The dimensionality of the EU policy space: the European elections of 1999

P.J.M. Pennings

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In any full-grown democracy, parties must confront voters with real choices that matter. The European Union is often said to be devoid of these choices owing to minor policy differences between parties. The manifestos issued at European Parliament elections by party groups are often perceived as being bland and indistinguishable from each other. How correct is this perception? In this article, the diversity of policy positions within and between the main European party groups is analyzed by means of the European election manifestos of 1999. The content analysis of these manifestos shows that there are significant differences both within and between the party groups. These differences indicate that these groups are (potentially) able to present meaningful choices to voters. © 2002, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-80
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Union Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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