Representation in parliamentary democracies: the European Parliament as a deviant case

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While there are many ways to define democratic representation, all include the need for a representative assembly elected by universal suffrage. EU member states divide almost evenly between those in which this assembly is the sole chamber in a unicameral parliament or one chamber in a bicameral parliament. The European Parliament is a deviant case because it is a unicameral parliament in which the principle of one European citizen, one vote, one value is explicitly rejected by the application of degressive proportionality in relating seats to national population. The first section of this paper sets out the different units and ways in which second chambers are constituted in European and major federal political systems. The extent of inequality in the EP is then compared with measures of inequality in first and second chambers in two major federal systems, the United States and Germany. The concluding section reviews proposals for institutional reform that might balance the EP's "federal" approachto representation with alternatives that might or might not give greater weight to the votes to individuals qua European citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilayered representation in the European Union
Subtitle of host publicationparliaments, courts and the public sphere
EditorsTatjana Evas, Ulrike Liebert, Christopher Lord
Place of PublicationBaden-Baden
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • representation
  • parliamentary democracies
  • european parliament
  • deviant case


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