The recent empowerment of the European Parliament makes this a timely study of the impact of its internal organisation on legislative politics, interest representation and democracy within the Union.
Using data on all legislators and legislative proposals in the sixth parliamentary term, the book confronts alternative theories of legislative organisation in rigorous statistical analyses supported by rich interview information. The findings indicate that the internal setup and legislative output of the parliamentary committees serve the policy goals of parties in the European Parliament, and in particular the working majority party, rather than special interests or purely informational needs, which the author explains with the formal and informal parliamentary rules. As the committees advance party politics instead of particularistic policies, she concludes that legislating within the committees is positive for democracy in the European Union and raises concerns about the loss in transparency, legitimacy and accountability that the increasingly common fast-track bicameral decision-making outside the committees entails.
'The steadily increasing significance and status of the European Parliament has been matched by the growing interest of scholars in understanding its internal organisational and power dynamics. In this timely study, Yordanova draws on US Congressional theories of legislative organisation to provide important new insights into how legislative politics operates in the European Union. In a systematic and thorough review of a large range of evidence she shows that, while there is some scope for MEP specialisation, ultimately the European Parliament’s legislative process is heavily conditioned by partisan interests.'
Head of School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin
'The best book yet written on committees in the European Parliament. A must-read for all serious scholars and students of EU politics.'
Professor of European and Comparative Politics and Fellow of the British Academy, Head of Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science
'Organising the European Parliament marks a substantial contribution not only to the literature on parliaments in general and the European Parliament in particular, but also to our understanding of the democratic deficit in Europe and how it might be tackled.'
Professor of Comparative Politics, European University Institute