How the European Parliament’s Participation in International Relations Affects the Deep Tissue of the EU’s Power Structures

The European Parliament’s public refusal to consent to several international agreements gives EU citizens a voice in international relations, which, with all its flaws, draws on a source of democratic legitimation that is independent and separate from the EU Member States. These acts of contestation vest the EU’s actions under international law with a popular backing that is not ultimately rooted in the Member States. The EP’s new role and visibility also creates a degree of competition between the EP and national parliaments, since the latter while they can exercise political power within the EU legal order, cannot represent EU citizens to the outside. It further gives support to the CJEU’s implicit claim that the EU possesses original (sovereign) rights. This paper sheds light on how the EP’s new role may strengthen the link to its citizens and influence the relationship between the EU and its Member States.