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PADEMIA Research Note Series

PADEMIA Research Note Series

PADEMIA encourages its members to share their research within and beyond the network. As part of this dissemination strategy, we are excited to introduce the PADEMIA Research Note Series – a collection of short pieces that highlight research results or summarise policy advice for both academic and non-academic audiences. It will allow the network members to communicate their key messages to a wider audience, contributing to an evidence-based discussion on parliamentary democracy in Europe as well as increasing the visibility of our research.

 

The series will continue with new contributions , which will be published on the PADEMIA website and promoted through PADEMIA’s Twitter account and newsletter. Interested PADEMIA members can contact the editors for their research to feature in the series.

 

Katrin Auel and Resul Umit
Series Editors

 


Research Note 6/2017:

 

Title

How is impartiality interpreted by media regulators? Towards more editorial judgements in UK election news reporting

 

Author

Stephen Cushion

 

Abstract

As the 2017 UK General Election Campaign gets under way, most people will again turn to broadcast news to learn about competing parties and candidates. Drawing on his research on the 2015 campaign, Stephen Cushion explains how regulators interpret impartiality rules in the UK.

 

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Research Note 5/2017:

 

Title

No Interaction on Swedish political parties’ Instagram accounts

 

Authors

Uta Russmann and Jakob Svensson

 

Abstract

How do political parties use Instagram – a platform that is centred around images – when engaging in interaction with their followers on the platform during election campaigns? To find answers to this question, Uta Russmann and Jakob Svensson examined Swedish political parties Instagram accounts during the 2014 national elections. A particular focus is on the deliberative potential (in a Habermasian understanding of the term) of Instagram. The results are similar to findings from other social media platforms: Political parties hardly used Instagram to interact with their followers, and the few interactions taking place did not contribute to deliberation. Interaction and deliberation is thus not enhanced by the images on Instagram.

 

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Research Note 4/2017:

 

Title

The failed reforms of the Spanish Senate

 

Authors

Jean-Baptiste Harguindéguy, Xavier Coller, and Alistair Cole

 

Abstract

As in other countries, the Spanish upper chamber is facing harsh criticism. It has failed to fulfil its constitutional task as a chamber of territorial representation. Notwithstanding a number of proposed reforms, the Senado has remained almost unchanged since its creation in 1978. So why is it so difficult to restructure this chamber? In this research note, the authors explain the impasse of the reform of the Senate by evaluating three approaches. After stressing the qualities and defects of the legal inheritance and party bargaining frameworks, they argue that the joint-decision trap perspective can help to understand the two-fold dynamic of institutional obstruction and incremental change that has affected the Spanish Senate for the last 20 years.

 

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Research Note 3/2017:

 

Title

The European Parliament’s political groups: between high cohesion and recurrent breakdowns

 

Author

Lorenzo Cicchi

 

Abstract

The political groups in the European Parliament (EP) have been generally described as cohesive actors: members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the same political group are likely to vote together, regardless of their nationality. Based on his recently published book on MEPs’ voting behaviour, Lorenzo Cicchi analyses those roll-call votes where political groups of the European Parliament (EPGs) are exceptionally divided, reaching partially counter-intuitive results. He argues that what is generally overlooked is that the high levels of party cohesion in the EP may be a ‘statistical artefact’, in the sense that a substantial number of divisive votes are drowned out by a large majority of votes where party groups are highly or almost completely cohesive.

 

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Research Note 2/2017:

 

Title

Lobbying in the European Parliament: the battle for influence

 

Author

Maja Kluger Dionigi

 

Abstract

The European Parliament (EP) has become one of the most important lobbying venues in the European Union (EU). Yet we know little about the many ways in which interest groups and lobbyists influence parliamentary politics. Based on her new book on lobbying in the EP, Maja Kluger Dionigi explains when and how interest groups are influential in the EP. She argues that lobbying success depends on a number of factors, most notably the degree of counter-lobbying, issue salience, and committee receptiveness. These factors are brought together in the framework of ‘Triple-I’ – interests, issues, and institutions – to determine the success or failure of lobbying.

 

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Research Note 1/2017:

 

Title

National parties in EU politics: linking citizens with EU legislators?

 

Author

Monika Mühlböck

 

Abstract

National parties provide a linkage between citizens and legislators in democratic nation states. Monika Mühlböck explores whether they fulfil a similar role in the European Union (EU). Based on qualitative interviews, survey data, and voting records, she finds that national parties exert only little control over their representatives in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Their influence on day-to-day EU decision-making is limited as they are often unable to keep up with the pace and the details of EU legislation. The lack of involvement of national parties creates problems for democratic accountability in the EU.

 

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Research Note 18/2016:

 

Title

MEPs in national parliaments: bringing the EU closer to home?

 

Author

Chiara Valentin

 

Abstract

In May 2015, the Austrian Nationalrat decided to allow Austrian members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to speak in specific plenary debates in the Austrian Parliament. This measure, supported by all parties except the FPÖ and Team Stronach, aimed at achieving closer cooperation between national and European MPs, at greater transparency for European Union (EU) decisions and, most importantly, at bringing the EU closer to both the Austrian people and the Austrian Parliament. With this decision, the Austrian Parliament joined the small group of national parliaments that encourage the participation of MEPs in their domestic plenary debates. In this research note, Austrian high school student Chiara Valentin explores speeches by MEPs in the national parliaments of Austria and the Netherlands and investigates to what extent this practice can achieve its aims.

 

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Research Note 17/2016:

 

Title

Europhile against all odds: social democrats converge on a pro-integration position in times of politicisation

 

Author

Mario Gavenda

 

Abstract

How do pro-European parties of the centre-left react to growing citizen dissatisfaction with the EU? In this research note, Mario Gavenda argues that the social-democratic party family in Western Europe remains persistently in favour of European integration. A content analysis of party congress debates of the German SPD and the French PS suggests that social democrats take a position of critical Euroenthusiasm, criticising the status quo but demanding ‘more Europe’ as solution.

 

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Research Note 16/2016:

 

Title

What are representative claims and why should we care about them?

 

Author

Maija Mattila

 

Abstract

Representative claims offer ways for members of parliament (MPs) to profile themselves as representatives of certain groups and geographical entities, and to give interpretations of what people think. In this research note, Maija Mattila presents examples of representative claims from a case study of Finnish MPs’ speeches. She argues that paying attention to representative claims opens avenues for better understanding politics.

 

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Research Note 15/2016:

 

Title

When do national parliaments actually use their powers to control their government in EU affairs?

 

Author

Heleen Jalvingh

 

Abstract

The role of national parliaments in the European Union (EU) has improved over time, as shown in many comparative studies based upon institutional powers. However, we know relatively little about under what conditions parliaments are most likely to use these powers to control their government in EU affairs. To answer this question, Heleen Jalvingh followed 16 EU legislative proposals through the stages of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP) in the UK’s House of Commons and the Netherlands’ House of Representatives. The results demonstrate that, comparatively, issue salience makes the biggest difference in how often parliaments use their powers in order to have an impact on their governments’ position in Brussels.

 

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Research Note 14/2016:

 

Title

More, better, or another way for Europe: the debates on EU affairs at the Portuguese parliament

 

Author

Alice Cunha

 

Abstract
The plenary is arguably the most important platform for members of parliament (MPs) to communicate not only with the other MPs but also with the general public. Drawing on the debates held in the plenary of the Portuguese parliament over the period 1986–2015, Alice Cunha analyses how Portuguese MPs envision the European integration process and evaluate the country’s EU membership. The results show that about 4% of all plenary sessions were about EU affairs during the last 30 years, with some question marks over the substance of the debates in these sessions.

 

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Research Note 13/2016:

 

Title

Erosion of parliamentary democracy during the European financial crisis

 

Author

Aleksandra Maatsch

 

Abstract

What were the effects of the recent European economic crisis on parliamentary democracy in the European Union? Were national parliaments negatively affected? In the aftermath of the crisis these questions generated a very lively academic discussion. In her forthcoming book, PADEMIA member Aleksandra Maatsch makes a significant contribution to that debate by analysing how national parliaments and parliamentary parties performed their legislative, representative, and control functions during the reform of European economic governance. The findings demonstrate that formal powers of national parliaments are limited while the international responsibility among governing parties is prioritised. Nevertheless, parliaments have not become mere ‘talking shops’ either.

 

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Research Note 12/2016:

 

Title

‘The cogs in the wheels of Early Warning’? The role of liaison officers in the European Parliament

 

Authors

Christine Neuhold and Anna-Lena Högenauer

 

Abstract

The Early Warning Mechanism (EWM) is one way in which policymakers have sought to address legitimacy problems in the European Union (EU) through enhancing the role of national parliaments in the EU’s decision-making. PADEMIA members Christine Neuhold and Anna-Lena Högenauer argue that the officials of national parliaments in the European Parliament (EP) play an important role in enabling parliamentary scrutiny through the dissemination of information. Their research highlights the key function of ‘information relay’ that these liaison officers performed for the first ‘yellow card’ procedure in the EWM.

 

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Research Note 11/2016:

 

Title

Slovakia and the turnout conundrum: Why don’t Slovaks vote in European Parliament elections?

 

Authors

Oľga Gyárfášová and Karen Henderson

 

Abstract

Low turnout at European Parliament (EP) elections is common in new member states, but the exceptionally low turnouts in Slovakia suggest that the reasons for this may be complex. The EP elections there do not have all the classic characteristics of ‘second order’ elections, and there is little evidence to support domestic explanations highlighting the need for more publicity for European Union (EU) affairs. Based on survey data, PADEMIA members Oľga Gyárfášová and Karen Henderson argue that the fuzziness of party and voter attitudes on EU issues, together with an inward-looking agenda focusing on economic advantages, help depress turnout and do not bode well for the future.

 

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Research Note 10/2016:

 

Title

Avoiding parliamentary marginalization in foreign and security policy

 

Author

Tapio Raunio

 

Abstract

Foreign and security policy is commonly accepted to be a policy area dominated by the executive, with parliaments wielding at best limited influence. Yet the lack of empirical research beyond the very specific case of the U.S. Congress means that we do not really know whether and how European legislatures engage in foreign affairs. In this research note, PADEMIA member Tapio Raunio argues that members of parliament (MPs) nowadays have stronger incentives to become involved in foreign policy. Empirical evidence from Finland offers good cause for optimism, both regarding overall parliamentary scrutiny of foreign affairs and of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in particular.

 

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Research Note 9/2016:

 

Title

Democracy under threat: Undermining the rights of the opposition in the Polish Parliament

 

Author

Agnieszka Grzelak

 

Abstract

There is an ongoing dispute around the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) in Poland, sparking mass protests in the country and straining its relationships with the European Commission. PADEMIA member Agnieszka Grzelak analyses the latest law on the CT of 22 July 2016, and argues that the parliamentary democracy in Poland is under threat – while the rules of the procedure are still applied, in practice the rights of the opposition are being more and more limited.

 

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Research Note 8/2016:

 

Title

Partners in advocacy for financial reforms: After the financial crisis, MEPs and civil society groups countered financial lobby efforts to stymie re-regulation

 

Author

Lisa Kastner

 

Abstract

Financial reforms in response to the 2008 crisis were subject to intense lobbying. Many believe that financial industry groups entirely ‘captured’ this regulatory process and tilted legislation towards their preferences. Drawing on her winning thesis at the 2016 PADEMIA Research Awards, Lisa Kastner shows that in the aftermath of the crisis, when the public paid attention to the financial reforms, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) worked closely together with civil society groups to bring about reforms despite the opposition of the financial industry.

 

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Research Note 7/2016:

 

Title

Why national parliaments in the EU should be empowered

 

Author

Sandra Kröger

 

Abstract

As the decision to ‘take back control from the European Union’ – one of the key messages of the Leave campaign in the United Kingdom Referendum – vividly illustrated, there is a tension between European integration and national self-rule. Drawing on her winning article at the 2016 PADEMIA Research Awards, Sandra Kröger argues that national parliaments can play an important role in addressing this tension. Specifically, she recommends the introduction of a ‘Parliamentary Legislative Initiative’, where members of national parliaments from across member states can initiate a legislative proposal at the European Union level.

 

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Research Note 6/2016:

 

Title

Selective scrutiny: Eurosceptic opposition parties tend to emphasize general matters in their pariamentary questions about the EU

 

Author

Roman Senninger

 

Abstract

Scrutiny activities from domestic opposition parties in European Union (EU) affairs crucially contribute to the functioning of democratic accountability in the EU. While we know a lot about the extent of these activities, we know relatively little about their content. Roman Senninger studies the policy issues addressed in parliamentary questions about the EU in the Danish Folketing and shows that (1) the content of questions has been broadened over time and that (2) Eurosceptics strongly emphasize general EU matters.

 

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Research Note 5/2016:

 

Title

Democratic Deaf-icit? Looking at newspapers in Finland, Germany and the UK, it seems that citizens have very different chances to learn what their European representatives are up to

 

Author

Olga Eisele

 

Abstract

What do citizens get to hear about the European Parliament (EP)? Since Brussels and Strasbourg are far away, most people follow the EP through the media. PADEMIA member Olga Eisele looks at newspapers to assess whether and how the European Union’s only directly elected institution is portrayed in the media. She finds large differences in EP coverage between countries. In addition, especially in the United Kingdom, the national parliament completely steals the EP’s show.

 

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Research Note 4/2016:

 

Title

The House of Commons, EU affairs and the media: a lot of press, but rather biased coverage

 

Author

Katrin Auel

 

Abstract

British discourses on democracy in the EU often emphasise the importance of the House of Commons when it comes to legitimising EU politics. Yet any added value by Parliament in terms of democratic legitimacy in EU politics depends crucially on the public’s awareness of its engagement in EU affairs. Parliamentary activities that no one takes note of contribute little to democratic legitimacy. Against this background, PADEMIA member Katrin Auel investigates how the British press cover the House of Commons in EU affairs and shows that while the press pay comparatively much attention to Parliament, they also paint a very biased picture of EU affairs in the Commons.

 

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Research Note 3/2016:

 

Title

National MPs speak for citizens in other EU countries, too – more in Germany, less in the UK

 

Author

Lucy Kinski

 

Abstract

It seems straightforward to assume that national members of parliament (MPs) represent national concerns, when dealing with European Union (EU) affairs. Based on a study of 2,099 parliamentary claims by MPs from Austria, Germany, Ireland and the UK during treaty negotiations and the Eurozone crisis, PADEMIA member Lucy Kinski writes that MPs do in fact also represent citizens from other EU member states. She finds a quite remarkable degree of European representation in national parliamentary debate. Among the four member-states, German MPs focus most on other EU citizens, while their British colleagues do so least. She argues that, by Europeanising their representation, national MPs can contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe.

 

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Research Note 2/2016:

 

Title

Speaking for Britain? MPs broadly reflect the views of their supporters on Europe – but one side should worry a little more than the other

 

Authors

Tim Bale, Sofia Vasilopoulou, Phil Cowley and Anand Menon

 

Abstract

Do MPs’ views on Europe reflect those of their voters? PADEMIA member Sofia Vasilopoulou with her colleagues Tim Bale, Philip Cowley and Anand Menon asked both groups the same questions about the EU, and found some notable differences on the issues of freedom of movement and migrant benefits. In particular, Labour voters are significantly more Eurosceptic than the MPs they elect.

 

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Research Note 1/2016:

 

Title

Safety first: MPs in safe seats are more likely to become ministers in the UK

 

Authors

Elad Klein and Resul Umit

 

Abstract

Members of parliament (MPs) have multiple goals but limited resources. Where MPs make up the vast majority of ministerial positions as in the United Kingdom (UK), they have to confront the trade-off between their goals of vote-seeking (i.e. staying as an MP) and office-seeking (i.e. working as a minister). PADEMIA members Elad Klein and Resul Umit examine the relationship between the size of MPs’ majority and likelihood that they will hold ministerial office, finding a strong correlation. This suggests that there is a hierarchy between the legislative goals and hence that voters can affect the allocation of ministerial positions in the UK.

 

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