Election Pledges By Euro-Parties: Linking the Priorities of the European Parliament and the European Commission?

Friday, July 14, 2017
Court/Senate (University of Glasgow)
Petia Kostadinova , Political Science, University of Illinois, Chicago
This paper analyzes the extent to which election pledges issued during the 2004 and 2009 elections by four of the transnational parties that formed the largest EP political groups were reflected in European Commission pre-legislative initiatives, by the end of the respective electoral cycle. We start with summarizing the reasons, based on the literature on inter-institutional interactions within the EU, why we expect that the European Commission would consider the election pledges of the transnational parties during the pre-legislative phase of policy-making. We proceed with discussing why pledges made by some Euro-parties during this period would be more likely to be included in Commission pre-proposals than others, concluding the section with a list of hypotheses. The research design section describes the original dataset and related variables developed for this analysis, which utilizes logistic regression analysis. Our expectations that a significant portion of election promises by transnational parties are reflected in Commission pre-proposals speak directly to concerns about the democratic legitimacy of the EU’s unelected institutions. Further, the indications of a growing ‘competition’ between the political groups of the two largest transnational parties point to the emergence of another mechanism to address issues of democratic ‘deficit’ in the EU. Additionally, the paper relates to the literature on the ever-changing inter-institutional relations among EU institutions, especially the role of the European Commission as the ‘driver’ of policy change. Indirectly, the research presented here also has relevance to studies of the success of Commission proposals once they have entered the legislative phase.