Institutionalizing the Treaty of Rome

Neil Fligstein and Alec Stone Sweet

in The Institutionalization of Europe

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247967
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601088 | DOI:
 Institutionalizing the Treaty of Rome

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The general process of institutionalization in the European Union is examined from a macro perspective, building on the theoretical materials developed in the earlier book European Integration and Supranational Governance, and examining the extent to which linkages between rule-making (legislation), dispute resolution, and different forms of transnational activity have created a dynamic, inherently expansionary system. The process is evaluated from the standpoint of institutionalist theory by testing specific hypotheses against relatively comprehensive quantitative measures of integration: trading, legislating, litigating, and lobbying within the context of the Treaty of Rome. The main findings are that (1) increasing economic transactions, (2) the construction of the Brussels complex, (3) the capacity of supranational authorities to produce legislation, and (4) the operation of the European Commission (EC) legal system have become linked through a complex set of feedback loops that binds them together in a self-reinforcing system that broadly determines the course of integration. Although the perspective used is a macro one, the authors emphasize actors and agency: as increasing numbers of actors learn how to be effective in the EC, they build and consolidate new arenas for political activity, thereby bolstering the centrality of supranational governance.

Keywords: Brussels complex; dispute resolution; economic transactions; European Integration; European legal system; European Union; institutionalist theory; institutionalization; legislation; litigation; lobbying; rule-making; supranational governance; trade; transnational activity; Treaty of Rome

Chapter.  11376 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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