Promoting Policy Dynamism: The Pathways Interlinking Neo-functionalism and Intergovernmentalism

Gerda Falkner

in Constructing a Policy-Making State?

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199604104
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741531 | DOI:
Promoting Policy Dynamism: The Pathways Interlinking Neo-functionalism and Intergovernmentalism

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The EU’s founding fathers had the protection of the EU’s constituent units as a key concern and set up significant hurdles to policy innovation in the absence of unanimous governmental agreement. Over time, these institutional design features were somewhat eroded but not removed. Nonetheless, the problem of how to innovate has, at times, been overcome through eclectic means. There are indeed some well known and quite visible practices as well as some less expected and more obscure strategies that have propelled the EU’s policy system beyond what has for a long time been expected from a situation of ‘joint-decision trap’. This chapter argues that there are two strategic moves the European Commission and, at times, other actors such as the European Court of Justice can use to actively overcome member state opposition: first, sidelining some or even all national governments; and, second, manipulating relevant policy preferences. These two basic strategies can be seen to interconnect the diverging basic assumptions of intergovernmentalism and classic neofunctionalism as ‘passerelles’.

Keywords: EU decision-making; unanimity requirements; integration theory; intergovernmentalism; neofunctionalism

Chapter.  7652 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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