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Title: Government and opposition in EU legislative politics
Author: Hoyland, Bjorn Kare
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Abstract:
This thesis presents a model of EU legislative politics. The model sees national political parties as actors, rather than institutions, countries or trans-national party groups. The empirical focus is on the Codecision procedure after the Amsterdam reform came into effect in 1999. In essence, the thesis argues that governing parties dominate EU legislative politics. The governing parties' advantage stems from two factors. First, they are represented in the Upper House, the Council of Ministers, while opposition parties are not. Second, the shifting majority requirements in the European Parliament (EP) mean that a qualified majority in the Council can impose its preferences on the EP if the Council has the support from a blocking minority in the EP. Nevertheless, the qualified majority requirement in the Council also means that most governing parties would like to see a larger change in policy than what the Council can agree to in their common position. This has implications for the legislative strategy of both governing and opposition parties. Three hypotheses are tested. Hypothesis 1: Governing parties are more active as Codecision agenda- setters (rapporteurs) than opposition parties. Hypothesis 2: Rapporteurs from governing parties are more likely to see their initial legislative proposal being accepted by the Council of Ministers in the first reading. Hypothesis 3: The majority of governing parties and ideologically close opposition parties are more likely to support second reading amendments than other parties. The empirical evidence supports the hypotheses. Thus, there are empirical grounds for arguing that government and opposition exist in EU legislative politics. The governing coalition is the qualified majority of the governing parties and its ideologically close parties in the EP. The opposition is the losing minority in the Council and its ideologically close parties in the EP. The opposition also includes those parties that are neither ideologically close to the minority nor close to the majority of the governing parties. The evidence shows that behaviour differences are more evident between governing and opposition parties from adversarial member states. In non-adversarial states, which often have minority or oversized coalition government, the difference between governing and opposition parties is smaller.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.645606  DOI: Not available
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