RECON Online Working Paper 2009/09

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Designing Politicization

How Control Mechanisms in National Parliaments Affect Parliamentary Debates in EU Policy-Formulation


Pieter de Wilde (ARENA, University of Oslo)



This paper asks how ex ante and ex post control mechanisms structuring the involvement of national parliaments in EU policy-formulation affect the size and scope of conflict of parliamentary debates. The direct and indirect effects of control mechanisms are assessed in a comparative case study on plenary parliamentary debates in the Danish Folketing and Dutch Tweede Kamer on the EU multiannual budgets Delors II, Agenda 2000 and Financial Perspectives 2007-2013. It finds that control mechanisms have direct effects on the size of parliamentary debate and indirectly on the scope of conflict. As control mechanisms structure the timing of debates, different interactions with the policy-formulation process and media coverage are created leading to different scopes of conflict. It finds that ex ante mechanisms trigger smaller, more partisan debates at an early stage of the policy-formulation process, whereas ex post mechanisms stimulate larger, later and intergovern-mental debates. If, from a normative democratic point of view, we value large, partisan debates, these findings present a problem as there appears to be a trade-off between high quantity on the one hand, and partisan conflict on the other hand.


Budget Denmark Democracy National Parliaments Netherlands

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