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SPP 504

Author: Javier Arregui and Robert Thomson
Description: EU member states may dissent at the voting stage in the Council of Ministers by voting against, abstaining, or placing a dissenting statement in the minutes without formally voting against, or abstaining. We describe the occurrence of such dissenting behaviours, which are relatively rare events. Our explanation is based on the central proposition of liberal international relations theory: a state’s behaviour reflects both its domestic interests and the preferences and behaviour of other states with which it is interdependent We employ a medium-n research design with a dataset including detailed information on member states’ policy positions on proposals, as well as the discretion each proposal gives to member states at the implementation stage. We hypothesise that member states’ disagreement with non-discretionary decision outcomes affects the likelihood that they dissent at the voting stage.

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