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Tapio Raunio, "Losing Independence or Finally Gaining Recognition? Contacts Between MEPs and National Parties," Party Politics, 6 (April 2000), 211-223.

First Paragraph:
Despite the gradual emergence of Europarties, national parties remain the main intermediaries between public opinion and policy-making in the European Union (EU). National parties influence EU decision-making primarily through national legislature and government and through their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). These avenues are related as MEPs can act as useful linkages between the European and the national levels, providing the domestic party machinery with information on developments in Brussels.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Reply percentages by member states and party groups
Table 2: MEP membership in leading party organs
Table 3: Voting instructions to MEPs
Table 4: The influence of MEPs in party policy formulation on EU matters (%)
Appendix: A methodological note on the survey.

Last Paragraph:
What are the political implications of the findings? Intra-party policy coordination between the national and European levels is a problematic issue for the Europarties. Independence from national parties benefits the institutionalization and cohesiveness of EP party groups. By limiting MEPs' freedom of manoeuvre, control by national parties can impede group cohesion and majority building in the European Parliament. Therefore party groups have reason to view with anxiety developments indicating tighter scrutiny by national parties. Were the Parliament to be granted more powers, such control would undoubtedly increase.
A valid counter-argument is that close interaction increases the representativeness of the EP. Numerous studies have shown MEPs to be more pro- integrationist than party activists and citizens in member states. Tighter scrutiny could ensure that MEPs' positions are in line with the views of their parties. More importantly, the active involvement of MEPs in normal party work will gradually make party activists, particularly the party elites, better informed over Europe. How can parties benefit more from their MEPs? Since party executive organs normally have control over party statutes, they can implement organizational changes that increase MEPs' accountability to the domestic party leadership. The procedure for candidate selection ensures that most MEPs will remain loyal to their national parties.