Intergovernmental cooperation networks, national policy positions and partisan ideologies: longitudinal evidence from the Council of the European Union

Narisong Huhe, Robert Thomson, Javier Arregui, Daniel Naurin

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This study describes and explains the evolution of cooperation networks among member states in the European Union. We examine the effects of similarities between states in their policy positions on specific controversial issues, the ideological orientations of their national governments, and the presence of populist parties in national governments. This builds on a prominent explanation of political ties, according to which political actors who share similar characteristics are likely to cooperate. The analysis examines cooperation networks in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper I), one of the highest-level committees in the Council, in the period 2003-2018. The findings indicate that states with similar policy positions on specific controversial issues tend to form cooperative relationships, while party ideology indirectly and relatively weakly affects the formation of ties. Surprisingly, the presence of populist parties is unrelated to network evolution. These findings have implications for the extent to which cooperation in the Council is shaped by national democratic processes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Aug 2021


  • networks
  • EU
  • council
  • ideology
  • populism

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