Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Costello, R
Netherlands Institute of Governance Annual Workshop
Semi-detached Houses? Geographic representation and bicameral relations in the European Union'
Optional Fields

Bicameral legislatures in federal systems are designed to provide distinct representation for societal and regional interests. This is also the case in the EU, where the European Parliament (EP) represents the citizens of the EU and the Council of Ministers represents the member states in legislative decision making. However, a weak party system in the EP, nationally-oriented MEPs and a comparable distribution of votes in both institutions implies that the EP will often be a mirror image of the Council, rather than a distinct chamber. Using data from roll-call votes in the EP, this paper shows that the level of conflict between the chambers is significantly reduced when MEPs act along national rather than partisan lines. Furthermore, MEPs most often act as national representatives on policy areas where the Lisbon Treaty enhances the power of the EP, thereby reducing the potential impact of these changes. The findings are illustrated by a detailed examination of decision making on a proposal on for sugar sector reform.