Chapter

The Engines of Integration? Supranational Autonomy and Influence in the European Union

Mark A. Pollack

in European Integration and Supranational Governance

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294641
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601071 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294646.003.0008
 The Engines of Integration? Supranational Autonomy and Influence in the European Union

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Is European integration still being driven, as it used to be, by intergovernmental agreement, or is the mainspring now located within the European Community itself? This chapter explores the autonomy and the influence of the EC's supranational organizations and the extent to which they can act as engines of the integration process, focusing in particular on the executive activities of the European Commission. In terms of the larger project of the book as a whole, its primary emphasis is on supranational organizations and the extent to which they can drive the integration process along the continuum between an intergovernmental and a supranational polity. It begins with a theoretical discussion of the role of supranational organizations in the integration process, and then presents some basic hypotheses about the variables underlying variations in the autonomy and influence of supranational agents such as the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, and the European Parliament. It then examines problems of subjecting these hypotheses to empirical verification, with particular reference to the activities of the Commission. It concludes by arguing that supranational autonomy and influence cannot be rightly understood in terms of a simple dualism between ‘obedient servants’ and ‘runaway Eurocracies’, but in terms of variance along a continuum between the two.

Keywords: European Commission; European Community; European Court of Justice; European integration; European Parliament

Chapter.  15814 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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