This paper analyses how voting behaviour in the European Parliament has changed after
the enlargement of the EU to 10 new member states in 2004.
Using roll-call votes from the
first eighteen months of the sixth European Parliament (between July 2004 and December
2005), the authors compare the voting behaviour of MEPs in this parliament with their behaviour in
the previous Parliament (between 1999 and 2004). They focus on party cohesion, coalition
formation between parties, and ‘spatial maps’ of Members of the European Parliament
(MEPs). They find stable levels of party cohesion. Coalitions in the European Parliament form
mainly around the left-right dimension and ideological distance between parties is the
strongest predictor of coalition preferences. Overall they find that EU enlargement has not
changed the way politics works inside the European Parliament. The only major exception is
in the behaviour of the Liberals, who vote more with the EPP-ED and less with the Socialists
than they did in the previous Parliament.