Hamlet, Lawrence. (1999) “The Power of Procedure: Explaining the Role of Secretariats in the European Union”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
In the case of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, I argue that the secretariat is designed to address the key cooperation problem which EU member states in the Council of Ministers face: distribution problems, or issues of how to allocate gains and losses from European integration. Thus, the design of the Council Secretariat is geared towards enabling it to facilitate the negotiation process between states. However, the delegation of duties, capacities and staff to the Council Secretariat is not without limits; rather, the Council Secretariat can only exercise its delegated authority within tightly-drawn boundaries. Thus, the power of the Council Secretariat does not rely on its ability to circumvent or flout the wishes of states, but rather lies in its ability to carry out its delegated tasks well and respect the boundaries set by the member states which control it. By following procedure-and remaining active, yet closely controlled-the Council Secretariat can maximize its influence on EU decisionmaking.
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