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Who or what do Members of the European Parliament (MEP) represent? Explaining the variation in foci of representation amongst MEPs in their legislative behaviour.

It is often argued that the European Union (EU) suffers from a 'democratic deficit' and that its representative democracy is not functioning well. Generally, it is expected that the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) should represent the 'citizens' voice in the EU' (see European Parliament's website). Yet, we know little about the representative behaviour of MEPs. Who or what do MEPs actually represent? And how can we explain differences in their so-called 'foci of representation'? Is this just a matter of differences between MEPs or can an MEP represent someone or something different in different contexts? These are the questions guiding this research project. Empirically, we focus on one of the key tasks of MEPs: to legislate. More specifically, the amendments MEPs introduce to legislation proposed by the European Commission (EC) will be analysed. The project will look into whether the amendments refer to, for example, a specific business or industry, to a more general interest like global warming, or to the MEPs member state or local constituency. The innovative contribution is that we start from the assumption that MEPs do not express just one of these foci, but that they can combine multiple foci in one amendment and shift between foci according to policy issue or moment in the electoral cycle. Theoretically, the aim is to explain variation in the focus of representation using a model that integrates EU-level, individual level and country level factors.
Date:1 Jan 2017  →  31 Dec 2020
Disciplines:Other economics and business, Citizenship, immigration and political inequality, International and compartive politics, Multilevel governance, National politics, Political behaviour, Political organisations and institutions, Political theory and methodology, Public administration, Other political science