European Parliament

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    Jostling for position: What determines where candidates are placed on electoral lists during European elections?

Jostling for position: What determines where candidates are placed on electoral lists during European elections?

Several EU countries use a closed list system to elect their members of the European Parliament. But what determines the position where a candidate is placed on these lists? Based on a recent study, Elena Frech writes that parties tend to prioritise MEPs who have previously been part of powerful committees in the European Parliament, but that candidates also […]

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    Can only Eurosceptics oppose austerity? How divisions over integration have replaced the left/right divide in the European Parliament

Can only Eurosceptics oppose austerity? How divisions over integration have replaced the left/right divide in the European Parliament

How do economic platforms interact with support for European integration? Harmen van der Veer and Simon Otjes write that the dynamics within the European Parliament have undergone a shift since the beginning of the Eurozone crisis. Whereas in previous periods the key divide in the Parliament centred on left/right issues, opposition to European integration has now become intertwined with […]

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    The illusion of sovereignty: The UK should embrace its experience of power-sharing at home to play a constructive role in the EU

The illusion of sovereignty: The UK should embrace its experience of power-sharing at home to play a constructive role in the EU

One of the key issues in relation to the UK’s referendum is the extent to which EU membership undermines UK sovereignty. Simon Toubeau and Jo Murkens argue that this focus on sovereignty can nevertheless lead to misleading conclusions. They state that while the notion of parliamentary sovereignty lies at the heart of the Westminster model of government, this sovereignty […]

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    The growth of informal EU decision-making has empowered centrist parties

The growth of informal EU decision-making has empowered centrist parties

Legislative decision-making in the European Union is increasingly shifting toward informal secluded arenas, to allow for the early adoption of laws. Edoardo Bressanelli, Christel Koop and Christine Reh assess the implications of this trend for the behaviour of political parties in the European Parliament. They find that informalisation has strengthened the cohesion of the three centrist groups (EPP, S&D […]

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    UK influence series: Do British MEPs win key positions of power in the European Parliament?

UK influence series: Do British MEPs win key positions of power in the European Parliament?

The extent to which British MEPs are appointed to key positions in the European Parliament can be expected to have an impact on their influence over the EU’s legislative process. In the latest article in our UK influence series, Simon Hix and Giacomo Benedetto assess how successful British MEPs have been in this respect since 2004. They note that […]

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    UK influence in Europe series: The policy successes (and failures) of British MEPs

UK influence in Europe series: The policy successes (and failures) of British MEPs

How do British MEPs fare in the European Parliament? In a previous article in our UK influence in Europe series, Simon Hix demonstrated that British MEPs are less likely to be on the ‘winning side’ in European Parliament votes than MEPs from any other state. In a follow up post, he breaks down the success by policy area, noting […]

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    The top five likely effects of a Brexit on the EU’s policies

The top five likely effects of a Brexit on the EU’s policies

What impact would a Brexit have on EU policymaking? Based on data from recent votes in the European Parliament, Doru Frantescu outlines five key effects on EU policies that could be expected if the UK opts to leave in its upcoming referendum: a larger regulatory burden on EU businesses; weaker copyright protection in the EU; a smaller EU budget, […]

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    The tyranny of the familiar: why we should be wary of proposals to ‘parliamentarise’ EU decision-making

The tyranny of the familiar: why we should be wary of proposals to ‘parliamentarise’ EU decision-making

Strengthening the role of the European Parliament has often been proposed as a method for addressing the EU’s alleged democratic deficit. Sergio Fabbrini writes that while there are legitimate criticisms to be made about the intergovernmental model of European integration, any attempt to create a system approximating national parliamentary democracy at the European level would be counter-productive. He argues […]

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    New member states are structurally underrepresented in important rapporteur positions in the European Parliament

New member states are structurally underrepresented in important rapporteur positions in the European Parliament

In the European Parliament, a ‘rapporteur’ is an MEP appointed to oversee the drafting and presentation of reports. This role is highly important in the Parliament, with rapporteurs being elected to the position by their fellow MEPs. But does the distribution of these appointments favour certain states over others? Steffen Hurka, Michael Kaeding and Lukas Obholzer present findings from […]

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    The ratification of TTIP in the European Parliament promises to be a highly contested issue

The ratification of TTIP in the European Parliament promises to be a highly contested issue

Once negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are completed, the agreement will need to be approved in the European Parliament before it can enter into force. But would TTIP be able to secure enough support in the current parliament? Pieterjan Vangerven and Christophe Crombez present an analysis of the recent decision to postpone the debate on […]

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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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European Parliament elections: a final look at the polls

European Parliament elections are being held on 22-25 May. In the first of two articles summarising the European and national campaigns, Stuart Brown takes a look at the polls with regard to the composition of the next Parliament. He notes that while Eurosceptic parties are predicted to significantly increase their representation, the European People’s Party has a narrow lead […]

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    The European Parliament elections may be a landmark for Eurosceptics, but the EU’s future direction will be decided elsewhere

The European Parliament elections may be a landmark for Eurosceptics, but the EU’s future direction will be decided elsewhere

The European Parliament elections on 22-25 May are expected to see a large increase in seats for Eurosceptic parties across a number of EU countries. Seamus Nevin writes that while a result of this nature would prompt a wide debate about the quality of EU democracy, the key decisions shaping Europe’s future will nevertheless be made elsewhere. The real […]

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    The positions of European political parties offer a clear choice to voters over what type of Europe they would like to see

The positions of European political parties offer a clear choice to voters over what type of Europe they would like to see

European Parliament elections have often been criticised from the perspective that they fail to engage voters. Cristina Ares Castro-Conde presents a comprehensive comparison of the positions contained within the manifestos of all of the main European political parties. She argues that when the programmes of each party are broken down, there are clear differences visible between the parties, highlighting […]

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    Latvia’s European Parliament elections will be a key battleground in the run up to the general election in October

Latvia’s European Parliament elections will be a key battleground in the run up to the general election in October

Latvia’s government collapsed at the end of 2013, with new elections scheduled to be held in October this year. Licia Cianetti writes that the country’s European Parliament elections are likely to be dominated by the national situation, with the results potentially giving an indication of where parties stand in the run up to October. She notes that the key […]

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