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Deliberate delegation or abdication? Government backbenchers, ministers and European Union legislation

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This paper analyses how key structural characteristics of the relationship between ministers and government backbenchers influence the extent to which national parliaments of European Union Member States are able to scrutinise and influence EU law-making. Two theoretical perspectives – a ‘parliamentary abdication' and a ‘delegation' perspective – will be used to test contrasting hypotheses. The empirical evidence presented is not unequivocal, but more in line with the ‘delegation' than the ‘abdication perspective': The extent to which national parliaments have institutional opportunities to scrutinise and influence the national government's position in EU affairs can indeed be shown to co-vary (a) with key structural characteristics of the relationship between government backbenchers and ministers and (b) with the electoral saliency of EU affairs in the respective country.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Kent

Publication date: October 1, 2005


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