Book review of 'The European Parliament' by Richard Corbett, Francis Jacobs, and Michael Shackleton, London: John Harper, 2011


Now in its eighth edition, this seminal work on the organisation, working methods, and powers of the European Parliament (EP) is fully revised to take into account the changes resulting from the 2009 European elections and the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty. Similar to earlier editions, the book is divided into three parts.

Part 1 provides ‘The Framework’, describing the main features of the EP in comparison to other legislatures and how Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are being elected. It also discusses issues arising from the EP’s commitment to multilingualism and the distribution of its work between Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Brussels.

Part 2 deals with ‘The Actors and Working Structures’, starting with the background, role, and motivations of individual MEPs. Subsequent chapters deal with the composition, organisation, and operation of political groups, the EP leadership, committees, interparliamentary delegations, the plenary, intergroups, and the secretariat, respectively.

Part 3 covers ‘The Powers of the Parliament’. This part includes chapters on the role and prerogatives of the EP in the legislative process, in the adoption of the budget, in the appointment and dismissal of the Commission and the leadership of other EU organisations and agencies, and in scrutinizing delegated and implementing acts of the Commission. Other chapters outline Parliaments connections and communication channels to other European Union (EU) institutions and its openness towards interest groups, media, and ordinary citizens, as well as the role of national parliaments in EU law-making and their relations to the EP before and after the Lisbon treaty.

Finally, the book concludes with a discussion of how the EP affected constitutional change over the years through its influence on successive treaty reforms.

European Union Studies Association Review 25(1): 14-15
Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.