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Dimensions of Political Contestation: Voting in the Council of the European Union before the 2004 Enlargement


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  • Madeleine O. Hosli

    (Leiden University, Institute of Political Science, Leiden, the Netherlands)

  • M. C. J. Uriot

    (Leiden University, Institute of Political Science, Leiden, the Netherlands)

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    Studies of voting patterns in the Council of the European Union (EU) have increased since voting records in this institution have become more readily available. This paper builds on earlier work and explores coalition-formation and voting in the Council of the EU for the EU-15 (i.e., between 1995 and 2004), by analyzing cleavage patterns based on voting records for this institution. Focusing on the pre-enlargement phase, the paper provides new insights into earlier member state voting behavior in the Council on the basis of a range of independent variables, including governments’ absolute and relative positions on the left-right policy dimension, pro-integration sentiments among domestic publics, governments’ positions as either net beneficiaries or net payers into the EU budget and finally, number of votes in the Council. In methodological terms, we treat vote decisions as panel data and report adjusted standard errors for country-based clusters, using ordered probit regression to explain the prope nsity of EU member states to vote ‘yes’, abstain from voting, or vote ‘no’ in the Council. The ordered probit analysis used to explore the potential relevance of these dimensions provides insights that at times confirm, but also partially contradict, earlier findings on this topic. We notably find strong evidence for a North-South cleavage pre-enlargement, a significant role for the Presidency and moderate evidence for the relevance of public opinion and government left-right positioning in Council voting behavior.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its journal AUCO Czech Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (November)
    Pages: 231-248

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    Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2011_231

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    Keywords: European integration; Council of the European Union; contested votes; coalitionformation; policy dimensions;

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Simon Hix & Gérard Roland, 2007. "Democratic politics in the European Parliament," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7744, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Axel Moberg, 2002. "The Nice Treaty and Voting Rules in the Council," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 259-282, 06.
    3. Adriaan Schout & Sophie Vanhoonacker, 2006. "Evaluating Presidencies of the Council of the EU: Revisiting Nice," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 1051-1077, December.
    4. Madeleine O. Hosli & Mikko Mattila & Marc Uriot, 2011. "Voting in the Council of the European Union after the 2004 Enlargement: A Comparison of Old and New Member States," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(6), pages 1249-1270, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Madeleine O. Hosli, 2012. "Negotiating the European Constitution: Government Preferences for Council Decision Rules," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 177-198, October.


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