What is Legitimacy? The shortest way to explain it: The acceptance of the government’s authority by the people, hence of laws, policies and candidates for political office The acceptance creates a set of beliefs about authority as a concept (what the basis of it is) AND Creates a set of values about authority (democracy, representation, civil rights) AND Creates patterns of political behaviour (voting, petitions) Creates a set of institutions to reflect the concept and the values and to implement and facilitate the behaviour (parliament, courts)
Political Legitimacy It is a descriptive concept AND It is a normative concept
Descriptive Max Weber classification of types of authority: Legal Traditional Charismatic These ideal types are mixed in the real world: Legal-traditional (prevails in democratic society) Charismatic-traditional “the basis of every system of authority, and correspondingly of every kind of willingness to obey, is a belief, a belief by virtue of which persons exercising authority are lent prestige” (Max Weber The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Talcott Parsons (ed.), New York: Free Press, 1964: 382).
Normative Legitimacy refers to some benchmark of justification and/or acceptability of political power or authority and obligation. Thus: why the use of political power by a body (government, for example) is permissible and as far as it can go (pro tanto) ethical duty to obey its commands (John Rawls, Political Liberalism) Thus: legitimacy is linked to the ethical justification of political authority
Structure of the European Parliament The President elected for a renewable term of two and a half years represents the European Parliament vis-à-vis the outside world and in its relations with the other EU institutions ensures that Parliament’s Rules of Procedure are adhered to assisted by 14 Vice-Presidents The Secretary-General most senior official heads Parliament's administration appointed by Parliament's Bureau (14 Vice-Presidents and the 5 Quaestors) organizes parliamentary business ensures the smooth running of plenary sessions
Parliamentary Committees I Members (MEPs) are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees Standing Committees: 20 committees, A committee consists of between 24 and 76 MEPs, and has a chair, a bureau and a secretariat The committees draw up, amend and adopt legislative proposals and own-initiative reports Special Committees: Parliament may at any time set up temporary committees on specific issues These special committees have a 12-month mandate, which may be extended Committees of Inquiry: to investigate breaches or poor application of Community law
Parliamentary Committees II The Conciliation Committee: Conciliation is the third and last phase of the European Union’s most important legislative procedure: the co-decision procedure In the event of disagreement between Parliament and the Council, a Conciliation Committee is set up, consisting of 28 representatives of the Member States and 28 MEPs The committee is responsible for drawing up a joint text, which is put to the Council and Parliament for approval at third reading The final agreement of the Council and Parliament is essential if the text is to be adopted.
Political Bodies I The Conference of Presidents: The Conference of Presidents consists of the President of Parliament and the political group chairmen. One representative of the non-attached Members also has a seat in the Conference of Presidents but no voting rights. The Conference of Presidents takes its decisions by consensus or by weighted vote based on the number of Members in each political group The Bureau: It lays down rules for Parliament Drafts preliminary budget consists of the President of the European Parliament, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors elected by Parliament for a period of two and a half years (which can be renewed)
Political Bodies II College of Quaestors: There are five Quaestors They are responsible for administrative and financial matters directly concerning Members and their working conditions Conference of Committee Chairs: It works for better cooperation between the committees Consists of the chairmen of all the standing and temporary committees It elects its chairman The Conference of Committee Chairs generally meets once a month in Strasbourg during plenary sittings.
Political Bodies III Conference of Delegation Chairs: Considers all matters concerning the smooth running of interparliamentary delegations and delegations to the joint parliamentary committees The Conference of Delegation Chairs consists of the Chairs of all the standing interparliamentary delegations It elects its chairman It may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents on the delegations’ work. It draws up a draft annual calendar of interparliamentary meetings and meetings of joint parliamentary committees. The Bureau and Conference of Presidents may delegate certain tasks to the Conference of Delegation Chairs.
Political Groups The Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups The groups are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation There are currently 7 political groups in the European Parliament.