The rise of Euroscepticism and vote contestation in the European Parliament
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Eurosceptic parties have been rising in both national and European elections. This has given a rise to an interesting research agenda that analyzes the role of Eurosceptic actors and the polarization of opinions in the European Union. Although the existing literature has extensively discussed the sources of Euroscepticism, very few studies have discussed its consequences for the EU. This thesis will fill this gap and analyze the consequences of Euroscepticism for the EU institutions, especially the European Parliament. The rise of Eurosceptics and its effects on the extent of vote contestation on legislative proposals in the EP will be examined. Based on the theory of politicization, the thesis will test the hypothesis that the higher the share of Eurosceptics in the European Parliament, the more contested are legislative votes in the EP. Moreover, this research will also identify how the relationship between the rise of Euroscepticism and vote contestation in the EP varies depending on the policy area. To identify the relationship between the share of Eurosceptics and vote contestation in the EP, the 2009-2014 and 2014-2019 compositions of the EP will be compared. The research will determine the extent of vote contestation by looking at two aspects. First, it will analyze the overall voting results for each legislative proposal voted under the Ordinary Legislative Procedure for term 7 (2009-2014) and 8 (2014-2019) of the European Parliament. Second, it will examine the voting results on legislative proposals based on votes of political groups in the EP for both terms 7 and 8. Based on the comparison of both terms the research will show whether the rise of Eurosceptics in term 8 has led to increased vote contestation in the European Parliament. The results show that there is a positive correlation between the share of Eurosceptics and the extent of vote contestation in the EP. The research concludes that when the number of Eurosceptic MEPs increases, an increase in vote contestation is observed in the EP. Increased contestation can result in frictions between two institutions of the EU – the European Commission and the EP - and delay lawmaking and integration process.
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