In EU politics, it is better to have powerful allies than to have voting power

Agree
63% (5 votes)
Disagree
38% (3 votes)
Total votes: 8

Comments

even big countries that have alot of voting power cannot decide without allies.

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It is better to be part of a coalition because the members of the European Parliament tend to vote based on ideology. National groups can be merged to form a coalition and to promote their interests.

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In each of the two cases a country can be in the winning coalition. For instance, Romania can win a vote because of its voting power or because it has powerful allies that vote in the same manner. Technically each of the two cases is equal – Romania wins either way. The main issue here is that, while Romania’s voting power will remain the same, the allies can be there only for a short amount of time. There are no guarantees that in the next voting sessions the alliance will remain the same. This is explained by the fact that it cannot be predicted the position that governments will take in the future regarding several subjects. Furthermore, governments change and with them the preferences in a variety of areas.

In conclusion, counting on the voting power received represents a solid base because this power does not change. By contrast, relying on others can be risky and can bring a country at loss.        

 

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In my opinion, having access to a lot of voting power is something that only large member states can contemplate or pursue. Small countries, including Romania, do not have the luxury of trying to get more voting power. Forming lasting alliances, as has been proven to happen, can allow us to influence policy- and decision-making more readily from our current position. At the same time, stronger actors have more incentives to take the opinion of smaller countries into account, since any alliance would serve to further solidify their positions as leaders.

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With reference to the Council of the EU, I agree that alliances are better than power. The reason why is that empirical research has shown that small member states (Luxembourg, Scandinavian countries, Ireland) frequently punch above their weight on everyday policy and, arguably, even in major Treaty revisions. According to Golub (2012), small states win more than large states (Germany, France, United Kingdom) when bargaining on policies in the Council of Ministers by 7 to 14 times because they are more able to articulate positions on policy issues which are salient to them, high-quality negotiation positions, high-quality negotiation activities, and other factors. Although the authors admit that data is scant, this empirical account shows that power is not sufficient to get your way in the Council but the way in which you build alliances is, which partly accounts for the findings. As usual, more research and better data sets are needed for large-scale quantitative research. Golub, Jonathan. 2012. How the European Union Does Not Work: National Bargaining Success in the Council of Ministers. Journal of European Public Policy 19(9): 1294-1315.
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