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Abstract

This article examines the role of the standing committees in building consensus within the European Parliament (EP) and asks whether the ability to fulfil this function has remained stable even in the context of enlarged membership after the June 2004 elections. To this avail, original data have been collected on the voting behaviour in EP committees, from July 1999 through July 2006, and interviews with key players have been conducted. Findings show that committees generally work very consensually, regardless of the issue at stake and the procedure applied. At the same time, the committee system seems to be evolving towards greater differentiation across policy areas and, partially, across legislative procedures.