This is the first of four empirical chapters, in which I assess the explanatory value of the propositions introduced in Chapter 2. The preceding chapter focuses on conflict between Parliament and Council that occurred in the annual procedure between 1974 and 1988. It is divided into three sections. Each section covers a period of approximately five years: the first focuses on the introduction of the new budgetary procedure and the earliest experience with it (1974-1978); the second analyses the manner in which the first directly elected EP used its budgetary powers (1979-1983); the third concentrates on the developments between the second direct election in 1984 and the institutional reform in February 1988. The decision to take the two direct elections as a dividing line between the three separate periods is based on two assumptions. First, the division into several subclasses of annual budgetary procedures within the same institutional setting allows me to compare, and to assess in detail the impact of non-institutional variables on the level of conflict. Second, as the first direct elections in 1979 are usually seen as an important non-institutional factor that increased the level of conflict, a distinction between budgetary decisionmaking before and after 1979 is appropriate for assessing the actual impact of the direct elections. Although the second direct elections in 1984 were less relevant, they feature here as the starting point for the third period, because, for the sake of comparison, I wanted to have three periods of similar length.