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Title: The sources of committee influence in the European Parliament
Author: Alexander, David Alisdair
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 0498
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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The European Parliament (EP) has evolved into a powerful legislative actor over the past 40 years. In order to exercise its hard won legislative competencies in an efficient and effective manner the EP has developed an extensive and influential committee system. The Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) recognised its equal status as co-legislator with the Council of the EU and introduced the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP) as the default EU legislative procedure. Despite the fact that after the introduction of the OLP all EP committees formally operate under the same legal procedure, disparities remain in the levels of influence that each committee commands. This state of affairs demonstrates that if we are to understand what drives committee influence we need to explore the informal sources of influence that committees draw on in addition to the formal rules. This project addresses the lack of understanding of how the committees establish legislative influence by identifying and testing the different resources which committees may be utilising to establish their influence. The thesis puts forward four hypotheses concerning the factors that can account for how committees establish influence. These are developed and tested within three case studies. The case studies comprise the highly influential committees on, firstly, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, secondly, the Budget Committee and, thirdly, the International Trade Committee. The research project adopts a qualitative approach to complement and create a different perspective from the quantitative studies which dominate the field. It draws on extensive primary material from thirty semi-structured interviews held with MEPs, advisers, EP staff and party officials active in the 7th legislative term (2009-2014). A number of the current conventions concerning the way in which expertise, partisan dynamics, and policy outputs affect how committees establish legislative influence are challenged and new insights regarding their relative importance are offered. Overall, these original findings, contained within this dissertation, have highly significant implications, not only with regard to the committee system of the EP but, also, for the wider field of legislative politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; JF Political institutions (General) ; JN Political institutions (Europe)