Has the European Parliament come of Age?
On 14 October, the European Parliament Information Office and the University of Edinburgh's Transatlantic Seminar jointly organised a roundtable discussion addressing the question "Has the European Parliament come of Age?". It brought together speakers with competing perspectives on the European Parliament's contemporary role and status in the democratic life of the European Union (EU):
Richard Corbett, Member of the Cabinet of European Council President Herman Von Rompuy and former MEP (1996-2009), shared his favourable but critical view of the European Parliament's development and addressed its most prominent future challenges. He was joined by Michael Shackleton, the Head of UK EP Information Office in London, who drew on his experience of working in the European Parliament and launching Europarltv, the institution's webcasting platform. Both are authors of the highly regarded 'The European Parliament' textbook which now guides through the institution's history, power and politics in its eighth edition.
John Peterson, Professor of International Politics at Edinburgh University, took a more sceptic view towards the European Parliament's adolescent years and agreed with the other speakers on only few points. Chairing the event was Charlie Jeffrey, Head of the School of Political and Social Sciences, who could welcome a very diverse audience including a group of high school students alongside political practitioners and academics. Many questions were posed to the speakers and some members of the public vividly shared their opinion on the European Parliament's future position in a democratic Europe.
A webcast of the event is available on the Transatlantic Seminar website.