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“The Search for Convergence of National Policies in the European Union: An Impossible Quest?”

Dimitrova, Antoaneta and Steunenberg, Bernard. (1999) “The Search for Convergence of National Policies in the European Union: An Impossible Quest?”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Unpublished)

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    This paper addresses the question of whether European integration results in convergence in the domestic politics of EU member states. Some recent studies claim that as a result of European integration the national policies of member states are becoming more alike. The introduction of various exemptions and ‘flexibility’ arrangements in the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam and ever growing problems with implementation seem to contradict this view. In this paper we offer a model based on insights from public choice, game theory and analytical politics, which aims to explain the conditions under which convergence may occur and the limitations to this process at the legislative and implementation stage of European policy making. At the legislative stage, our model highlights the difficulty for the Council, deciding by unanimity, in setting a uniform policy, particularly when current policies in the member states differ considerably. At the implementation stage, we account for implementation problems by focusing on the differences in view held by national political actors with regard to EU legislation. We conclude that convergence will occur only when the Union is able to set a common policy without any exemptions, which is then fully implemented by national political actors.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Additional Information: Also NEMEU paper, no. 99-1.
    Uncontrolled Keywords: National convergence.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political union & integration/European Political Union
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1999 (6th), June 2-5, 1999
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 04 May 2006
    Page Range: p. 39
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:21

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