP is one able to establish coalitions with either the Commission or the Council, depending on its initial stance on a specific legislation, and achieve substantial legislative victories. Statistically, the EP has had an average influence on final legislation of about 46.5% being more successful if it forms a coalition with the Council than with the Commission. It is still not completely clear why this change of behavior occurred. However, the subsequent analysis of speeches by Presidents of the EP Martin Schulz and Jerzy Buzek and several MEPs have pointed out some curious developments. Martin Schulz, one of the Presidents of the EP whose speeches were analysed in this study, was a curious case as he was a President that openly denounced this changing pattern of the EP, its change in recent EP legislatures from one based on dissensus to one based on consensus. The MEP Capoulas Santos was also a figure whose speeches were very important as they delineated the role of the EP in the 2009-2014 legislature in the CAP, highlighting its most difficult dossiers and achievements, even though all of the speeches analyzed were important. It is the contention of this study, that despite the advancements and changes the EP has originated through codecision in the CAP after the Lisbon treaty, one cannot talk about a CAP reform but only of a CAP change. If one understands the concept of reform as a macro-level change in procedures, policies, or structures in a given common policy, then the parliamentarization of the CAP was a case where path-dependence still proved to be a big obstacle for the EP. It was also a common policy that, despite its size in the EU budget and its historical importance for the union, did not prove itself to be an area where the EP would need a new approach. The EP thus continued with its traditional stance of preferring to change microlevel legislation, where it is most successful and avoiding great macro-level reforms where its role can be diminished. Future research can possibly study this legislature at a deeper level, observing other patterns or how events such as the “Brexit” procedure might affect the CAP or other common policies. I thus hope the results and analysis of this thesis prove to be of interest to EU scholars, political scientists, historians, economists, and civil society in general. ...
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