Why Caring about Defence?

Defence Policy in Europe. The Legacy of Bastien
Explaining MPs' Participation in Parliamentary Defence Committees in Europe
By Olivier Rozenberg, Olivier Chopin, Catherine Hoeffler, Bastien Irondelle, Jean Joana

This article analyzes the reasons why MPs participate in parliamentary Defence Committees. The conventional wisdom that MPs participate in parliamentary committees for personal rewards is questionable in the case of defence, since Parliaments seem to be especially weak in defence policy. Based on a qualitative comparison of four European Parliaments (France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain), this analysis shows that while the rational choice hypothesis is confirmed, the types of rewards are different from what is usually observed: participating to a Defence Committee is first and foremost a way for MPs to seek access to policymakers and to belong to the defense establishment.

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