At the more ‘political’ level mapping some emphasis will be put on the European Parliament as an imperfect repository of democratic legitimacy at the European level. A specific focus is on the concept of ‘representation’, as well as on the role of national parliaments. Is it engaging with new and less than fully visible actors at the European level and finding ways and means, often informal, to put and keep them under the spotlight? How is it developing its increased role in external relations?
Other questions addressed in the more ‘political’ context are: How do the national and European accountability forums fit together in a more composite framing of accountability? What are the implications for the evolving political constitution, European and national? What are the consequences of these changes for traditional concepts such as sovereignty and separation of powers? How does the EU’s strengthened position as an international actor influence these developments?
Furthermore, the role and practices of the Court of Justice, often a pivotal institutional and substantive ‘designer’ of the political and legal constitution, will be the subject of analysis in its interaction with national courts. Another focus is the distinctive role of the Member States as de facto EU actors is analysed. This research perspective aims at analysing the role of the Member States in reshaping the European legal and political order. It is a bottom-up approach to European law and governance, which explores how Member States’ ‘national interest’ is manifested in the legal and governance framework of specific EU policies. It critically evaluates existing EU legal and governance structures from the perspective of the EU-Member States’ interactions and the different treatments of the Member States’ interests under the EU framework. The wider implications of this formal and informal phenomenon will be drawn for the EU political constitution as a whole.