Dealing with Fragmentation: The New Political Equilibrium and Coalition Dynamics in the European Parliament During the 9th Legislature

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Nathalie Brack and Awenig Marié in collaboration with Olivier Costa
Palgrave Macmillan
Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics

Chapter in The EU Political System After the 2019 European Elections.



One of the key outcomes of the 2019 elections is the increased fragmentation of the European Parliament (EP). The decline of traditional parties in many member states, the good results of the Greens and the Liberals, combined with the success of Eurosceptics have led to a political reconfiguration of the EP. This poses a challenge for its functioning and its place in the EU decision-making system. A higher level of internal fragmentation may make it more difficult to reach a common position in time to truly have a voice in EU interinstitutional debates. This chapter aims to examine the implications of higher political fragmentation on coalition formation in the EP since 2019. Our central question is: how has the political equilibrium within the EP changed since the beginning of the 9th legislative term? We expect that the two largest political families will cooperate even more now that they do not hold an absolute majority on their own. We further expect them to include smaller groups in the grand coalition more often in order to continue to adopt reports with large majorities. To examine this question, we rely on an analysis of roll-call votes (RCV) at the plenary level.