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Political Science in Europe

Do Formal Rules Determine Actors’ Capacity to Influence Legislative Outcomes? A Case Study of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

Decision Making
Policy Change
European Parliament
Angela Tacea
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Angela Tacea
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The changes resulting from the Lisbon Treaty enforced the powers of ‘integration-minded EU institutions’ by the greater application of the traditional ‘community method’ in areas where laws were primarily adopted and applied on an ‘intergovernmental’ basis. Nonetheless, the academic literature offers only a partial answer to the question of how these new inter-institutional rules altered the balance of powers among the main EU institutions. On one side, researchers focusing on formal institutions have reached different conclusions on the effects of rule change on the legislative power of European institutional actors. On the other side, the vast majority of studies devoted to the impact of framing on European actors’ power to affect legislative outcomes are case studies typically focusing on one or just a few highly salient legislative initiatives. This article examines the influence of formal institutions and procedures on actors’ behavior and the balance of powers between the Commission, the EP and the Council in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Relying on computer science tools of data mining and data processing, the article identifies and explains the changes AFSJ proposals undergo during the legislative process from the text proposed by the European Commission to the final version published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
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