Book

People and Parliament in the European Union

Jean Blondel, Richard Sinnott and Palle Svensson

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780198293088
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598814 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198293089.001.0001

Series: Beliefs in Government

People and Parliament in the European Union

Show Summary Details

Preview

This book sets out to analyse the relationship between people and parliament in the European Union and the problem of participation in European Parliament elections. It begins by examining the concepts of democracy and legitimacy as applied to the supranational level of governance, by briefly reviewing approaches to the study of turnout, including the approach embodied in the second‐order‐election model, and by describing the main features of the survey (Eurobarometer 41.1, (1994)) on which the study is based. The book summarizes the trends in turnout in European Parliament elections and makes a key distinction between circumstantial and voluntary abstention. This is followed by a series of chapters dealing with attitudes to European integration, the European Parliament, and European elections, each chapter concluding with a bivariate analysis of the relationship between such attitudes and participation/abstention in European Parliament elections. The trends in attitudes and in turnout are also considered on a country‐by‐country basis. The book then presents a multivariate analysis of various types of abstention and concludes that some, but not all, of the contextual variables usually thought to affect abstention do have a substantial impact; that the individual characteristic with the most consistent effect on abstention is age, social class and educational effects being modest; that, contrary to the findings of previous research, attitudes to the European Union do have significant effects on abstention; that the second‐order explanation of abstention in European Parliament elections is not supported by the evidence; and that active exposure to the campaign significantly reduces voluntary Euro‐specific abstention. Interpretation of the implications of these findings focuses on the distinction between the facilitation and the mobilization of electoral participation. In terms of facilitating participation in European Parliament elections, the book concludes that turnout could be increased by addressing the problem of the day of the week on which voting takes place, the problems of registration and use of voting cards that arise in certain countries, and problems arising from the timing of the elections in mid‐June. In terms of mobilizing participation in European elections, the book concludes that, rather than relying on the kind of transformational institutional change that would see European Parliament elections providing a mandate to govern Europe, what is needed is a series of piecemeal and specific approaches. Effective mobilization of voters in European Parliament elections will require painstaking efforts to inform European citizens and persuade them of the value of the process of European governance, and of the significance of the European‐level issues involved. Voter mobilization is enhanced by active exposure to the campaign but it will also require a strengthening of the image of the Parliament in the minds of the citizens and, through higher‐profile activity by MEPs during inter‐election periods, an improvement in people's perceptions of the capacity of the Parliament to look after the interests of the citizens.

Keywords: democracy; election; Eurobarometer; European Parliament; European Union; legitimacy; MEP; mobilization; political party; turnout

Book.  304 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »


Table of Contents

Legitimacy and Participation in People and Parliament in the European Union

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Interest, Knowledge, and Participation in People and Parliament in the European Union

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns in People and Parliament in the European Union

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Turnout in Context: A Comparison of Member States in People and Parliament in the European Union

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Sources of Participation and Abstention in People and Parliament in the European Union

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.