The Onward March of Europeanization: Tectonic Movement and Seismic Events

Jeremy Richardson

in Constructing a Policy-Making State?

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199604104
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741531 | DOI:
The Onward March of Europeanization: Tectonic Movement and Seismic Events

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This chapter argues that there are two sets of factors which are leading to a seemingly inexorable increase in the extent of Europeanization (defined as a shift in the locus of policy-making to the European level). First, there are EU specific institutional factors, all of which appear to deliver more rather than less Europeanization. For example, it is argued that institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice all have a keen self-interest in shifting more policy-making power to the European level. This is also true for many interest groups. Somewhat surprisingly, member states also seem to be pushed and pulled along by the ‘tectonic movement’ towards yet more Europeanization, caught in some kind of Europeanization trap. Secondly, there are some features that are generic to all policy systems and which lead to yet more EU level public policy. For example, the chapter draws upon Aaron Wildavsky’s notion that ‘policy is its own cause’, as well as ideational and learning approaches, in order to explain the Europeanization phenomenon. That said, the degree and pace of Europeanization varies considerable across sectors, with sectors such as health still exhibiting low levels of Europeanization. However, it appears that, with few exceptions (steel policy being a notable one), the direction of change is uniform. The EU is likely to continue to be more state-like as time goes on.

Keywords: interest; Europeanization; policy learning; policy fashions; policy change; institutions

Chapter.  11909 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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