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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Debating Europe in Parliaments: a Multilevel Perspective

European Union
National Perspective
Anna Palau
Universitat de Barcelona
Anna Palau
Universitat de Barcelona

This article contributes to advance research on parliamentary attention to EU affairs by adopting a multilevel perspective, taking into consideration dynamics in national and regional parliaments, and by exploring the motivations of MP’s from Europhile parties to debate European issues. The research focuses in the case of Spain, a quasi-federal system of government where there is no party conflict on European integration. Based on an analysis of 29.986 oral questions the article reveals that regional parties with representation in the national parliament use this arena to reduce information asymmetries on EU affairs but at the same time give visibility to the interests of their territories. In regional parliaments, MP’s mainly use the EU following issue saliency strategies, to give visibility to issues that are of interest to their voters. In the Spanish parliament, government more than opposition MP’s contribute to the visibility of EU affairs. Government MP’s pay attention to EU affairs following credit- claiming strategies which are likely in the context of EU events and when the perceived benefits of integration are high, and unlikely under critical junctures, when the EU cannot be framed as a governmental success.
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