IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Bicameral Politics in the European Union


  • Bjorn Hoyland
  • Sara Hagemann


Quantitative research in the field of European Union (EU) politics has focused on the internal dynamics of either the Council of Ministers (the Council) or the European Parliament (the Parliament). Theoretical accounts of bicameralism in the EU have understood the Parliament as a unitary actor. As a result, little attention has been paid to the effect of different majority requirements in the Parliament on its institutional powers vis-à-vis the Council. This paper contributes to the empirical knowledge in the field by investigating bicameral political dynamics based on a combined data set covering legislators’ behavior in both the Council and the Parliament. Theoretically, the analysis supplements the standard understanding of the formal relationship between the EU institutions. It shows that the Council has the upper hand in bicameral negotiations as it is harder for the Parliament to amend or reject the common position of the Council than it is to accept it. When disagreement is recorded in the Council, the institutional imbalance increases as the polarization along the left-right axis in the Parliament is strengthened. This challenges the unity of the Parliament against the Council’s common position, making it less likely that the center-left and center-right can form sufficiently large coalitions for effectively defending the Parliament’s position vis-à-vis the Council.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjorn Hoyland & Sara Hagemann, 2007. "Bicameral Politics in the European Union," ARENA Working Papers 9, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0230

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    knowledge; Council of Ministers; European Parliament; political science; political culture; power analysis;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0230. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sindre Eikrem Hervig). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.