Written by Davide Gnes and Milka Sormunen
Controlling the executive in external migration policy?
A preliminary assessment of the role of the European Parliament in scrutinising and influencing EU informal readmission arrangements.
Recent use of informal arrangements in EU readmission policy at the expense of international agreements has formally weakened the role of the European Parliament in external migration policy and eroded the executive’s democratic accountability. In the paper, we examine the extent to which the European Parliament’s diminished prerogatives have affected in practice its ability to scrutinise, monitor and shape readmission policy. Through an analysis of 149 documents collected via the European Parliament’s public document registry, we examined Parliamentary practices and its interaction with the EU executive (namely the European Commission) in readmission policy. The paper demonstrates that the turn to informal arrangements has overall weakened Parliamentary powers in practice with respect to both scrutiny and, particularly, influence on the content of those arrangements. At the same time, our findings indicate that the Parliament has been able to secure and informally institutionalise access to information re readmission arrangements via use of general scrutiny tools at its disposal and the mobilisation of political pressure on the Commission. Overall, the paper contributes to the wider debate on the effects of informalisation of EU readmission policy on separation of powers in the EU and on the changing role of the European Parliament.