The Bundestag: Institutional Incrementalism and Behavioural Reticence

Thomas Saalfeld

in Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262955
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734465 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Bundestag: Institutional Incrementalism and Behavioural Reticence

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores the evidence of a mismatch between the perceived importance of democratic, representative EU politics at the German élite level and institutional design as well as political behaviour. It investigates the extent to which there has been a gradual process of Europeanization of representation at the institutional and behavioural levels. It examines how this adaptation has been mediated by institutional structures and traditions and why institutional adaptation to the growing quantity and qualitative importance of EU law has been so slow. It asks why German political behaviour in the process of democratic representation has been affected so little by European integration. The emphasis is less on the peculiarities of the EU as a political body than on the way elected politicians respond strategically to these structural constraints.

Keywords: EU politics; German political behaviour; institutional design; Europeanization; European integration; democratic representation

Chapter.  9559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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