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The dimensionality and nature of conflict in European Union politics: On the characteristics of intergovernmental decision-making


  • Tim Veen

    (University of Mannheim, Germany,


This article analyses the dimensionality and nature of political conflict in the European Union Council of Ministers between 1998 and 2007. By comparing policy platforms of member state governments, multidimensional scaling techniques are employed to make inferences about the dimensionality of the Council’s political space. The dimensions are interpreted performing 1250 multiple regression analyses. The results largely corroborate the assumption that cleavages are structured along geographically defined clusters of states. After Eastern enlargement (2004), a North—South divide was replaced by an East—West cleavage. The analysis moreover suggests that there are two stable conflict dimensions within the Council’s political space. The first is an integration dimension that represents the support for deepening European Union integration and the transfer of sovereignty to a supranational level. The second is a ‘policy’ dimension, manifested predominantly in disputes over redistributive policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Veen, 2011. "The dimensionality and nature of conflict in European Union politics: On the characteristics of intergovernmental decision-making," European Union Politics, , vol. 12(1), pages 65-86, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:12:y:2011:i:1:p:65-86

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    Cited by:

    1. Christina J. Schneider & Johannes Urpelainen, 2014. "Partisan Heterogeneity and International Cooperation," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 58(1), pages 120-142, February.
    2. Kira Killermann, 2016. "Loose Ties or Strong Bonds? The Effect of a Commissioner's Nationality and Partisanship on Voting in the Council," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(6), pages 1367-1383, November.
    3. Stefanie Bailer & Mikko Mattila & Gerald Schneider, 2015. "Money Makes the EU Go Round: The Objective Foundations of Conflict in the Council of Ministers," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 437-456, May.


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