The dimensionality and nature of conflict in European Union politics: On the characteristics of intergovernmental decision-making
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 Councilâ€™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 Northâ€”South divide was replaced by an Eastâ€”West cleavage. The analysis moreover suggests that there are two stable conflict dimensions within the Councilâ€™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 â€˜policyâ€™ dimension, manifested predominantly in disputes over redistributive policies.
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