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Out of Time? National Parliaments and Early Decision-Making in the European Union

  • Mads Dagnis Jensen and Dorte Martinsen


Co-decisions between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament are increasingly adopted as early agreements. Recent EU studies have pinpointed how this informal turn in EU governance has altered the existing balance of power between EU actors and within EU institutions. However, the implications of accelerated EU decision-making are expected to have repercussions beyond the EU system and in other institutions impinging on the role of national parliaments. This study examines the implications of an alteration of EU political time on national parliaments’ ability to scrutinize their executives in EU affairs. A mixed method approach has been applied. This strategy combines survey data on national parliaments’ scrutiny process and response to early agreements for 26 EU countries with a case study examination of national parliaments in Denmark, the UK and Germany. The burgeoning research agenda on EU timescapes is applied. This study finds that the clocks of most national parliaments are out of time with the EU decision-mode of early agreements, which severely hampers the national parliaments’ ability to scrutinize national governments.



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Mads Dagnis Jensen is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. Contact email:

Dorte Martinsen is a Professor (MSO) in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. Contact email:



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Government and Opposition
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