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Sceptic or opponents? Patterns of Conflict in the EP during two Crises

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Abstract:

Embedded in the complex context of both the economic and the immigration crises, last European election results represent a signal of change in European Union politics, contributing to increase the power of parties showing skeptical, more or less radical views of the European Union. They contest its policies, its elite, its institutions, and, in the most extreme cases, they demand the exit from its political community. This work studies this phenomenon with the main aim to answer to the following central question: Which opposition are national parties exercising in the European Parliament in fields related to the immigration and the economic crises?
Traditionally, the literature has addressed these expressions using the concept of Euroscepticism. Becoming “viral” it spilled over the academic sphere to the political environment and the broader public. Nevertheless, this spill over is not free from problems. The operationalization of Euroscepticism is still difficult and vague, leading to an excessive normative view of the phenomenon and a potential stretching of the concept.
Changing the perspective and moving away from Euroscepticism, this paper proposes a different conceptualization of the phenomenon through the use of a concept already existing in the literature: opposition.
It proposes to study these tensions as translated inside of the European Parliament, trying to understand which are the main boosters behind their development. It considers the institutional constrains national parties have to face in the EP together with inter-institutional arrangements of the EU, the ideological dimension of competition and contextual factors. The two current crises shaking the EU scenario (the economic and the immigration one) are here observed as contexts where potential asymmetries among countries can originate, contributing to change both the structure and the political system of the EU.
Starting from a broader definition of opposition, this work uses as data source speeches delivered by MEPs representing national parties in the plenary sessions of the EP (within the former and the current legislatures), specifically regarding issues related to the handling of the immigration and the economic crises. There are two main advantages related to the use of such data: first avoiding selection biases like the one introduced by the use of Roll Call Votes (RCVs). Second, providing a nuanced and more complete picture of the notion of opposition in the EU. The main aim of this work is in fact to study both the targets and the modes of opposition, through the application of both quantitative (using words as data) and qualitative techniques.
This works develops a “dynamic” evaluation of opposition taking into consideration not only parties generally addressed as “anti-EU” but also the so-called mainstream parties. Through this evaluation it will be possible to build a bridge between two branches of the existing literature, the one dealing with the concept of “party-based Euroscepticism” and the on focusing on position taking of parties in the EP (this latter mainly using RCVs). This work gives the possibility to increase the knowledge of both the European Parliament, its internal functioning and the phenomenon of parties’ contestation to the EU, opening new avenues for further research.
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Name: American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
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MLA Citation:

Carlotti, Benedetta. "Sceptic or opponents? Patterns of Conflict in the EP during two Crises" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Philadelphia, PA, Sep 01, 2016 <Not Available>. 2017-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1125901_index.html>

APA Citation:

Carlotti, B. , 2016-09-01 "Sceptic or opponents? Patterns of Conflict in the EP during two Crises" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, TBA, Philadelphia, PA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2017-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1125901_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Embedded in the complex context of both the economic and the immigration crises, last European election results represent a signal of change in European Union politics, contributing to increase the power of parties showing skeptical, more or less radical views of the European Union. They contest its policies, its elite, its institutions, and, in the most extreme cases, they demand the exit from its political community. This work studies this phenomenon with the main aim to answer to the following central question: Which opposition are national parties exercising in the European Parliament in fields related to the immigration and the economic crises?
Traditionally, the literature has addressed these expressions using the concept of Euroscepticism. Becoming “viral” it spilled over the academic sphere to the political environment and the broader public. Nevertheless, this spill over is not free from problems. The operationalization of Euroscepticism is still difficult and vague, leading to an excessive normative view of the phenomenon and a potential stretching of the concept.
Changing the perspective and moving away from Euroscepticism, this paper proposes a different conceptualization of the phenomenon through the use of a concept already existing in the literature: opposition.
It proposes to study these tensions as translated inside of the European Parliament, trying to understand which are the main boosters behind their development. It considers the institutional constrains national parties have to face in the EP together with inter-institutional arrangements of the EU, the ideological dimension of competition and contextual factors. The two current crises shaking the EU scenario (the economic and the immigration one) are here observed as contexts where potential asymmetries among countries can originate, contributing to change both the structure and the political system of the EU.
Starting from a broader definition of opposition, this work uses as data source speeches delivered by MEPs representing national parties in the plenary sessions of the EP (within the former and the current legislatures), specifically regarding issues related to the handling of the immigration and the economic crises. There are two main advantages related to the use of such data: first avoiding selection biases like the one introduced by the use of Roll Call Votes (RCVs). Second, providing a nuanced and more complete picture of the notion of opposition in the EU. The main aim of this work is in fact to study both the targets and the modes of opposition, through the application of both quantitative (using words as data) and qualitative techniques.
This works develops a “dynamic” evaluation of opposition taking into consideration not only parties generally addressed as “anti-EU” but also the so-called mainstream parties. Through this evaluation it will be possible to build a bridge between two branches of the existing literature, the one dealing with the concept of “party-based Euroscepticism” and the on focusing on position taking of parties in the EP (this latter mainly using RCVs). This work gives the possibility to increase the knowledge of both the European Parliament, its internal functioning and the phenomenon of parties’ contestation to the EU, opening new avenues for further research.


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