Book Review: Amie Kreppel, the European Parliament and Suprantional Party System: A Study in Institutional Development

9 Colum. J. Eur. L. 487 (2003)

reviewed by Finnuala Kelleher.

Arnie Kreppel’s The European Parliament and Supranational Party System examines the relationship between the increasing powers and political influence of the European Parliament (Parliament), the internal evolution of the institution, and the supranational party group system of the European Union (EU).

With this study, Kreppel, an assistant professor of comparative politics and Director of the European Studies Center at the University of Florida, attempts to fill a large gap in the literature of the political institutions of the EU. Considered primarily a “chamber of debate” prior to the 1987 Single European Act (SEA), and a relatively weak legislative body since, the Parliament is frequently overlooked in studies of the development of legislative institutions and in studies of the legislative process in the EU. Scholars have written a number of descriptions of the history and growth of power of the Parliament and its party groups, and have extensively analyzed of those external events, such as the passage of the SEA, which influenced the development of the Parliament. However, this is one of the first attempts to analyze the Parliament’s internal development in light of these external events.

Kreppel, a scholar of comparative politics who has studied both European and American political parties and legislatures, attempts to adapt to the Parliament two American models of analysis, the macro (environmental) model and the micro (rational actor) model. Through these models, Kreppel helps to develop a more complex model suitable for analyzing legislatures, such as the Parliament, which are not built upon the Anglo-American model.

In addition, Kreppel demonstrates how the internal development of the Parliament and the supranational party system, in conjunction with the granting of powers to the Parliament by other EU institutions, has increased the power and political authority of the Parliament. She also describes how the unique and changing nature of the legislative authority of the Parliament has influenced theinternal dynamics of the institution, leading to a system of coalition building across ideological lines.

Kreppel’s book only begins to examine the impact that the development of the Parliament has had on EU legislation. However, she provides the necessary groundwork for such a study to be made.