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Title: Bridging the gap between Brussels and home : a study on (the lack of) party multilevel coordination in the European Union
Author: De Candia, Margherita
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 0674
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The European Parliament (EP) is nowadays a powerful legislative assembly. The question then arises of whether national parties have started to devote more attention to this institution in order to shape nationally relevant legislation. In other words, are national parties following more closely than in the past the internal workings of the EP? Are they putting more efforts into coordinating with their national delegations gathered in Brussels and Strasbourg? These are the overarching questions this research addresses. In a nutshell, the answer is 'not quite yet'. As this thesis demonstrates, a gap persists between the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their parent parties at home, especially when the latter occupy the mainstream side of the party system. But why bother? These are troubling times for representative democracy in the EU. The economic and financial crisis that hit Europe in the second decade of the 21st century has fuelled public unrest further and been a catalyst for Euroscepticism. This has added to the EU's longstanding democratic malaise generated by the transfer of decision-making power beyond the State. Crucially, a smooth interplay between national parties and their delegations in the EP - what I call 'party multilevel coordination' - may help mend these flaws by bridging the gap between citizens and their supranational representatives. This research puzzle is solved through a mixed-method approach. First, a multilevel statistical analysis highlights the main longitudinal and cross-sectional trends in party multilevel coordination. The dataset spans from 1999 to 2015 and draws on several existing databases. Second, a case study approach focusing on Italian and British mainstream parties, and relying on semi-structured interviews and analysis of party documents, scrutinises the casual mechanisms accounting for variation in party multilevel coordination. The empirical analysis is underpinned by a revised version of Müller and Strøm's (1999) framework, according to which national parties' incentives to invest time in party multilevel coordination depends on the pursuit of policy, vote, and opportunity goals in national and EU arenas. Remarkably, this multi-method investigation unveils the interplay between party multilevel coordination, party strategy, political culture and institutional features, and throws light on the many missed opportunities that have characterised the EU dealings of, most notably, mainstream national parties.
Supervisor: Bressanelli, Edoardo ; Talani, Leila Simona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available