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Bicameral Conflict Resolution in the European Union: An Empirical Analysis of Conciliation Committee Bargains

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 20 March 2007

This article is a study of bicameral conflict resolution between the Council and the European Parliament in the European Union, which has established a bicameral conciliation process under the co-decision procedure. Scholars commonly agree that the European Parliament has gained power under the co-decision procedure, but the impact of the conciliation process on the power distribution between the Council and the European Parliament remains unclear. The scholarly debate suggests that the power of the institutional actors depends on their proximity to the status quo, the (im-)patience and the specific preference distribution of the institutional actors, although most analyses assume that the Commission plays an insignificant role. Using an ordered probit model, this study examines the power distribution between the two institutional actors, the factors for their bargaining success and the role of the Commission in the period between 1999 and 2002. The findings show that the European Parliament wins most conflicts, but that the Council is more successful in multi-dimensional disputes. The results confirm some theoretical claims made in the literature, such as the importance of the status quo location and of preference cohesiveness. However, they also reject a major assumption in the literature on the irrelevance of the Commission in the conciliation process, which we show to have an influential informational position for parliamentary success.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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