Smith, Mitchell. (1997) "Autonomy by the rules: The European Commission and the development of state aid policy". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
The debate between theorists of European construction concerning the degree of autonomy of supranational institutions has begun to yield concrete rewards. Advances in our understanding of the emerging European polity have shown that these institutions are relatively independent actors in the European integration process; the critical question remains precisely how, where and why supranational autonomy is circumscribed by national interests, and how this relationship changes over time. While state aid is unrepresentative of other policy areas because of the exclusive competence exercised by the Commission, two aspects of the first experience of state aid policy are generalizable. First, the means by which the parameters of the Commission’s authority have been defined and by which the DG-IV itself has sought to expand that authority are similar to that for other policy areas. Second, as the work of the Commission shifts away from primary legislation and more toward a focus on implementation and enforcement, the tasks of other parts of the Commission become more like those of DG-IV. Thus DG-IV’s application of state aid policy can provide insight into problems faced by DGs in other policy areas and strategies of policy influence and effective enforcement.
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