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2011 | 3(104) | 91-111

Article title

THE REPRESENTATIVE RELATIONSHIP AT A EUROPEAN UNION LEVEL: AN ATTEMPT TO DESCRIBE THE NATURE OF MANDAT (Stosunek przedstawicielski na poziomie Unii Europejskiej (proba opisu charakteru mandatu)

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This article deals with relations between a Member of the European Parliament and a voter. The author wonders if this relation corresponds with the traditional notion of the representative mandate established in the classical theory of constitutional law, or it is of a somewhat indefinite nature. The Treaty of Lisbon specifies that 'The European Parliament shall be composed of representatives of the Union's citizens' (Article 14(2) TUE), providing, at the same time, a precise definition of the 'citizen'. According to it, 'every national of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union' and 'citizenship of the Union shall be additional to national citizenship and shall not replace it'. (Article 9, last sentence). There is no doubt that in this relation, the one who is represented is the Union's citizen, i.e. a national of a Member State. Here, a question arise whether the classical formula of representation provided by constitutional law could be applied to the representative relation defined above. The requirement for utilizing legal construction of representation, in the proper meaning of the word, is the existence of a unified and homogeneous substratum constituting the represented entity. Under a conventional scheme of representation, such a substratum is simply the nation or people, without any internal diversification. However, such unified treatment is not quite the case at EU level. Electoral mechanism specifying national quota of MEPs violates the principle of holistic approach to the represented entity, which is also contravened by the secondary nature of EU citizenship, explicitly specified in the Treaty, in relation to citizenship associated with a member state. As a result, Union's citizens sitting in the European Parliament are selected according to national (state) classification. Owing to various measures, both formal (concerning electoral law) and actual (concerning mostly political parties at EU level), these differences are minimized , but cannot be completely eliminated. Nevertheless the entire legal and political structure of the European Parliament is slowly losing its national character and gaining clearly European traits.





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  • Jaroslaw Szymanek, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Nauk Politycznych, ul. Nowy Swiat 67, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland


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