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    European Parliament staff: who are they and do their backgrounds influence decision-making?

European Parliament staff: who are they and do their backgrounds influence decision-making?

The European Parliament and the political groups within it employ a number of staff members to help co-ordinate various aspects of the Parliament’s legislative work. But who are these staff members and do their individual backgrounds influence their decisions? Morten Egeberg, Åse Gornitzka and Jarle Trondal present the results of a survey of European Parliament officials. They write that […]

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    The European Union must have a closer link to national politics if it is to retain its legitimacy

The European Union must have a closer link to national politics if it is to retain its legitimacy

National governments are still involved in negotiations over nominating a candidate for the next President of the European Commission. Anand Menon writes that while much of this debate has focused on the merits of individual candidates such as Jean-Claude Juncker, the real issue is a structural one concerning the future of the European Parliament. He argues that, whichever candidate […]

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    The European Parliament should return to a ‘dual mandate’ system which uses national politicians as representatives instead of directly elected MEPs

The European Parliament should return to a ‘dual mandate’ system which uses national politicians as representatives instead of directly elected MEPs

One of the key criticisms of European Parliament elections is that low turnout prevents the Parliament from genuinely being able to confer legitimacy on the EU’s legislative process. Herman Lelieveldt writes that while there was a small increase in turnout in the 2014 European elections, the overall trend of declining turnout necessitates a radical reform to improve the EU’s […]

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    The European Parliament elections show the increasingly fragmented nature of European party systems

The European Parliament elections show the increasingly fragmented nature of European party systems

Most coverage of the European Parliament elections has noted the rise of several far-right and Eurosceptic parties across Europe. Cas Mudde argues, however, that a more important trend was toward increasingly fragmented party systems. Presenting a series of numbers from the elections, he illustrates that ‘big parties’ are experiencing declining vote shares, with a greater number of smaller parties […]

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    The European Parliament is a failed experiment in pan-European democracy – national parliaments are the key to solving the democratic deficit

The European Parliament is a failed experiment in pan-European democracy – national parliaments are the key to solving the democratic deficit

Strengthening the European Parliament has often been viewed as the best method of addressing the EU’s alleged ‘democratic deficit’. Stephen Booth writes that while this perspective has led to the Parliament’s powers being increased successively over recent decades, the effect of these reforms on democratic engagement among EU citizens has been limited. He argues that boosting the role of […]

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    Spain’s lack of openly Eurosceptic parties ahead of the EP elections shows the idea of Europe still remains powerful for Spanish citizens

Spain’s lack of openly Eurosceptic parties ahead of the EP elections shows the idea of Europe still remains powerful for Spanish citizens

The Spanish economy was particularly hard hit during the Eurozone crisis and the country’s unemployment rate is still around 26 per cent. José Fernández-Albertos writes that while the economic situation would appear to make Spain a natural candidate for Eurosceptic and populist politics, there has so far been no emergence of the kind of Eurosceptic political movements which are […]

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