It was interesting to see some plaudits coming the European Parliament's way in the press today (31st May 2006).
First, the Financial Times gave an account of the progress of the services directive (“A good day for European democracy”, Quentin Peel) in which it said "quite the most striking is the central role played by the Parliament, rather than the European Commission or Council of Ministers... The Parliament came into its own as a body divided on ideological grounds, rather than purely national lines... It has shown the maturity of the parliament producing such a complex text and one of legally high quality."
Second, The Independent's leading article states that "We also owe a particular depth of gratitude to the European Parliament" for its role in challenging legislation adopted by the Council of Ministers. Of course this refers to Parliament successfully challenging in the court a decision on the retention of personal data of air passengers travelling to the United States.
Whatever the balance of arguments on each particular issue, it does show that the European Parliament plays an ever more crucial role in determining the outcome of the EU policy making. And rightly so - it's called parliamentary democracy.
Perhaps other papers will begin to pay more attention to what happens in the European Parliament and informing their readers about what really happens there.