European Union Law
Distribution of powers in the EU
It is commonly argued that there is no clear separation of powers in the EU governance system. The sources of such criticism are mainly due to the fact that the EU institutional scheme does not correspond to the usual parliamentary or congressional/presidential systems of liberal democracies – but neither does the Swiss system of governance, to name only one. On the other hand, it is not sufficiently acknowledged that the separation concept inherited from Montesquieu and the founding fathers of the US Constitution that summarises separation of powers in the existence of three branches of government – legislative, executive and judiciary – does not fit with the reality of contemporary systems. A functional approach to governance systems should, after the classical legislative/budgetary, executive and judicial functions, include functions of representation, oversight, institutional design and management and, last but not least, political guidance.
More than separation of powers, it is the existence and functioning of checks and balances that guide serious institutional analysis of constitutional law, and there is no doubt that they are present, though complex, in the EU system of governance.
Scholarship sometimes refers to vertical and horizontal separation of powers which bear no unanimous usage: for certain scholars, “vertical” refers to a line between the EU level and the member state level, while for others it refers to some kind of line drawn between EU institutions. What is important and should never be lost sight of is that EU policy-making and implementation are not vested only in...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.