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"Policy-Making and the Integration Process - Implications for Integration Theory"

Cram, Laura. (1995) "Policy-Making and the Integration Process - Implications for Integration Theory". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    I argue in this paper that it is important to develop a view of the integration process which, while recognising the dominant role of national governments and the importance of intergovernmental bargaining in this process, is also able to take into account the implications of "day to day" politics, and the crucial role played by supra-national institutions and interests, in influencing the choices made by national governments when taking decisions at the "history-making" or "constitutional" level. Decisions concerning major institutional change in the European Union (EU) are taken unanimously by the governments of the member states of the EU. Ultimately, the choices made by national governments, and the outcome of the bargaining between national governments, determines the direction of the integration process. It is thus crucial to understand how member state governments choose between the alternatives available to them. Central to the argument developed in this paper is the thesis that an understanding of developments within the policy process may help us to understand how and why the dominant actors assumes particular negotiating positions on major "history-making" decisions. Hence, events in the "normal" or "day to day" politics of the EU may help to explain the process through which major institutional change takes place in the EU. The insights of the policy process, I argue, play an invaluable role in furthering our understanding of "the nature of the fundamental social actors, their preferences, and the constraints they face". The policies which emerge from the policy-making process, moreover, and the impact on the various actors of their participation in this process, may be critical factors in determining the role which national governments play and the positions which they adopt in the negotiations on the future of the EU. Thus, by altering the environments in which the dominant actors (member states) take critical "history-making" decisions, the activities of the institutions and other interests may also have had a major impact upon the integration process.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > decision making/policy-making
    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 > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2007
    Page Range: p. 16
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:45

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