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ECPR Virtual Methods School 2020

Party Competition in the EU (2004-2014): Conflict and Collusion Between Political Parties at the European Level

Comparative Politics
European Union
Political Competition
Political Parties
Wojciech Gagatek
University of Warsaw
Wojciech Gagatek
University of Warsaw

The commonplace argument that EU institutional environment is not conducive to classical party competition, although to some extent justified, diverts our attention from the fact that the Euro-parties do compete at other levels by adapting the meaning of political competition to the conditions of EU politics. Building on data gathered through in-depth interviews, official party documents and personal observations of party proceedings, this paper delineates and compares the patterns of competition between the Euro-parties since 2004, in particular through the exploration of motivations, convictions and strategies of Europarties and their leadership. The paper argues that while the 2014 EP elections and the selection of candidates for President of the European Commission resulted in increased party competition in the EU, the basic frames of competition were set up already in 2004, which suggests continuity despite institutional changes.
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