David Arter
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‘Fairly strong standing committees’ and ‘influential party groups’ – a distinctively Nordic mix?
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This chapter examines the main powers and functions of the Nordic standing committees, the changes in their work practices and the contribution of parliamentary party groups (PPGs) as autonomous policy sub-systems. Peter Esaiasson and Knut Heidar's reference to 'influential party groups' in the Nordic parliaments warrants some qualification. There is a difference in influence between party groups on the governing side and those in opposition. The former will have direct contact with the minister, who will need the backing of the PPG to proceed with planned legislation. The latter will seek to influence primarily by generating and promoting alternative policies. The larger the parliamentary party, the more the substantial growth in its financial capacity will lead to a professionalisation of its PPG. In the Nordic context, the introduction of state subsidies to PPGs gave them the resources to buy in expertise, create policy research units and develop press agencies.

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