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The Emperor's New Clothes? A Political Evaluation of the Early Warning Mechanism


Recent years have seen several studies and proposals from national parliaments (NPs) to deepen their direct involvement in European decision-making, most notably by strengthening the early warning mechanism (EWM – also known as yellow card procedure). The EWM is a technical-legalistic procedure that is restricted to subsidiarity. This ‘straightjacket’ is too limited as a monitoring tool for European policies more broadly and can hardly be seen as a response to current democratic concerns. Framing the EWM as a democratic solution to empower NPs thus risks becoming one of Europe’s empty mantras.

Keywords: Early Warning Mechanism, national parliaments, legitimacy, subsidiarity