Breaking the Commission’s legislative monopoly? Examining the influence of EP own-initiative reports: A case study on the DSA and its regulation on algorithms
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Questions over the democratic legitimacy of the EU have been as old as the institution itself. This criticism has often been tied to the inability of the EP, as the only directly elected body, to propose legislation. However, scholars have been starting to put this notion into question by highlighting the growing significance of own-initiative reports, published by EP Committees ahead of the Commission’s legislative proposals. Building on existing studies by Kreppel & Webb as well as Maurer & Wolf, which have proven a growing significance of the reports, the research question "To what extent did the EP’s INI/INL reports on the DSA influence the agenda of EC-legislative proposal of December 2020 (specifically its regulation of algorithms) and does this constitute an erosion of the legislative monopoly of the EC?" will be tackled from multiple angles. Using the recently presented Commission proposal on the Digital Services Act (DSA) as a case study, the research applies George Tsebeli’s agenda setting theory to the pre-stages of legislation-making and focusses on how the reports can exert influence on the Commission proposal and what role cooperation between the Commission and Parliament might play. The analysis reveals influence can be measured both on an institutional level as well as on a content basis. By examining the content of both the reports and the proposal, this research furthermore contributes to understanding of digital policy making, specifically shaping of the agenda on the use of algorithms. Despite the fact that the EP has always been a frequently studied object in European integration research, this results of this examination present a fresh look into the legislative procedure in the European Union by covering a stage that has been overlooked by scholars so far.