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Ripples or waves : The European parliament in the European community policy process

Judge, David and Earnshaw, D. and Cowan, N. (1994) Ripples or waves : The European parliament in the European community policy process. Journal of European Public Policy, 1 (1). pp. 27-52. ISSN 1350-1763

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Abstract

To date many assessments of the influence of the European Parliament have been general in nature: dealing with parliament as an undifferentiated entity and its policy impact in generalised terms. What this article argues is that the policy contribution of the EP cannot be adequately assessed in aggregate or absolute terms. Instead, recognition of the contingency of EP influence needs to be acknowledged. If the measurement of legislative influence is an enormously complex undertaking at national level, it is even more so in the context of EC 'competitive federalism'. This article is concerned, therefore, with the 'how' - the extent to which the EP exerts policy influence within specific policy areas; and the 'why' - the variables that help to explain the variation in policy influence. Through case studies in the policy fields of the environment and research and technological development the differentials of influence exerted by the EP are examined.