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Holding governments accountable in European affairs: Explaining cross-national variation*

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What factors explain cross-national variation in the level of parliamentary scrutiny of governments in European affairs? Using the fuzzy-set method developed by Charles C. Ragin, this article investigates the impact of five variables – the power of parliament independent of integration, public opinion on membership, party positions on integration, frequency of minority governments and political culture – identified in previous literature as relevant in explaining variation in the level of control. The strength of the parliament emerges as the only necessary cause in producing tighter scrutiny, while the combination of a powerful legislature and a more Euro-sceptical public opinion is sufficient in bringing about higher levels of control over the government. The final section summarises the main findings and concludes with a critical discussion on both the data and the validity of cross-national explanations, particularly in light of the recent enlargement of the Union.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Turku, Finland

Publication date: 01 October 2005

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