The year 2019 will be marked by the European Parliament elections (“#ep2019”). EP elections tend to be not only about the elections themselves, they are also steps in the evolution of the Parliament. The EP has acquired more and more powers over the expenditure side of the EU budget, as a co-legislator in nearly all EU policy areas, the power to appoint and send home the Commission and (at least in practice) individual Commissioners. Symbolically, it now also sits at the table at the start of a European Council meeting.
By operating strategically, the EP has been able to develop into a body resembling a full-blown parliament, but still lacks some crucial powers, such as the power of the purse (taxation). For the coming years, we might expect new ambitions from the European Parliament, for example in the area of the EU’s finances and taxation, and in the direction of general political accountability of national and international politicians or even global leaders. However, the general mood towards European integration, and among heads of state where it concerns strengthening the “Political Union”, may equally be moving towards a less friendly environment for the EP. Hence, this Policy Brief authors Adriaan Schout and Herman Beun not only address some key issues for #ep2019; they map the field of the interinstitutional battle at stake in the elections.