Research on the intra-institutional consequences of differences in the EU’s interinstitutional rule configurations is rare. This study investigates the effect of the empowerment of the European Parliament (EP) on the active involvement of ministers in Council decision-making. The empowerment of the EP is likely to increase the incentives for bureaucrats in the Council’s preparatory bodies to refer decisions on legislative dossiers to ministers. The empirical analysis examines this claim with data on about 6,000 legislative decision-making processes that were concluded between 1980 and the end of 2007. The analysis demonstrates a strong and robust association between the type of legislative procedure and different decision-making levels in the Council: a more powerful EP makes Council decision-making more politicised.
This article won the Gordon Smith and Vincent Wright Memorial Prize of West European Politics for making “a significant contribution to the study of comparative European politics”.