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Research and innovations often butt up against the age-old ethical dilemma of “Can we?” versus “Should we?”
Given the announcements and activities by Google concerning the large-scale digitization of library materials, argue whether Google could do this and/or whether it should do this?
means there is less time for scrutiny. Additionally, in order to achieve an agreement at first reading, the European Parliament and Council agree to meet at trilogues. These are normally comprised of 2 or 3 MEP’s and a permanent representative from the member state with the rotating presidency in the Council. While intended to ensure an agreement is reached, it can be argued that this effects the ‘substantive opacity’ of the Union and undermines the treaty requirement for an open public dialogue and are less democratic and accountable given that they happen behind closed doors. Nevertheless, recently the General Court has held that the European Parliament must, in principle, grant access on request to documents relating to ongoing trilogues, which suggests a movement towards transparency in the legislative process. Secondary legislation can also be adopted by EU under the special legislative procedure, as included in article 298(2) TFEU. This also gives the European Parliament a democratic influence in the legislative process, but to a much lesser extent, as they can only consult or consent to legislation. Nonetheless, where the Council is required to consult Parliament, they must be given a genuine opportunity to express their opinion, which should be duly taken into account. Initiatives such as the ‘yellow card procedure’ introduced in article 12 of the TEU has strengthened the involvement of national parliaments in the legislative process, which increasingly represents the interests of member states and their citizens. This allows national parliaments to issue a ‘yellow card’ where they feel that proposed EU legislation does not respect the principle of subsidiarity. By allowing national parliaments to question this, it increases the democratic legitimacy of the union as it maintains the balance between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism, as it means that the EU can only act where their actions cannot otherwise be performed by the member state. This safeguards the sovereignty of member states and reinforces the idea that decisions should be taken as close to citizens as possible. In conclusion, while the EU must balance its own interests, those of its member states and their citizens, efforts to ensure that its institutions and law making processes are sufficiently democratic are clear within the provisions of both the TEU and TFEU. However, the democratic legitimacy of the Union as w>
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