Small states in the European Union: political representation in the European parliament and the council of the European Union
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The 2004 Enlargement of the European Union marked an important development within the institutional history of the European Union with the participation of eight Central and Eastern European and two island states. The active representation of small member states became more important than ever in the European Union policy-making. Although the literature on the representation of small states in the European Union provides an enriching contribution, existing studies are limited by their focus on providing theoretical overviews which lack empirical case study analyses. This study tackles the issue of political representation of small member states in the European Union and empirically examines the role of four small member states in European Union policy-making. By developing a set of arguments on the domestic and supranational factors impacting the role of small state representatives, this research qualitatively examines the representation of Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, and Malta in the European Union institutions. In this research, it is argued that domestic and supranational structural factors impact representation of small states in the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. Compared to large member states, representing high percentage of country’s population, limited administrative resources and structures of party politics influence legislative behaviour of small state representatives. This leads representatives to establish a closer relationship with their constituencies in the European Parliament. Considering the Qualified Majority Voting method, representatives employ strategies which are particular to small states in order to influence voting processes in the Council of the European Union.