Voting Unity Between Ministers and Members of the European Parliament

Within European nation states, parties are the main actors in determining decision-making. Legislators almost always vote along partisan lines. Party-internal voting unity is essential for signaling a clear position to voters and effectively shaping decision-making (Carey 2007). This does not only apply within individual legislative chambers: in bicameral political systems, parties also establish voting unity across chambers. In so doing, parties provide an important linkage mechanism between different institutions in national bicameral legislatures (Tsebelis and Money 1997). However, it still needs to be confirmed whether this holds true for the EU. To what extent do representatives of the same national party vote the same way in the Council and the EP? Do party control mechanisms and institutional constraints (described in the last two chapters) influence whether ministers and MEPs vote united or not? These questions shall be addressed within this chapter. First, using descriptive statistics, the dependent variable “Voting Unity” will be analyzed in detail. Building on these descriptive findings, the effects of the different party-related and institutional factors on the probability of voting unity will be tested with logistic regression models.

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