With the European Parliament comprising politicians from many different countries, cultures, languages, national parties and institutional backgrounds, one might expect politics in the Parliament to be highly-fragmented and unpredictable. By studying more than 12,000 recorded votes between 1979 and 2004 this 2007 book establishes that the opposite is in fact true: transnational parties in the European Parliament are highly cohesive and the classic 'left-right' dimension dominates voting behaviour. Furthermore, the cohesion of parties in the European Parliament has increased as the powers of the Parliament have increased. The authors suggest that the main reason for these developments is that like-minded MEPs have incentives to form stable transnational party organizations and to use these organizations to compete over European Union policies. They suggest that this is a positive development for the future of democratic accountability in the European Union.
• Argues that the party system in the European Parliament is similar to other democratic parliaments • Uses a unique dataset of parliament's votes to study politics in the European Parliament • Concludes that the state of democratic accountability in the EU is far healthier than usually assumed
Introduction; 1. Development of the European Parliament; 2. Democracy, transaction costs and political parties; 3. Ideological not territorial politics; 4. Participation; 5. Trends in party cohesion; 6. Agenda setting and cohesion; 7. Who controls the MEPs?; 8. Competition and coalition formation; 9. Dimensions of politics; 10. Investiture and censure of the Santer Commission; 11. The takeover directive; Conclusion.
Richard F. Fenno Prize for the Best Book Published in the Field of Legislative Studies 2007 - Winner
'Combining a solid understanding of European integration with the latest advances in legislative studies, Democratic Politics in the European Parliament is bound to change our thinking of EU politics. Hix, Noury and Roland have produced a book that is empirically rich, theoretically challenging, methodologically sophisticated and yet written in highly accessible language. It is safe to promise that this book will become a landmark text among both EU scholars and students of parliaments.' Tapio Raunio, Professor of Political Science, University of Tampere
'An original and compelling case for recognising the growing importance of party politics in the European Parliament.' Michael Shackleton, European Parliament Secretariat