The European Parliament in Times of Crisis: Transnationalism under Pressure?

Anna-Lena Högenauer


In 2015, the intensification of the migration crisis has exposed the European Union to a highly politicized policy problem that was subject to radically different national approaches. In the past, the literature has tended to present the European Parliament as a highly supranational institution, where formal procedures and informal practices have encouraged the emergence of transnational party groups over time. However, while these groups are now seen as enjoying a high level of cohesion, the literature also argues that national loyalties are likely to prevail in the case of conflict between the European party group and the national party. The migration crisis can be expected to create numerous conflicts that would undermine party cohesion. Yet, the analysis of plenary debates in 2015 shows that European party groups still benefit from a high level of cohesion and that most MEPs avoid couching their arguments in national terms. The European Parliament is thus still a fundamentally transnational actor.


European Parliament; supranationalism; transnationalism; party groups; cohesion; migration

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