Europeanization in Comparative Perspective: Institutional Fit and National Adaptation

Marco Giuliani

in The Politics of Europeanization

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780199252091
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599224 | DOI:
 Europeanization in Comparative Perspective: Institutional Fit and National Adaptation

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This chapter addresses the issue of whether the domestic institutional architectures of the fifteen member states of the European Union (EU) affect the way in which they react to the challenges of European governance. More specifically, it empirically tests two different models in order to assess whether macro institutional features are systematically correlated with their degree of adaptation to the EU, using a data set from all fifteen EU states for the period 1986–2000. The first model tested is that of Lijphart (1999), who drew a distinction between consensual and majoritarian institutional architecture, and suggested that the EU displays the typical features of a consensual system; tests are run to determine whether the consensual model represents a favourable precondition for a member state’s adaptation to EU politics. The second model, that of Tsebelis (2002), turns around the concept of formal veto players (VPS); tests are run to determine whether the number of VPS affects the domestic process of Europeanization. The analysis demonstrates that domestic institutions influence the way in which national political systems relate themselves to the EU and adapt their normative framework to the process of Europeanization; a low number of veto points facilitates this process, by reducing the internal decision-making costs and favouring the flexibility and promptness of the policy-making system, but institutional isomorphism and consensual style do not facilitate the interaction between the national and the European level.

Keywords: comparative analysis; consensual democracy; domestic institutions; European Union; Europeanization; institutional architecture; institutional fit; national adaptation; national political systems; veto players

Chapter.  8423 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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