Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Costello, R
Fifth Pan-European Conference on EU Politics
A People's House and a States' House? Understanding conflict between the European Union's legislative institutions
Porto, Portugal
Optional Fields
Bicameralism has a significant effect on decision making only when the preferences of the two chambers differ. This paper examines policy conflict between legislative bodies in the European Union, which has a bicameral legislature consisting of the European Parliament (EP) and Council of Ministers. Drawing on the comparative literature on bicameralism, it is argued that the level of disagreement between legislative chambers is influenced by the representative roles performed by their members and their congruence along party and territorial lines. Hypotheses are developed regarding the conditions under which the EP and Council are most likely to disagree on matters of policy. The findings, based on an analysis of legislative proposals decided between 1999 and 2004, suggest that the similar geographic apportionment of votes in the two institutions undermines their distinctiveness as legislative chambers. In particular, the EP and Council are less likely to disagree when national interests (rather than party interests) are to the fore. This also implies that the recent extension of the EPís powers under the Lisbon Treaty in areas such as agriculture and structural funding will have a limited impact on policy outcomes, as these are areas where competition along national lines tends to be particularly strong.