National Parliamentary Scrutiny over EU Issues: The Goals and Methods of Governing and Opposition Parties

R.L. Holzhacker

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58 Citations (Scopus)


This article compares national parliamentary scrutiny over European Union matters in two countries with coalition governments, Germany and the Netherlands, based on interviews with members of parliament serving on their European Affairs Committee. While acknowledging that legal powers and institutional structures are important when evaluating parliamentary-government relations, the examination focuses on the goals and methods of party groups when overseeing government. In Germany, the goal of the governing coalition parties is to protect the government, whereas in the Netherlands they scrutinize the government's position in order to be sure the compromise in the cabinet sufficiently protects the party's interests. Although the Dutch governing parties normally support the government, a `floating coalition' occasionally emerges with ruling parties working with parts of the opposition to amend a proposal toward their own preferences. The study concludes that it is not only the legal powers and institutional structures that determine parliamentary scrutiny in a given member state, but also party interactions.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)-
JournalEuropean Union politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • floating coalition
  • European Union
  • political parties
  • national parliaments
  • IR-60174
  • METIS-210720
  • Democratic deficit

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