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NUMERO 16 - 02/09/2015

 Upper Chambers in EU affairs Scrutinising German and Belgian Bicameralism

With the Lisbon Treaty, the National Parliaments are finally called to actively participate in the EU decision-making process. However, the Treaty does not recognise the distinctive features of each parliamentary system, but rather National Parliaments are treated equally notwithstanding their powers and functions, as well as their structural and procedural organisation. It follows, that the introduction of the Early Warning System seems to reinforce the role of upper houses and some scholars predicted a potential rise of the Senates. Because, regardless their national competences, their acquired an autonomous power to get involved in EU affairs. Although potentially true, the paper argues that the mechanism needed to be accommodated in each national parliament in accordance with their national constitutional frameworks. In this respect, through the analysis of the German and Belgian bicameralism, the paper points out that the implementation of the Early Warning System strongly depends on some national features and the domestic impact is expected to be intensely mediated by the idiosyncrasies of each Members States. Hence, National Constitutions, parliamentary norms and procedures, national culture, party system and, obviously, country’s attitude toward EU, are expected to influence and shape the way the mechanism is implemented in each bicameral system... (segue)

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