ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Debating the treaties – domestic parliamentary debates on European Union treaties in a comparative perspective

Open Panel

Abstract

This paper analyses positions of government and opposition in national parliamentary debates on EU treaties. In an international comparison, I analyse the strategic communicative behaviour of governments, in interaction with parliaments. Governments strategically seek ratification of a treaty, but are in need of the support of parliament for this. Parliaments want to control whether their government acted according to its mandate. In parliamentary debates, it is argued in this paper, these roles are expressed in the use specific frames. Empirically, the paper takes a comparative approach, making use of parliamentary records. The cases included are the ratification debates on the Amsterdam Treaty (1996/1997), the Nice Treaty (2001) and the Constitutional Treaty (2004/2005) in the Netherlands and Denmark. These countries are highly similar in many respects, but different in their appreciation of European integration and as such form an interesting context for the comparison of political debates on this topic. In order to analyse the use of frames by political actors, I use a computer-assisted content analysis. Results demonstrate that some cross-national similarities in the content of the frames can be identified and different frames are indeed used by government and opposition in debating the treaties. Results are promising enough for further efforts in adding extra data and performing more refined analyses.