Party behaviour in the European Parliament

Anne Hald Petersen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The aim of the project is to establish the effect of the procedure of co-decision to the behaviour of and relationship between the political groups of the Parliament and furthermore discuss the effect to the inter-institutional operating of the Parliament within the process of decision-making with the Council and Commission. The effect is established by the application of the theory of rational choice institutionalism where after the main theoretical interpretations are discussed to the empirical research of the intra-institutional process of decision-making in the Parliament. A main theoretical interpretation is that the formal structures of the procedure of co-decision favour the larger political parties due to the ability of the parties to influence the institutional structure of the procedure. It is however found that the procedure in reality does not favour the larger political parties as much as expected. The tradition of balancing the distribution of rights and powers according to the size of the parties and the further construction of the Conciliation committee system to ensure that the delegation of chairs of committees can not be made used of to ensure more inter-institutional influence reflect this. Yet, the procedure is interpreted to affect the behaviour of the political groups as to enhance cooperating instead of competition. The Parliament has fought hard for its current legislative status and it is interpreted that it is not viable that the political parties will act as to jeopardize the legislative status. However, when focusing on the formal rules of voting, the procedure of co-decision does not affect the political parties differently. The empirical research supports the later interpretation of the effect of the procedure to the behaviour of and relationship between the political parties. However, the overall pattern is that to understand the political behaviour one needs to include several parameters and not only the formal and informal inter- and intra-institutional practises within the procedure of co-decision. Such parameters are for instance the public opinion, ideological similarity and technical reasons.

UddannelserEU-studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato15 jun. 2009


  • European Parliament, rational-choice, EU