The Eurozone crisis and the European Parliament's changing lines of conflict

Simon Otjes, Harmen van der Veer

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There is a broad consensus that the left-right dimension has been the dominant line of conflict in the European Parliament since 1979. A pro-/anti-EU dimension is found to be of secondary importance, which is attributed to the fact that decision-making over the competences of the European Union is the realm of intergovernmental negotiations. In this article, we show that the seventh EP witnessed a transformational moment in the history of the EU. The Eurozone crisis amplified the importance of the pro-/anti-EU dimension and increasingly shapes the voting behaviour of Members of the EP. This change is particularly pronounced for voting on economic issues. To demonstrate this transformation, we employ a novel deductive method that allows us to predict the relative importance of two dimensions structuring MEP voting behaviour. Our results contradict established wisdom about the strength of the left-right divide in EP politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-261
JournalEuropean Union Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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