Aylott, Nicholas, and Blomgren, Magnus. (2007) "Political Parties, delegation and Europeanisation: A Conceptual Framework". In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. A great deal of research, both normative and empirical and too voluminous to be listed here, has been devoted to this democratic deficit. But the vast majority of it focuses on the institutions of the Union. Only a small, albeit growing, section takes up the effect of European integration on national political parties; and only a small proportion of that looks inside the parties at the internal mechanisms of democratic accountability that they contain. This paper is a part of an attempt to help fill this gap. It serves as a draft introduction to an ongoing research project that investigates the effect of European integration on Nordic political parties - that is, the parties represented in the national parliaments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The aims of the project are threefold. First, it seeks to peer into the black box of party organisation, and to do so through a rather conceptual lens, that of a principal-agent model. In doing so, we hope to derive a clearer understanding of how power within parties is delegated and accountability exercised. Second, the project compares these mechanisms of delegation and accountability according to how they work at two different levels: at the customary national level and at the EU level. Of course, such a comparison will be of limited scale in the parties operating in the two Nordic non-EU-member-states, Iceland and Norway. But it is far from meaningless even in those cases, thanks to the two countries' involvement in the process of European integration via the European Economic Area (EEA). Third, the project aims to compare these mechanisms across cases - that is, to shine a comparative light on the way that parties operate accross the Nordic region, with particular emphasis on the effect of European integration.
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