Europeanization in parliament and in the press

Sciarini, Pascal; Tresch, Anke; Fischer, Manuel (2014). Europeanization in parliament and in the press. Swiss political science review / Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 20(2), pp. 232-238. Wiley 10.1111/spsr.12101

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Europeanization challenges national democratic systems. As part and parcel of the broader internationalization of politics, Europeanization is associated with a shift from policymaking within majoritarian, elected representative bodies towards technocratic decisions among non-majoritarian and non-elected bodies (Kohler-Koch and Rittberger 2008, Lavenex 2013). It is thus said to weaken the influence of citizens and parliaments on the making of policies and to undermine democratic collective identity (Lavenex 2013, Schimmelfennig 2010). The weakening of national parliaments has been referred to as “de-parliamentarisation” (Goetz and Meyer-Sahling 2008) and has nurtured a broader debate regarding the democratic deficit in the EU. While not being a member of the EU, Switzerland has not remained unaffected by these changes. As discussed in the contribution by Fischer and Sciarini, state executive actors take the lead in Switzerland's European policy. They are responsible for the conduct of international negotiations, they own the treaty making power, and it is up to them to decide whether they wish to launch a negotiation with the EU. In addition, the strong take-it or leave-it character of Europeanized acts limits the room for manoeuver of the parliamentary body also in the ratification phase. Among the public, the rejection of the treaty on the European constitution has definitely closed the era of “permissive consensus” (Hooghe and Marks 2009). However, the process of European unification remains far remote from the European public. In Switzerland, the strongly administrative character of international legislation hinders public discussion (Vögeli 2007). In such a context, the media may serve as cue for the public: By delivering information about the extent and nature of Europeanized policymaking, the media enable citizens to form their own opinions and to hold their representatives accountable. In this sense media coverage may not only be considered an indicator of the information delivered to the public, but it may also enhance the democratic legitimacy of Europeanized policymaking (for a similar argument, see Tresch and Jochum 2005). While the previous contributions to this debate have examined the Europeanization of Swiss (primary and secondary) legislation, we take a closer look at two additional domestic arenas that are both supposed to be under pressure due to Europeanization: The parliament and the media. To that end, we rely on data gathered in a research project that two of us carried out in the context of the NCCR Democracy.1 While this project was primarily interested in the mediatization of decision-making processes in Switzerland, it also investigated the conditional role played by internationalization/Europeanization. For our present purposes, we shall exploit the two data-sets that were developed as part of a study of the political agenda-setting power of the media (Sciarini and Tresch 2012, 2013, Tresch et al. 2013): A data-set on issue attention in parliamentary interventions (initiatives, motions, postulates,2 interpellations and questions) and a data-set on issue attention in articles from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). The data covers the years 1995 to 2003 and the coding of issues followed the classification system developed in the “Policy Agendas Project” (Baumgartner and Jones 1993).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Manuel (B)


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Manuel Fischer

Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2015 09:44

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34

Publisher DOI:





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