Shackleton, Michael. (1997) "The European Parliament’s new committees of inquiry: Tiger or paper tiger?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
What was important about the Treaty on European Union from the point of view of the European Parliament (EP)? What were the most significant new powers that the Parliament acquired? Most observers have concentrated their attention on the new power of co-decision under Article 189b or the expanded role in the appointment of the President and members of the European Commission; more esoteric commentaries may also mention the autonomous right of the EP to appoint a European Ombudsman, but very few have so far given much attention to Article 138c and the right to set up a temporary Committee of Inquiry to investigate "alleged contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of Community law." It is not the intention of this paper to compare the new power of inquiry directly with the reinforced legislative role of the EP or its more salient position in the appointment of the Commission. Rather it will be argued that the first two committees of inquiry set up by the Parliament in 1996 showed how the EP can operate within a relatively constraining institutional framework to make an original contribution to the scrutiny of Community policies and to bring the work of the EP to the attention of larger public than its traditional activity in relation to legislation or the appointment of the Commission normally does.
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