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Parliamentary participation in EU affairs in Austria, Finland and Sweden: Newcomers with different approaches

Keywords: accountability , Austria , democracy , europeanization , European Convention , Finland , institutions , national parliaments , political science , Sweden

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Abstract:

The national parliaments in Austria, Finland, and Sweden faced similar challenges as regards to parliamentary participation in EU affairs when their countries became EU members in 1995. They chose different institutional frameworks, where in Austria the respective legal provisions were comparatively rather strong. However, the Austrian parliament rarely makes use of its extensive formal powers but finds it difficult to select the relevant EU issues to exercise its controlling powers. Finland and Sweden, on the other hand, did not provide for such extensive room of manoeuvre for their parliaments but have been more successful in selecting important EU matters to exercise parliamentary control. Especially the Finnish solution, where the parliament focuses on issues that should have been decided by the parliament if Finland had not been a member of the EU, has proven to be particularly successful.

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