RECON Online Working Paper 2010/18

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Between an Intergovernmental and a Polycentric European Union

National Parliamentary Discourses on Democracy in the EU Ratification Process



Aleksandra Maatsch (University of Bremen)



The paper analyses national parliamentary plenary debates on the Constitutional and the Lisbon Treaty in the six European states; Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The comparative qualitative and quantitative discourse analysis of the plenary debates presents the patterns of support and rejection of the Treaties in the analysed states. The findings of the paper confirm the existing thesis that the left-right and TAN-GAL dimensions explain support for the Treaties. However, the paper also demonstrates that in this case the opposition moved towards the political centre represented by the mainstream conservative and Christian-democratic parties that until now counted among supporters of the European integration. The second factor identified in this paper as accounting for support or rejection of the Treaties was membership in the government: governing parties, also the conservative ones, were more likely to overcome internal opposition in order to ratify the Treaty. Regarding democracy models, the proponents of the Treaties were in favour of the polycentric European Union, whilst the opponents favoured the intergovernmental model. The federal model of the European Union was present in the parliamentary debates, however, it received only negative evaluations. The cosmopolitan model was entirely absent in the discussions. .




Constitution for Europe  Democracy Lisbon Treaty  National Parliaments

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