European Union Politics

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1465-1165
Publications
Article
European Union scholars have used a variety of data sources to assess the contours of the EU interest community, including directories maintained by the European Commission and commercial directories of interest organizations active in Brussels. Scholars have typically relied on only one of these sources, the least comprehensive, to assess demographic change in the EU population. We construct and then use a patched-up design focused on the more comprehensive data provided by several directories of interest groups to provide a more valid assessment of demographic changes in the EU interest system since 1990.
 
Descriptive table of the items of euroscepticism 1990 2008 
Educational differences in changes in euroscepticism 
Article
With a unique longitudinal data set covering a time-span of 18 years, we test to what extent euroscepticism evolved among the Dutch between 1990 and 2008. We compare Eurosceptic attitudes on the eve of the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht with attitudes after the Dutch 'no' in the referendum on the European Constitution. We find a strong increase in euroscepticism among the Dutch. This change did not develop evenly across the educational strata. We propose to explain these differences through the utilitarian, political cueing, political cynicism and identity approaches. Over the years, the less educated have become more cynical about politics and have come to perceive a greater ethnic threat than before, which explains their stronger increase in euroscepticism. In contrast to 1990, perceived ethnic threat was the main predictor of euroscepticism in 2008.
 
Article
Positive assessments of what entry to the European Union (EU) meant for Poland and for Poles increased after the 2003 vote to join and dramatically so after accession. Analysis of panel data from 2003 and 2008 shows the increase in positive assessments is related to the size of EU transfers and to increases in personal income, particularly for assessments of personal benefits. The attitude changes are also related to variables associated with individuals mostly likely to benefit from greater access to the larger Europe. The positive EU attitudes on both dimensions are related to votes for the pro-EU party that came into office in the 2007 election. In this way, the benefits from entry ‘bought’ more favorable attitudes and a more favorable government for the EU.
 
Comparison between regional and European voting behaviour for Flemish and Walloon survey respondents
Voters who mention Europe in their voting motives for the EP election: split-ticket and straight-ticket voters, by region (percent)
Split-ticket voters as percentage of respondents mentioning specific candidates in their voting motives for the EP
Continued
Reasons given by voters for their EP vote: split-ticket and straight-ticket voters, by region (percent)
Article
This study explains why people voted differently in the 2009 regional and European elections in Belgium. By comparing loyal voters and voters who split their ticket, the article shows that a part of the electorate is driven by Euro-specific motivations. The proportion of people who truly vote ‘European’ depends on the political context, and more precisely on what parties offer the voters in terms of candidates and issues. However, the European dimension is not the only mechanism that underlies voters’ electoral choices at the European level. In particular, uncertain voters, who lack a clear preference for one party at the national level, are likely to split their ticket between the regional and European elections.
 
Distribution of voters' perception of the EU position of the party they voted for, varying from 'EU unification has already gone too far' (0) to 'EU unification should be pushed further' (10). 
Descriptive analyses of all (lower-order) variables used
Explaining Europhile voting in the 2009 EP elections, 21 EU member states: Models 8-12
Estimating values of Europhile voting in 2009 EP elections as party dispersion and Euroscepticism change
Article
In recent decades, ordinary European Union (EU) citizens have been able to express their opinion on the course of the European project on several occasions. Judging from electoral outcomes, there is quite some Euroscepticism among them. What motivations underlie the Eurosceptic vote? Using an extended and comprehensive multidimensional measure of EU attitudes, we investigate which specific attitudes and issue positions were conducive to Eurosceptic voting in the 2009 European Parliament elections. Based on a voter survey in 21 countries, we conclude that concerns about the EU's 'democratic deficit', low perceived utility of the EU for the country, negative affection towards the EU, opposition to EU integration, and an absence of EU identity enhance anti-EU voting. In addition, these effects depend on the dispersion of party positions concerning EU matters, so that the more the parties diverge on EU matters, the stronger the effect becomes of each of the five EU dimensions mentioned on party choice. We conclude by setting these findings in perspective and discussing their implications for the future of the European project.
 
Article
In this article we seek to understand whether, how and under what conditions political parties publicly articulate matters of European integration and encourage contestation over Europe. Based on a content analysis of parties' televised advertising spots during the 2009 European Parliament (EP) election campaign in six countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom), we find evidence that European Union (EU) issues and actors are more prominent on the campaign agenda in countries with many Eurosceptic parties. Eurosceptic and non-Eurosceptic parties co-orient themselves towards each other in their EU articulation. Finally, contestation over Europe exists in the realm of identity politics: right-wing fringe parties (and in some countries also mainstream parties) characterize the EU as a threat to national sovereignty and identity, whereas left-wing mobilization against the EU on economic matters is hardly visible. Regarding the two politicization dimensions - EU articulation and contestation - we show that party campaigns cannot be described as purely second-order national contests any more. Instead, the strategic party mobilization model seems to better characterize the 2009 EP campaigns.
 
Article
Cross-border people mobility has long been seen as a promising method to promote European integration. In this article, I test the premise that the ERASMUS student experience abroad and direct interpersonal contact promote a European identity. The results draw from a two-wave longitudinal survey on two samples of ERASMUS students who studied in continental Europe and England, respectively. Although studying abroad led to increased socializing with other Europeans, contact with host country students remained limited. The paired sample t-tests reveal that ERASMUS does not strengthen students' European identity; on the contrary, it can have an adverse effect on it. Nevertheless, the regression analyses show that increased socializing with Europeans has a positive, though modest, impact on European identity.
 
Exchange Rate Arrangements of the Accession Countries. 
Article
This paper considers whether political business cycles exist in Eastern European accession countries. Section I introduces the overall objectives of the work. Section II provides a short introduction to the political business cycle literature. It also considers the role of exchange rates, capital mobility, and central bank independence in restricting or encouraging political business cycles. Section III lays out the accession process to date as well as the exchange rate regimes accession states have used. Section IV tests empirically whether there have been political business cycles during the time period 1990 to 1999 for the 10 Eastern European accession countries, with estimations based on a Mundell-Fleming model. It finds that countries with flexible exchange rates have looser monetary policies in election years than in non-election years in countries with dependent central banks. If a country has a fixed exchange rate regime, it manipulates its economy in election years through running larger budgets instead of through looser monetary policy. Section V concludes with some policy implications for the European Union's enlargement process and EMU.
 
Article
This article uses the Domestic Structures and European Integration (DOSEI) data set of actors' preferences on 65 issues in the 2003-4 Intergovernmental Conference to extract the underlying preferences of the governments, the Commission and the European Parliament on the main dimensions of conflict in the European Union's constitutional negotiations. The analysis starts by comparing the ideal point estimates produced by three 'inductive' techniques: exploratory factor analysis, NOMINATE and Optimal Classification. The results are a series of ideal point estimates that do not correlate well with some simple a priori assumptions about key actors' positions on the reform of the EU. The analysis then proceeds with a 'mixed' deductive/inductive method, in which responses to the survey questions relating to the two exogenous dimensions of constitutional design in a multi-level polity (the 'vertical' and 'horizontal' allocation of power) are used to generate ideal point estimates on these two dimensions. The result is a more intuitive set of ideal point estimates for the 28 main actors in the negotiations.
 
Article
This paper studies the democratic deficit in the European Union (EU). It examines what constitutes a democratic deficit, analyzes whether there is one in the EU, and offers suggestions for a solution. I focus on the output of the legislative process and study whether policies deviate from those emerging in other political systems. In particular, I present a formal model of policy-making in a bicameral system, apply it to the EU, and compare the EU with the United States. I conclude that the institutional setup of the EU does not lead to policies that are fundamentally undemocratic, and that the composition of its institutions is not inherently less democratic than that of the US political institutions. I also find, however, that a democratic deficit may exist owing to a lack of transparency and an excess of delegation in the legislative process.
 
Article
Sovereign creditworthiness within the euro area hinges upon the credibility of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). We analyse whether political events that worsen the SGP's credibility result in a shared default risk premium for all euro members, therefore leading to a joint deterioration of creditworthiness. We especially examine the decisions and statements of the Commission and the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers. Analysing daily data through the 1999-2005 period with an ARMA-GARCH model, we find the Commission plays a decisive role in affecting investor evaluations, where its credibility-strengthening decisions decrease volatility and statements signalling a weakening of fiscal credibility spark uncertainty on financial markets. Our results stress the importance of creating credible fiscal institutions that preserve sovereign creditworthiness within the euro area.
 
Article
This study develops and tests arguments about how political parties' electoral fortunes in national elections are influenced by voters' preferences regarding the European Union (EU). To date, there is increasing evidence demonstrating the impact of EU issues on vote choice in national elections - a process commonly referred to as EU issue voting. Yet little is known about which parties actually gain or lose as a result of EU issue voting. Using a two-step hierarchical estimation procedure, I first estimate an individual-level model of vote choice estimating the impact of EU preferences for individual parties. The first stage of the analysis reveals that the extent of EU issue voting varies substantially among political parties. In the second stage, I utilize party characteristics to account for this variation across parties by using an estimated dependent variable model. The analysis demonstrates that the inter-party variation in EU issue voting is largely a function of two factors: parties' intrinsic positioning regarding the EU and strategic considerations. The empirical analysis employs data from UK, Danish, Dutch and German elections between 1992 and 2002.
 
Variables 
, Model 1, includes all country-internal and time 
Main results
Additional results and robustness checks 
Simulated probabilities for key explanatory variables 
Article
We draw on the policy diffusion literature to shed more light on the determinants of treaty ratification, a crucial step in the formation of international regimes. Our hypotheses stipulate that a country's ratification behaviour is influenced by the ratification choices of other countries in general, or of specific types of other countries. The underlying argument is that the ratification behaviour of (specific) other countries sends particular signals - for instance signals about implementation costs, competitiveness effects or reputation costs - to the country in question. The empirical testing is done on data for ratification of the UN Economic Commission for Europe's agreements on long-range transboundary air pollution. The results show that international factors are as important in influencing ratification choices as domestic factors. This result raises interesting questions about the relative importance of international and domestic determinants in different policy areas and at different stages of international regime formation.
 
Article
What political factors explain the selection of countries for preferential trade agreements by the European Union? I argue that when forming a trade agreement the EU is more likely to target countries that have a higher degree of political and economic transparency than other developing countries. In highly transparent countries the EU is able to monitor effectively whether or not these countries follow its forms of conditionally, which is the main rationale of EU regionalism. Moreover, economic and political transparency plays a particularly important role in determining the degree of flexibility in trade agreements. Evidence based on data from 138 developing countries supports these arguments.
 
Article
What are the factors that help EU member states to secure favourable bargaining outcomes? Although existing research highlights the importance of the member states' 'political power', scholars tend to equate this with their voting power. In this paper, I argue that proposal-making power associated with the EU presidency helps the member states to obtain preferable negotiation outcomes. Analysis of the cross-state allocation of the EU budget from 1977-2003 shows that holding the EU presidency during the time of allocation decisions brings financial benefits to individual member states.
 
Distances between the two most extreme governments on the left-right dimension, 1976-2006. Source: Based on Klingemann et al. (2006) and on own calculations.
The significance of the group-size effect at the 95% significance level. Notes: All significant differences indicate that, as group size increases, decision-making speed decreases. We find no significant effects that indicate a speeding-up of the process as new members enter.
Estimated effects of group size on EU law-making
Cox model results (dependent variable: duration of policy-making per act)
Time-varying effects of enlargement rounds
Article
The article analyses how enlargements affect the speed of European Union (EU) decision-making. In line with rationalist theories of group choice, we argue that enlargements increase the costs of organizing decisions, i.e. transaction costs. Increasing transaction costs, in turn, slow down EU law-making. We test this theory by estimating Cox regression models that incorporate time-varying covariates on all directives, regulations and decisions submitted by the European Commission between 1976 and 2006. In contrast to previous analyses, we show that an increase in group size indeed slows down EU law-making.
 
Operationalisation of Individual Transnationalism 
Impact of border residence and transnationalism on euroscepticism 
Impact of border residence on mediation variables 
Goal-oriented vs sociable forms of interactions 
Article
This article builds on previous findings that border residents are less prone to be Eurosceptic. First, it enhances measurement by using a more exact distinction between border and core districts. Second, it extends theory by arguing that the lower propensity towards Euroscepticism among border residents is the result of their greater involvement in transnational networks and interactions. Third, the article adds to the interest-or-identity discussion in Euroscepticism research by distinguishing between goal-oriented and sociable forms of transnational interactions and testing their impact on Euroscepticism. Multilevel analyses of Eurobarometer data for France and Germany show that (1) the border effect holds only in Germany, (2) it is mediated by individual transnationalism, and (3) sociable forms of interaction are key to structuring attitudes towards European integration.
 
Result of regression analyses
Continued
Article
Recent studies have shown that the most important factor explaining opinions on European Union issues is attitudes towards immigrants. Two arguments are given to explain this effect. We contend that these arguments are both built on the idea that people with anti-immigrant attitudes frame other Europeans as an out-group. We then test the validity of these arguments by measuring how respondents in a voter survey frame the issue of Turkish membership. We find that framing the issue in terms of out-groups indeed mediates the effect of anti-immigrant attitudes on support for Turkish membership. This finding offers new insights into why levels of public support vary over different EU issues, because opposition is likely to increase when an issue is more easily framed in terms of out-groups.
 
Article
This article analyses the role of the Commission in the European Union (EU). We present a game-theoretical model of two EU processes - Commission appointment and the adoption of legislation - and apply this model to the appointment of recent Commissions and their legislative programmes. Institutional reforms of the EU have led to more involvement of the European Parliament and majority voting in the Council in both processes. We find that the introduction of majority voting in the legislative process in the mid-1980s let the Commission move policy further from the status quo. Yet unanimity for appointing the Commission still allowed the member states to commit to a legislative programme that was preferred by all of them. More recently, the move to majority voting for appointing the Commission, combined with the ability of the European Parliament to amend Commission proposals, has moved the EU towards a more majoritarian political system. However, the potential policy consequences of these changes have been limited thus far because of the particular configuration of policy preferences of the governments and the European Parliament.
 
Article
We construct novel measures to assess (i) the extent to which European Union member states are using common standards in recognizing asylum seekers and (ii) the extent to which the responsibilities for asylum applications, acceptances and refugee populations are equally shared among the member states, taking into account population size, gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP expressed in purchasing power parity (GDP-PPP). We track the progression of these measures since the implementation of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). These measures display divergent trends and we try to provide an interpretation of the dynamics that are constitutive of these trends.
 
Article
Individuals self-categorize within an international context, and this supranational identity shapes expectations for their own political system. Those individuals in post-Communist countries who believe that their country's primary international orientation should be towards the European Union have a more participatory view of politics and are more politically active. This study develops a social identity explanation of political behavior, and tests the explanation utilizing maximum likelihood and non-parametric matching methods in a 2004 survey of political attitudes in Moldova. Moldova's patchwork of identities, mixed historical legacy, and salience of supranational association make it an excellent case for study. The analysis finds strong support for the effect of supranational identity across a wide range of attitudes and activities.
 
(a) Regression lines of economic evaluations. (b) Regression lines of government approval. (c) Regression lines of national identity. (d) Regression lines of anti-immigration attitudes. 
Article
Public attitudes towards the European Union (EU) are at the heart of a growing body of research. The nature, structure and antecedents of these attitudes, however, are in need of conceptual and empirical refinement. With growing diversification of the policies of the Union, a one-dimensional approach to attitudes towards the EU may be insufficient. This study reviews existing approaches towards theorizing EU public opinion. Based on this inventory, originally collected public opinion survey data (n = 1394) indicate the presence of five dimensions of EU attitudes: performance, identity, affection, utilitarianism and strengthening. The study furthermore shows that different predictors of EU public opinion matter to differing extents when explaining these dimensions. In light of these findings, we suggest tightening the link, conceptually and empirically, between attitudinal dimensions and their antecedents.
 
Incorrect transposition at the level of provisions within directives
Effect of states' incentives on the likelihood of transposition problems, by member state
Article
Are member states less likely to transpose a European Union directive correctly if they disagreed with the directive at the decision-making stage? Existing research provides mixed answers to this question. Most of this research does not consider the role of the enforcement agent, the European Commission, and uses aggregate measures. By contrast, this study considers the impact of the Commission, and focuses on specific provisions in directives. It combines detailed information on states' disagreement with each provision at the decision-making stage and the quality of national transposition of each provision. The descriptive analysis shows that protracted non-compliance in national transposition is a rare event. The explanatory analysis indicates that states' policy preferences significantly affect the likelihood of transposition problems, and that this is conditioned by the behaviour of the Commission.
 
Article
Time choices are a neglected aspect of the bicameral bargaining literature, even though they may both affect the efficiency of decision-making and have broader democratic implications. An analytical framework is developed to explain when early conclusion occurs in the legislative process. Testing the main implications of this model on the co-decision procedure of the European Union, the results offer a more positive view of early agreements in this system than the existing literature. The findings show that these deals are unlikely to occur when the European Parliament is represented by agents with biased views of the overall legislature. The conventional wisdom that the character of the negotiated files plays a role in explaining whether legislative files are concluded early is also rejected. Instead, bargaining uncertainty and the impatience of the co-legislators matter.
 
Controversial issues raised by the legislative proposal on firearms. Notes: AT: Austria; BE: Belgium; CY: Cyprus; CZ: Czech Republic; DE: Germany; DK: Denmark; EE: Estonia; EL: Greece; ES: Spain; FI: Finland; FR: France; HU: Hungary; IE: Ireland; IT: Italy; LT: Lithuania; LU: Luxembourg; LV: Latvia; MT: Malta; NL: the Netherlands; PL: Poland; PT: Portugal; SE: Sweden; SI: Slovenia; SK: Slovakia; UK: United Kingdom; COM: Commission; EP: European Parliament. (a) Should there be a centralized database of firearm ownership? (b) Traceability of firearms.
Article
When the chambers of a bicameral legislature must negotiate to reach a decision outcome, the bargaining strength of each side is affected by the composition of its negotiating delegations. We examine some of the implications of this proposition for legislative negotiations between the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of Ministers. We develop and test hypotheses on how the bargaining success of the EP is affected by the choice of its chief negotiator, the rapporteur. Our findings support the argument that negotiators in a bicameral setting play a 'two-level game', where bargaining strength is shaped by the degree to which negotiators can credibly claim to be constrained by their parent chamber.
 
Enforcement of domestic transposition and implementation: the sequence of moves  
ECJ involvement and the Commission as guardian of the treaties  
Article
In this article I analyse the role of the European Commission in monitoring the transposition and implementation of EU Directives. The point of departure is that the Commission, like any political actor, has policy preferences that affect how it shapes its overseeing role. The Commission's responses may vary between being 'the guardian of the treaties', not allowing for any changes, and a 'silent witness', permitting member states to set their own, deviating national policies. These different responses are consistent with empirical findings showing that the Commission is rather selective in starting infringement procedures. 'Big brother is watching' the member states, but this is evident only when interests clash and the Commission receives sufficient support from the European Court of Justice or the other member states.
 
Article
A framing experiment on the Europeanization of health care supports two assumptions derived from the 'blame avoidance' literature. The constrained perceptions assumption states that performance evaluations at different political levels have 'zero-sum' implications for each other. Empirically, those receiving positive integration frames become not only more positive about the European Union (EU) level, but also more negative about domestic performance (even though frames about such a performance were not provided). The opposite is found for negative frames. Further, the negative bias assumption implies that zero-sum adjustments are best triggered by negative blame frames rather than by positive 'credit' frames. Finally, in contrast to standard blame avoidance assumptions, the experiment mimics the realistic situation in which the opposition attacks integration and the government defends it. This reverses the prototypical blame avoidance situation and opens the way for unintended effects. Governments may paint EU-induced conditions in rosy colours, reflecting negatively on its domestic performance. Conversely, the opposition runs the risk of being too gloomy about integration for its own good, as negative EU welfare frames reflect positively on domestic performance.
 
Multi-level analysis for the effect of managerial excellence on public sector image, satisfaction with public services, and trust in governance
Article
The cross-country study of public administration based on citizens' surveys in Europe is a relatively novel approach to analyzing the social and political dynamics of the continent. The goal of this study is to examine some aspects of bureaucracy and democracy as perceived by knowledgeable citizens in six countries (Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, and Spain). A rationale is developed to support hypotheses about the relationship between democracy and bureaucracy. The study also proposes hypotheses about differences between the countries in terms of satisfaction with public services, trust in governance and public administration agencies, and a set of managerial-oriented variables of the public sector (i.e. perceived innovation, responsiveness, professionalism, organizational politics, leadership and vision, ethics and morality). The study's findings indicate that various aspects of bureaucracy and democracy differ across countries and that democratic longevity may be a good explanation for these differences.
 
Article
We use surveys of British businesses to test the relative influence of monetary and 'real' economic factors on private sector interests towards European monetary integration. We show that firms trading with the European Union have a preference for a fixed exchange rate (in both the European Monetary System and euro membership). On the other hand, firms not trading with the rest of the EU do not hold such preferences. In addition, firms with parent companies in other EU member states favour euro membership. However, contrary to conventional theories of political economy, firms trading more widely (that is, extra-European trade) also prefer euro membership, despite being less dependent on intra-EU trade. Moreover, in later surveys, exporting firms appear to prefer a strong pound, contrary to received wisdom.
 
Article
I extend the standard spatial model of legislative voting to account for vote-specific party inducements and procedural differences. Focusing on voting in the 1999-2004 European Parliament, I find evidence of vote-specific party inducements in a large share of the roll call votes. Furthermore, MEPs position themselves differently across procedures. As most roll call votes are taken on non-legislative votes, these estimates may overemphasize voting pattern on these votes and downplay voting pattern on legislative votes. As such, these estimates may be a poorly suited for studying within party heterogeneity on legislative votes.
 
Wealth distribution of Euro-candidates.  
Rank-ordered logistic regression of the basic model 
Public experience of Euro-candidates. Note: PSD: Social Democratic Party; PDL: Democratic Liberal Party; PNL: National Liberal Party; UDMR: Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania; PRM: Greater Romania Party; NE ¼ no experience.  
Predominant party office of Euro-candidates. Note: PSD: Social Democratic Party; PDL: Democratic Liberal Party; PNL: National Liberal Party; UDMR: Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania; PRM: Greater Romania Party.  
Article
This article fills a gap in the literature by explaining list composition and placement of candidates in closed PR (proportional representation) settings. Focusing on the case of Romania in the European elections of June 2009, we rely on an original data set including the sociodemographics, career history and wealth of all 215 candidates from the Romanian parties' parliamentary lists. The results of our rank-ordered logistic regression indicate that at both the national and the party level the political competitors favour previous political experience and wealth of the candidates in establishing their final list order. Marginal effects of support from successful local branches, gender, age and education are also visible for various political parties.
 
Article
The dominant paradigm characterizes European Parliament (EP) elections as second-order national elections. Scholars adhering to this view (for example, Marsh, 2008; Reif and Schmitt, 1980; Schmitt, 2005) not only identify these elections as less important, but also emphasize that low turnout in EP elections is unrelated to citizens’ support for the European Union (EU). In this article, I challenge this latter proposition. Analyzing all EP elections since 1979, I first find that higher macro-level support for EU membership leads to higher turnout. Second, I discover that changes in aggregate EU support directly trigger changes in turnout rates. Third, a multilevel analysis of Eurobarometer data confirms these macro-level trends at the micro level and finds that citizens who consider their country's membership in the EU ‘a good thing’ have a higher likelihood of voting in EP elections than those who reject it. These findings have both empirical and theoretical implications. Empirically, the low turnout in EU elections is directly linked to citizens’ rejection of the EU project. Theoretically, the second-order national election thesis needs to be altered. Turnout in EP elections is driven by not only national-level factors but also citizens’ satisfaction with the EU.
 
Hypotheses, operationalization and expected effects
continued
Results of ordered logistic regression analysis
Article
This article analyses the cleavages that structured the debates within the Convention on the Future of Europe. Taking the positions on the institutional rules governing EU social policy as an empirical example, it addresses the question of whether these positions were determined by party politics or by national interests. The article also examines how the delegates' different institutional backgrounds affected their positions. A statistical analysis of a new data set on the positions of conventionists towards EU social policy expansion shows that, overall, delegates' positions were determined by a mixture of party politics and national interests. At the same time, there are institutional effects separating representatives of government parties, who tended to stress national interests, from actors representing opposition parties, who acted more according to a party political logic.
 
Article
A common argument against flexible integration as a solution to increased preference heterogeneity is that a likely consequence for those member states opting out of the enhanced cooperation is a loss of status and influence generally in the European Union (EU). It has been argued, for example, that the decisions by Denmark, Sweden and the UK not to join the Euro is considered to be free-riding, which leads to a bad reputation and exclusion from informal networks. We test this proposed free-rider effect by comparing the network capital of Euro-outsiders with insiders in the Council of the EU, using survey data of more than 600 member state representatives. The findings speak strongly against the free-rider hypothesis, as the Euro-outsiders are highly ranked in terms of network capital.
 
Article
Since the end of the Cold War, multilateral treaties have again become a central vehicle for international cooperation. In this article, we study states' commitment to 76 multilateral treaties concluded between 1990 and 2005. The article offers a systematic account of present-day multilateral treaty-making efforts and asks what explains variation in states' participation as witnessed in the act of treaty ratification. We test existing explanations and provide a novel argument that accounts for the strong participation of new European democracies in multilateral treaties. We find that regime type and being part of the European Union (EU) strongly affect treaty ratification. New EU democracies, in particular, are much more likely to ratify multilateral treaties than are other new democracies.
 
Article
This paper analyses the implications of collegiality in the European Commission for policy outcomes in European Competition Policy (ECP). The structure of the Commission creates a dilemma, since the antitrust regulator (DG COMP) can either submit its decisions to a vote in the College, or engage in costly strategizing to circumvent it. Relying on the College maintains organizational unity but also risks producing decisions unfavourable to DG COMP and the non-recovery of sunk costs. Forging external alliances, on the other hand, secures policy positions but may also lead to generalized crisis. In this game of strategy I identify the distance between DG policy preferences, the ability of DG COMP to rely on national competition authorities, and the costs of forging external alliances as the main variables affecting equilibrium strategies, and thus equilibrium policy outcomes. Additional empirical work, on ECP and other common policies, should follow.
 
Article
This paper explains how institutional conditions in the European Parliament's committees shape lobbyists' strategic behaviour. Committees' informal organization and formal procedures structure both the distribution of legislative influence and the opportunity to obtain advocacy. It is demonstrated how influence and, by implication, lobbying activity are skewed in favour of a committee elite. Here new evidence is provided to highlight the significant impact that open amendments play in a committee's final report. The theory also emphasizes the role that message quality plays in the decision about who to lobby, and defines the limits to lobbyists' preference to obtain advocacy from friendly legislators. Analysis is carried out on data obtained from 94 structured interviews combined with a unique data set of committee-stage voting outcomes.
 
Distribution of selected proposals
Article
What impact do leaders in the European Parliament's (EP) committees have on the EP's opinions? This study formulates and tests expectations about the conditions under which rapporteurs influence the EP's opinions and also about what factors motivate that influence. In line with the informational theory of legislative committees, the most important factor affecting the EP's opinion is the policy position of the median MEP, not a characteristic of the rapporteur. Nonetheless, the evidence shows that rapporteurs influence the EP's opinions when legislative proposals are subject to early agreements under the co-decision procedure and when the consultation procedure applies. Rapporteurs' influence is motivated primarily by national interests, rather than by the interests of their EP party groups.
 
Article
Does trust in national institutions foster or hinder trust in the institutions of the European Union (EU)? There is no agreement in the literature on popular support for the EU about the direction of the relationship between trust in national and European institutions. Some scholars argue that both will be positively related, others have proposed the opposite hypothesis: low levels of trust in national institutions will lead citizens to higher levels of support for the EU. We argue that both hypotheses are true but operate at different levels: whereas more trusting citizens tend to be so in both the national and the European arenas, we also find that at the country level the relationship is negative: living in a country with highly trusted and well-performing institutions hinders trust in the European Parliament. We test our hypotheses using data from the European Social Survey and Hierarchical Linear Modeling.
 
Article
Rising Euroscepticism, increasing levels of public disagreement and growing divisions on Europe both within and between political parties are all indicators of the emergent potential for contestation on Europe. This article seeks to identify whether two important elements of contestation on Europe, namely inter-party competition and divisions in public opinion, are causally related, the direction of any such relationship and in which countries the relationship might exist. In doing so, we apply a recently developed method for analysing cross-sectional time-series data: panel Granger testing. We do, indeed, find a causal relationship between public opinion and inter-party competition, but only in some countries, not all, and we discuss the implications for political competition on Europe.
 
Article
We identify and explain significant differences between the compliance enforcement systems of three cap-and-trade programmes: the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), the US SO2 emission trading programme and the Kyoto Protocol. Because EU-ETS's compliance enforcement system is somewhat less potent than that of US S02, but vastly more potent than Kyoto's, it might be tempting to predict that EU-ETS will (I) not quite achieve the S02 programme's near-perfect compliance rates, yet (2) achieve significantly better compliance rates than Kyoto. However, we offer a novel theoretical framework suggesting that how compliance enforcement affects compliance will depend on how the emission trading programme addresses participation. We conclude that while (I) will likely prove correct, (2) will not; Kyoto may even outperform EU-ETS compliance-wise because whereas EU-ETS (and US S02) specify mandatory participation, most Kyoto member countries participate voluntarily.
 
Article
This article analyses the dimensionality and nature of political conflict in the European Union Council of Ministers between 1998 and 2007. By comparing policy platforms of member state governments, multidimensional scaling techniques are employed to make inferences about the dimensionality of the Council's political space. The dimensions are interpreted performing 1250 multiple regression analyses. The results largely corroborate the assumption that cleavages are structured along geographically defined clusters of states. After Eastern enlargement (2004), a North-South divide was replaced by an East-West cleavage. The analysis moreover suggests that there are two stable conflict dimensions within the Council's political space. The first is an integration dimension that represents the support for deepening European Union integration and the transfer of sovereignty to a supranational level. The second is a 'policy' dimension, manifested predominantly in disputes over redistributive policies.
 
Article
This article examines the political economy of selective immigration policy in a model where decision makers are uncertain about the characteristics of migrants. The analysis focuses on two questions: first, how does a selective immigration policy affect the number of immigrants who are admitted by the receiving country; second, how does a selective immigration policy in one country affect immigration policies in other countries. We find (i) that countries with selective immigration policies ceteris paribus tend to admit more migrants than countries without such policies, and (ii) that neighbouring countries will follow each other in implementing selective immigration policies, i.e. there is diffusion. These theoretical findings are supported by evidence from an econometric panel analysis of immigration policies in 15 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the period from 1980 to 2005.
 
Article
Why are some interest groups able to lobby political decisions successfully whereas others are not? This article suggests that the issue context is an important source of variation because it can facilitate or hamper the ability of interest groups to lobby decision-makers successfully. In order to test the effect of issue characteristics, this article draws on a new, unprecedented data set of interest group lobbying in the European Union. Using quantitative text analysis to analyse Commission consultations, this article studies lobbying success across 2696 interest groups and 56 policy issues. The findings indicate that lobbying success indeed varies with the issue context, depending on the relative size of lobbying coalitions and the salience of policy issues, whereas individual group characteristics do not exhibit any systematic effect.
 
Article
This article aims to evaluate the emerging patterns of decision-making in the European Union after the first Eastern enlargement through an analysis of voting positions in the Council of Ministers. By applying three methods (cluster analysis, factor analysis and Bayesian item-response modelling), it assesses the new spatial dimensions of EU policy-making. The results show that the level of open contestation at the Council meetings has risen following enlargement, but the general coalition-building patterns remain similar to the ones in the old EU. The analysis also indicates that it is possible to identify a winning coalition that constitutes the critical mass of the qualified majority of weighted votes for the periods before and after the Eastern enlargement. Furthermore, the size of the largest coalition in relation to the qualified majority threshold becomes smaller in the EU of 25 member states, which may herald a new era of increased policy stability.
 
Article
Making interventions during negotiations within the Council of Ministers is the primary way in which member states make their policy positions known to one another and attempt to influence negotiations. In spite of this, relatively little scholarly attention has been paid to the factors that influence a member state’s decision to intervene. This paper seeks to address this gap in our understanding by analysing a new data set that specifies which member states are intervening and at what level of negotiation within the Council they are doing so. Significant differences between member state intervention behaviour are observed, and these differences can be explained to some degree by structural characteristics of the policy space within which member states negotiate.
 
Article
Based upon existing fiscal federal arrangements, this article considers the options facing the European Union to reform its own framework. There are two plausible ways the EU can stabilize the finances of its member states over the longer term. The first is to take steps that complement the market discipline of individual member states. For market discipline to play this positive role, three conditions need to be met: (1) markets need to have accurate information on member state finances; (2) the market valuation of a given state also has to be an accurate valuation of the sustainability of that state's finances; and (3) populations need to interpret market discipline as a signal about their government's competence and punish governments that face market pressure. Such a system is possible under the current Stability and Growth Pact, and indeed it appears that all three conditions held in summer 2009. Any bailout of a member state, however, undermines this type of system. More political integration would be needed to prevent a state from getting into a situation where a bailout would be an option. The Brazilian model is a precedent that the European Union could emulate.
 
Article
The development towards a 'Europe of the Regions' is accompanied by a complex system of cooperation and interdependence between the different levels of policy-making. In this article, we ask how European integration affects the party composition of regional governments. We argue that the European Union (EU) classification system of regions - the 'Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics' (NUTS) - establishes incentives to form similar coalition governments among regions that belong to the same NUTS area. We test our argument by analysing government formation in the Czech regions and thus in one EU member state whose regions benefit financially from EU structural policy. The results show that there is empirical evidence to support our main hypotheses: even when controlling for variables that reflect standard coalition theories and for patterns of party competition in the national sphere, we find that coalitions are more likely to form if the respective parties are also part of the government in the regions that belong to the same NUTS area.
 
Article
This article introduces the ‘Positions and Salience in European Union Politics’ dataset. The dataset comprises positional and salience estimates of more than 250 parties and governments in the European Union (EU). These estimates, which all come with measures of uncertainty, pertain to 10 important EU policy domains as well as a European integration and a left-right scale. The dataset exploits statistics from hand-coded European party manifestos provided by the ‘Euromanifestos’ project and uses simulation to correct stochastic error. The manifestos are scaled using a technique for count data that employs principles from psychophysics. For most European domestic parties and major European Parliament groups, the estimates range from 1979 to 2004, while for member state governments time-series between 1998 and 2007 are available. The dataset may be of use to scholars interested in European integration, Europeanization, compliance research or EU legislative decision-making.
 
Article
This article introduces the European Union Policy-Making (EUPOL) dataset. The dataset contains the complete records of the European Commission's PreLex database, which tracks the interactions between the European institutions on legislative proposals and non-legislative policy documents over time. To be of maximum use to the research community, the dataset is both comprehensive and replicable. It relies on 2600 variables to describe the detailed event histories of more than 29,000 inter-institutional decision-making processes between 1975 and 2009. The data collection has been completely automated, enabling scholars to scrutinize and replicate the generation of the dataset. To illustrate the dataset's general utility and discuss specific pitfalls, I present a descriptive analysis of the outcome and duration of Council decision-making.
 
Top-cited authors
Hajo G. Boomgaarden
  • University of Vienna
Catherine de Vries
  • University of Oxford
Liesbet Hooghe
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & RSC EUI Florence
Hubert I M Claes
Claes de Vreese
  • University of Amsterdam