Parliamentary Questions and Representation of Territorial Interests in the EP

  • Nathalie BrackEmail author
  • Olivier Costa
Part of the European Administrative Governance book series (EAGOV)


This chapter explores the territorial dimension and its recent evolutions during the current European Parliament’s mandate. This territorial dimension is generally considered to be central to the process of representation at the national level but has been relatively neglected in the EP to date. Rather than assuming an electoral disconnection between MEPs and EU territories, authors take an inductive approach to empirically examine the extent to which territorial representation is reflected in members’ practices. To do so, they rely on an analysis of MEP’s written questions, which constitutes another understudied topic. The content of these questions is used as an indicator of members’ priorities, centres of interest, and conception of their mandate, as well as of their evolution in the recent period of time.


  1. Arnold, C., & Franklin, M. (2012). Introduction: Issue Congruence and Political Responsiveness. West European Politics, 35(6), 1217–1225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailer, S. (2011). People’s Voice or Information Pool? The Role Of, and Reasons For, Parliamentary Questions in the Swiss Parliament. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 17(3), 302–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beauvallet, W., & Michon, S. (2009). Les transformations sociologiques des parlementaires européens. Revue politique et parlementaire, 1052, 83–89.Google Scholar
  4. Beauvallet, W., & Michon, S. (2010). L’institutionnalisation inachevée du Parlement européen. Hétérogénéité nationale, spécialisation du recrutement et autonomisation. Politix, 89(1), 147–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Behm, A.-S. (2015). The Rise of the Eurosceptics – A Threat to the European Parliament? Retrieved from
  6. Behm, A-S. (2016). The Rise of the Eurosceptics: Obstructionism Or Assimilation? A Comparative Analysis of the MEPs’ Behaviour in the Current Legislature. Master Thesis, Freie Universität Berlin.Google Scholar
  7. Bellamy, R., & Castiglione, D. (2010). Democracy by Delegation? Who Represents Whom and How in European Governance. Government and Opposition, 46, 101–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Best, H., & Cotta, M. (2000). Parliamentary Representatives in Europe 1848–2000: Legislative Recruitment and Careers in Eleven European Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Blidook, K., & Kerby, M. (2011). Constituency Influence on ‘Constituency Members’: The Adaptability of Roles to Electoral Realities in the Canadian Case. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 17(3), 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brack, N. (2015). The Roles of Eurosceptic Members of the European Parliament and Their Implications for the EU. International Political Science Review, 36(3), 337–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brack, N. (2017). Eurosceptic Members of the European Parliament: Foxes in the Henhouse? In S. Usherwood & N. Startin (Eds.), Handbook of Euroscepticism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Brack, N. (2018). Opposing Europe in the European Parliament. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brack, N., & Costa, O. (2013). The Challenges of Territorial Representation at the Supranational Level: The Case of French MEPs. French Politics, 11(1), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brack, N., & Costa, O. (Eds.). (2018). The EP Through the Lens of Legislative Studies: Recent Debates and New Perspectives. Journal of Legislative Studies, Special Issue, 24(1), 72–89.Google Scholar
  15. Brack, N., Costa, O., & Kerrouche, E. (2016). MPs Between Territories, Assembly and Party – Investigating Parliamentary Behaviour at the Local Level in France, Belgium and Germany. French Politics, 14(4), 395–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Busby, A. (2013). Normal Parliament’: Exploring the Organisation of Everyday Political Life in an MEP’s Office. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 9(1), 94–115.Google Scholar
  17. Cain, B., Ferejohn, J., & Fiorina, M. (1987). The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carey, J. M., & Shugart, M. S. (1995). Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas. Electoral Studies, 14(4), 417–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chiru, M., & Dimulescu, V. (2011). Tribunes Versus Experts: An Analysis of the Romanian MEPs’ Questions.Google Scholar
  20. Coman, E. (2009). Reassessing the Influence of Party Groups on Individual MEPs. West European Politics, 32(6), 1099–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Costa, O. (2002). Les députés européens entre allégeances multiples et logique d’institution. Journal of European Integration, 24(2), 91–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Costa, O. (2015). The History of European electoral Reform and the Electoral Act 1976: Issues of Democratisation and Political Legitimacy. Historical Archives of the European Parliament, European Parliament Research Service, European Union History Series, 44 p.Google Scholar
  23. Costa, O., & Navarro, J. (2003). La représentation au PE. Qui représentent les parlementaires européens? In S. Saurugger (Ed.), Les modes de représentation dans l’Union européenne (pp. 123–152). Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  24. Davidson, R. H. (1969). The Role of the Congressman. New York: Pegasus.Google Scholar
  25. Deschouwer, K. (2005). Pinball Wizards: Political Parties and Democratic Representation in the Changing institutional Architecture of European Politics. In E. Römmele, D. Farrell, & P. Ignazi (Eds.), Political Parties and Political Systems. The Concept of Linkage Revisited (pp. 81–99). Praeger: Westport.Google Scholar
  26. Deschouwer, K., & Depauw, S. (Eds.). (2013). Representing the People. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Eulau, H., Wahlke, J., Buchanan, W., & Ferguson, L. (1959). The Role of the Representative: Some Empirical Observations on the Theory of Edmund Burke. American Political Science Review, 53, 742–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Faas, T. (2003). To Defect or Not To Defect? National, Institutional and Party Group Pressures on MEPs and Their Consequences for Party Cohesion in the European Parliament. European Journal of Political Research, 42(6), 841–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Farrell, D., & Scully, R. (2007). Representing Europe’s Citizens? Electoral Institutions and the Failure of Parliamentary Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Farrell, D., & Scully, R. (2010). The European Parliament: One Parliament, Several Modes of Political Representation on the Ground? Journal of European Public Policy, 17(1), 36–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fenno, R. F. (1978). Home Style: Representatives in Their Districts. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  32. Goetze, S., & Rittberger, B. (2010). A Matter of Habit? The Sociological Foundations of Empowering the European Parliament. Comparative European Politics, 8(1), 37–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Golder, M., & Stramski, J. (2010). Ideological Congruence and Electoral Institutions. American Journal of Political Science, 54, 90–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hetshusen, V., Young, G., & Wood, D. M. (2005). Electoral Context and MP Constituency Focus in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and United Kingdom. American Journal of Political Science, 49(1), 32–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hix, S., Raunio, T., & Scully, R. (2003). Fifty Years On: Research on the European Parliament. Journal of Common Market Studies, 41(2), 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hix, S., Noury, A., & Roland, G. (2007). Democratic Politics in the European Parliament. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jensen, C. B., Proksch, S. O., & Slapin, J. B. (2013). Parliamentary Questions, Oversight, and National Opposition Status in the European P arliament. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 38(2), 259–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Katz, R. (1997). Representational Roles. European Journal of Political Research, 32(2), 211–226.Google Scholar
  39. Kreppel, A. (2002). The European Parliament and Supranational Party System. A Study in Institutional Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Kröger, S., & Friedrich, D. (2013). Introduction: The Representative Turn in EU Studies. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(2), 155–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lazardeux, S. (2005). ‘Une Question écrite, Pour Quoi Faire?’ The Causes of the Production of Written Questions in the French Assemblée Nationale. French Politics, 3(3), 258–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lefkofridi, Z., & Katsanidou, A. (2014). Multilevel Representation in the European Parliament. European Union Politics, 15(1), 108–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lord, C., & Pollak, J. (2010). The EU’s Many Representative Modes: Colliding? Cohering? Journal of European Public Policy, 17(1), 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marsh, M. (1998). Testing the Second-Order Election Model After Four European Elections. British Journal of Political Science, 28(4), 591–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marsh, M., & Norris, P. (1997). Political Representation in the European Parliament. European Journal of Political Research, 32(2), 153–164.Google Scholar
  46. Marsh, M., & Wessels, B. (1997). Territorial Representation. European Journal of Political Research, 32(2), 227–241.Google Scholar
  47. Martin, S. (2011). Using Parliamentary Questions to Measure Constituency Focus: An Application to the Irish Case. Political Studies, 59(2), 472–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mattila, M., & Raunio, T. (2012). Drifting Further Apart: National Parties and Their Electorates on the EU Dimension. West European Politics, 35(3), 589–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Miller, W. E., & Stokes, D. E. (1963). Constituency Influence in Congress. American Political Science Review, 57(1), 45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Morris, M. (2013). Conflicted Politicians, the Populist Radical Right in the European Parliament. London: Counterpoint.Google Scholar
  51. Mülböck, M. (2012). National Versus European: Party Control Over Members of the European Parliament. West European Politics, 35(3), 607–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Navarro, J. (2009a). Parliamentary Questions in the EP: What For? Paper presented at The Second ECPR Conference on Parliamentary Accountability, Paris.Google Scholar
  53. Navarro, J. (2009b). Les députés européens et leur rôle. Sociologie interprétative des pratiques parlementaires. Bruxelles: Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  54. Navarro, J., & Brouard, S. (2014). Who Cares About the EU? French MPs and the Europeanization of Parliamentary Questions. Journal of Legislative Studies, 20(1), 93–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Nay, O. (2002). Le jeu du compromis. Les élus régionaux entre territoire et pratiques d’assemblée. In O. Nay & A. Smith (Eds.), Le gouvernement du compromis, courtiers et généralistes de l’action politique (pp. 47–86). Paris: Economica.Google Scholar
  56. Norris, P. (Ed.). (1997). Passages to Power: Legislative Recruitment in Advanced Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Norris, P., & Franklin, M. (1997). Social Representation. European Journal of Political Research, 32(2), 185–210.Google Scholar
  58. Piattoni, S. (2013). Representation as Delegation: a Basis for EU Democracy? Journal of European Public Policy, 20(2), 224–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pitkin, H. (1967). The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  60. Poyet, C. (2018). Working at Home: French MEPs’ Day-to-Day Practice of Political Representation in Their District. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 24(1), 109–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Priestley, J. (2008). Six Battles that Shaped Europe’s Parliament. London: John Harper Publishing.Google Scholar
  62. Proksch, S. O., & Slapin, J. B. (2011). Parliamentary Questions and Oversight in the European Union. European Journal of Political Research, 50(1), 53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Raunio, T. (1996). Parliamentary Questions in the European Parliament: Representation, Information and Control. Journal of Legislative Studies, 2(4), 362–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Reif, K., & Schmitt, H. (1980). Nine Second Order National Elections: A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of European Election Results. European Journal of Political Research, 8(1), 3–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rozenberg, O., & Martin, S. (2011). Questioning Parliamentary Questions. Journal of Legislative Studies, 17(3), 394–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Russo, F. (2011). The Constituency as a Focus of Representation: Studying the Italian Case Through the Analysis of Parliamentary Questions. Journal of Legislative Studies, 17(3), 290–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Saalfeld, T. (2011). Parliamentary Questions as Instruments of Substantive Representation: Visible Minorities in the UK House of Commons, 2005–2011. Journal of Legislative Studies, 17(3), 271–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sartori, G. (1987). The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House.Google Scholar
  69. Schapiro, I., Stokes, S., Wood, E., & Kirschner, A. (2010). Political Representation. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Scully, R., & Farrell, D. (2001). Understanding Constituency Representation in the European Parliament. Paper for the ECSA Conference, Madison.Google Scholar
  71. Scully, R., Hix, S., & Farrell, D. M. (2012). National or European Parliamentarians? Evidence from a New Survey of the Members of the European Parliament. Journal of Common Market Studies, 50(4), 670–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Stavridis, S., & Irrera, D. (2015). The European Parliament and Its International Relations. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Thomassen, J. J., Schmitt, H., & Thomassen, J. (1999). Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press on Demand.Google Scholar
  74. Trumm, S. (2015). Voting Procedures and Parliamentary Representation in the European Parliament. Journal of Common Market Studies. Article First Published Online March 20. Scholar
  75. Viola, D. M. (Ed.). (2015). Routledge Handbook of European Elections. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Wahlke, J. C. (1962). The Legislative System: Explorations in Legislative Behavior. Wiley.Google Scholar
  77. Wessels, B., & Giebler, H. (2011, August). Choosing a Style of Representation: The Role of Institutional and Organizational Incentives. Presentation at the 6th ECPR General Conference, University of Iceland (pp. 25–27).Google Scholar
  78. Yordanova, N. (2011). The European Parliament: In Need of a Theory. European Union Politics, 12(4), 597–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cevipol, Université libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.College of EuropeBrugesBelgium
  3. 3.CNRSBordeauxFrance

Personalised recommendations