Political Agency of the European Parliament in International Risk Governance: Partisan Actor, Gatekeeper or Democratic Safeguard?

Friday, July 14, 2017
Court/Senate (University of Glasgow)
Frank Wendler , Department of Political Science, University of Washington
The involvement of the European Parliament (EP) in the international regulation of risk has received an increasing amount of attention in recent research. However, we know little about how the parliamentary dimension matters politically: what dimensions of political conflict are activated through the involvement of parliamentary actors at the supranational level. From this point of departure, the paper investigates the political agency of the EP in two key fields of risk governance, namely climate change policy and data protection regimes. The theoretical part develops the case for assuming three possible forms of involvement: the advocacy of positions within the dimension of left/right politics, agency as a gatekeeper of sovereignty rights, and involvement as a normative safeguard of citizen rights and democratic procedure. The puzzle addressed in the paper is how internal disagreement between competing party groups within the EP can be related to its external agency in interaction with other policy-making actors. Empirically, the paper presents original data gained from the computer-based coding of position papers and policy-making documents, to be evaluated through qualitative case studies and statistical evaluation of position data. In context, the paper seeks to make an innovative contribution to research on the parliamentary dimension of international governance and by exploring a new source of empirical data in EP research.
  • CES 2017 Paper F Wendler.pdf (180.2 kB)