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The European Parliament and environmental legislation: The case of chemicals

Abstract

The paper studies the impact of the EP on legislation on chemical pollutants introduced under the Cooperation procedure. A series of formal and informal analyses have predicted from significant impact of the EP, to limited impact (only in the second round) to no impact at all. Through the analysis of Parliamentary debates as well as Commission and Parliamentary committee documents, we are able to assess the significance of different amendments, as well as the degree to which they were introduced in the final decision of the Council. Our analysis indicates first that less than 30% of EP amendments are insignificant, while 15% are important or very important; second, that the probability of acceptance of an amendment is the same regardless of its significance. Further analysis indicates two sources of bias of aggregate EP statistics: several amendments are complementary (deal with the same issue in different places of the legal document), and a series of amendments that are rejected as inadmissible (because they violate the legal basis of the document or the germainess requirement) are included in subsequent pieces of legislation. We calculate the effect of these biases in our sample, and find that official statistics underestimate Parliamentary influence by more than 6 percentage points (49% instead of 56% in our sample). Finally, we compare a series of observed strategic behaviors of different actors (rapporteurs, committees, floor, Commission) to different expectations generated by the literature.

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Tsebelis, G., Kalandrakis, A. The European Parliament and environmental legislation: The case of chemicals. European Journal of Political Research 36, 119–154 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007027908349

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Keywords

  • Final Decision
  • Official Statistic
  • Strategic Behavior
  • Limited Impact
  • Legal Basis