Issue Representation in the European Parliament: The Effect of Institutional Change on Behaviour of Mainstream and Eurosceptic MEPs

Aleksandra Khokhlova, Leiden University


In the course of the 8th European Parliament, its Members (MEPs) were exposed to the novel rules that set limits for the number of written questions they can ask. Faced with limitations to draw attention to political issues as well as to send signals to the domestic audiences, since then MEPs have to strategically choose which issues to emphasize.

In this paper, I examine the rationales driving the MEPs' choice of the issues they draw attention to. I argue that the rule change, coupled together with the increasing EU salience in domestic electoral politics, shapes different patterns of issue emphasis shown by the MEPs from the Eurosceptic and non-Eurosceptic parties. To test the theoretical framework, I rely on the difference-in-difference approach and compare issue emphasis in the written questions of Eurosceptic and non-Eurosceptic MEPs during the 7th and 8th parliamentary terms.