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After Enlargement: Voting Behaviour in the Sixth European Parliament

Abstract

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.

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