Coalitions in EU negotiations
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Scandinavian Political Studies
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Coalitions will probably become an increasingly important theme in European Union (EU) politics. The spread of decision making by majority voting promotes coalition-building behaviour. The impending enlargement is predicted to differentiate and polarize policy standpoints within the EU. Increasing levels of policy conflict imply increased propensities for coalition building. Still, the role and nature of coalitions in EU negotiations are obscure. This article raises important research questions: What characterizes coalition building in the EU? How important are coalitions? What coalition patterns are discernible?Using data from a questionnaire to Swedish participants on EU committees, it is shown that coalitions are more frequent when majority voting occurs than when unanimity rules. Coalition behaviour is, however, important also under unanimity. The existence of consensus norms diminishes the propensity to form coalitions. As regards coalition patterns, there is a prevalence of coalitions based on policy interests and/or on cultural affinity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, consistent and durable coalition patterns seem to exist. The north–south divide is one such persistent pattern. The Swedish respondents thus reveal a close cooperation between the Nordic member states and Great Britain, whereas France and Spain are seldom approached for coalition-building purposes. As to future research, evidence from other member states and from case studies is needed in order to learn more about the bases for coalition building in EU negotiations.
- Political Science
- Politik i Europa
- ISSN: 1467-9477