By Tillmann C. Lauk (auth.)
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Extra info for The Triple Crisis of Western Capitalism: Democracy, Banking and Currency
Another popular example of ‘special interest group legislation’ is the ban on incandescent light bulbs. The bill was flagged as a measure to reduce CO2 emissions via the reduction of energy consumption in households. But consider, first, that the energy consumption for lighting in households is 5 per cent of total consumption – certainly not a means to fight CO2 emissions effectively. Second, they are harmful to health and the environment because they contain mercury – if they break then mercury escapes, and once they are finished the mercury goes into the rubbish.
Moreover, a quorum of between 25 per cent and 33 per cent within the national parliaments simply cannot be organized by the delegates of the German parliament within the six-week period – for practical reasons. Thus, Article 12 is only rarely called into action. Fourth, there is no clear criterion as to how subsidiarity is to be defined in a litigable manner. So far, there exists neither sufficient nor binding case law by the European Court of Justice. Hence, Article 12 grasps at nothing – it is of a verbal nature only.
This means that in practice only a tiny fraction of the members of the ‘parliament’ – around 1 per cent – are involved in the lawmaking process and need to be convinced. 23 After the ‘European Parliament’ finally consents to a law, this law then arrives on the national level, where the consent of the national parliaments is required. However, by then the lawmaking chapter is closed on a de facto basis. In most parliaments of the member states those – from the view of democratic legitimation as questionable – legislations are usually waved through.