After the Eastward Enlargement: The institutionalization of the Europarties and the EU party system
Title: After the Eastward Enlargement: The institutionalization of the Europarties and the EU party system
Author: BRESSANELLI, Edoardo
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
In the long debate about the EU constitutional and institutional reform which accompanied the Central and Eastern enlargement of the Union, political parties at the European level – in brief: Europarties – have rarely featured. This research, acknowledging the growing role played by political parties in the EU polity and their importance for its legitimization, addresses the following question: what impact has the mega-enlargement of the Union had upon the process of institutionalization of the Europarties and the EU party system? Theoretically, this work draws from the literature on party and party system institutionalization in the developing polities, and makes these concepts 'travel' to the European Union. More specifically, it identifies two main dimensions in the concept of party institutionalization: a 'structural' dimension, referring to party organizational consolidation, and a 'value' dimension, capturing the party value-system and ideology. By treating enlargement as an 'external shock', and relying on the literatures on partisan formation and development, three main propositions are then advanced. In sum, enlargement is expected to have a positive effect on the party structural dimension, but a more negative impact on the value dimension of institutionalization and on the competitiveness of the EU party system. Empirically, the validity of the above propositions is assessed by combining qualitative and quantitative research strategies. On the one hand, the impact of enlargement upon the Europarty organizations is evaluated through an analysis of their 'official stories' and by interviewing Europarty elites and administrators. On the other, its impact on the value dimension is tested by using descriptive and inferential techniques on different data: attitudinal and textual data (Euromanifestos and EU Profiler data) are combined with behavioural data (roll-call votes).
Defence date: 15 March 2012; Examining Board: Luciano Bardi, Adrienne Heritier, Richard Rose, Alexander H. Trechsel (replacing Peter Mair, supervisor until summer 2011); On 14 June 2013 awarded the Linz Rokkan Prize prize.
Final published version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/32940
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