September 2021: New article on the politicization of questions in the European Parliament!

In this article forthcoming at JCMS, Olivier Costa and I argue that important insight can be gained by looking at parliamentary questions and their issue profile.

This article complements analyses of the partisan politicization of the European Parliament from roll-call votes with an analysis of political groups' use of parliamentary questions. Questions offer an institutional opening for issue politicization and for partisan differentiation. Parliamentary groups have incentives to shape EU policies by drawing the attention to their topics of predilection and by controlling ongoing action. We make use of a new dataset on questions for oral answer (2004–19) to test if this results in European party groups emphasizing differentiated topics in their questions to the Commission and the Council. Our analyses confirm groups' differentiated issue attention. These findings have important implications for understanding the partisan politicization of EU policies and confirming the truly political nature of deliberation in the EP. They reveal patterns of partisan opposition different from those expressed in votes and emphasize the relevance of parliamentary questions as a key institutional window for politicization.

Early view