Introduction: Co‐ordinating National Action in Brussels

Hussein Kassim

in The National Co-ordination of EU Policy

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199248056
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601545 | DOI:
 Introduction: Co‐ordinating National Action in Brussels

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The purpose of this Introduction to the book is to provide a point of reference and context for the eleven country studies that follow. It begins with a brief discussion of national co-ordination and why it matters to governments at the European level, and then outlines the tasks and difficulties that face national co-ordinators in Brussels, looking at the EU as a political system, and at its complex institutional structure (the Council of the Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission). The following section looks at the tasks that national co-ordinators are called to perform in routine policy-making, and identifies four phases: policy initiation, policy formulation, deliberation and decision; and implementation and enforcement. A brief section on ‘heroic’ decision-making by national governments follows, and then the matter of the emergence of an overall pattern in national co-ordination—of convergence or divergence—is considered. The next section looks at the effectiveness of national arrangements in Brussels, and the concluding one introduces the eleven country case studies.

Keywords: Brussels; convergence; decision-making; divergence; effectiveness; EU policy; European Union; institutional structure; national co-ordination; national governments; policy co-ordination; policy-making

Chapter.  19882 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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