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Palgrave Macmillan

European Parliament’s Political Groups in Turbulent Times

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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • Provides a multi-layered, methodically nuanced and complex analysis of the democratic possibilities
  • Contributes to broader debates about democracy within the EU in general, and the EP in particular
  • Combines quantitative and qualitative approaches to how key research problems are overcome
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access.

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics (PSEUP)

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About this book

This open access book provides the first ever authoritative collection of scholarly insights, based upon original research, into the political groups of the EP tackling the fundamental changes since the Lisbon Treaty and the upsurge of radical right parties.  It analyses political groups and their importance from multiple perspectives critically assessing their role and significance in EU politics. Each chapter is authored by leading scholars in the field, working on key topics in relation to political groups: political group formation and function, their role in parliamentary and EU policy-making, the way that Eurosceptic MEPs influence (or not) the Parliament, and the nature and form of interactions with external actors. In doing so, each chapter opens hitherto unexplored ‘black boxes’ in the political work of the EP, such as the internal practices of, and power relations within the political groups, and informal arenas of intra-group decision-making.

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Table of contents (12 chapters)


“The European Parliament’s Political Groups in Turbulent Times is the most recent work in the emerging studies of the European Parliament (EP) under the pressure of the post-2008 decade of crises. … as acknowledged by Ahrens, Elomäki and Kantola, all chapters could be expanded into new research with further empirical data. … The authors seem to be in a particularly good position to go in-depth with such a matter.” (Catarina Silva, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, February 15, 2023)

“Ahrens et al.’s volume paints a complete picture by accounting also for the informal nature of EP politics. … The chapters in this book demonstrate the importance of informal interactions, networking and norms of procedure inside and between groups to capturefully what goes on inside the EP. … Ahrens et al.’s book is ultimately more than a study of EP institutional processes and politics. … The book covers new ground also concerning the activities of Eurosceptics, especially on the right.” (Angelos Chryssogelos, Journal of European Integration, March 27, 2022)
“This volume explores exciting avenues for understanding the European Parliament, its internal practices and its position in the EU polity. It provides crucial insights by integrating concepts of gender, power and contestation into the analysis of the parliament’s political groups. The authors make an important contribution to the study of democratic practices in EU politics. The book is a must-read for gender and EU scholars as well as for those interested in the European Parliament.” (Gabriele Abels, Professor, University of Tübingen, Germany)

“With the Spitzenkandidaten procedure and the growing politization of the EU regime, the political groups of the European Parliament (EP) have become major actors of the European polity. The deep evolution of the EP’s partisan landscape announces a new era of EU politics, that requests new studies and approaches. This book gathers a unique set of papers analysing the European political groups from various angles, and providing a fresh view on the political dynamics within the EP.” (Olivier Costa, Professor, CNRS-Sciences Po, Paris, France, and College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium)

“This book brings together some of the best new research on the political groups in the European Parliament. Based on an impressive set of interviews and careful field research, the scholars uncover the interconnection between formal and informal processes, and shed new light on how democratic representation and equality play out inside the EU’s only directly elected institution. This is a must-read for anyone interested in EU politics or democratic representation in Europe.” (Simon Hix, Professor, European University Institute, Italy)

“This edited volume collects a diverse array of authors and perspectives on the changing character and role of the EP political groups in the 21st century. The contributions provide a comprehensive and cohesive review of the political groups in the context of a European Parliament experiencing increased polarization, high expectations and increased responsibilities. Together these contributions highlight the complexity of the EP political groups while confirming their centrality within the broader EU political system.” (Amie Kreppel, Professor, University of Florida, USA)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

    Petra Ahrens, Anna Elomäki, Johanna Kantola

About the editors

Petra Ahrens is Senior Researcher in the Faculty of Social Science, Tampere University, Finland.

Anna Elomäki is Senior Researcher in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland.

Johanna Kantola is Professor of Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland. 

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