Finke, Daniel and Melzer, Marius (2012) Parliamentary scrutiny of EU law proposals in Denmark: why do governments request a negotiation mandate? IHS Political Science Series No. 127, February 2012. [Policy Paper]
Political scientists have been concerned about the loss of power of national parliaments through the shift of competences to the EU level. In this respect the Danish system of parliamentary scrutiny has been recommended as being highly effective. In this paper, we explain why the Folketing issues negotiation mandates on some EU law proposals whereas the government can freely chose its negotiation position on other proposals. Our empirical analysis of Danish scrutiny decision between 2006 and 2008 uncovers three answers. First, in contrast to other scrutiny measures, most of which can be initiated by single party groups, the issuance of negotiation mandates is a collective decision. Specifically, it requires the consent of a majority of deputies in the Folketing. As a consequence, the position of the minority government must win the support of a third party. This third party tends to requests a negotiation mandate if it fears that collusion between the government and its international partners might violate its interests. Second, the leading minister requests a negotiation mandate if a majority of Danish parties stand united against an adverse majority in the Council. Third, the coalition partner requests a negotiation mandate to control the leading minister in case of significant intra coalition dissent.
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