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After Hierarchy? The Differentiated Impact of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers on Domestic Executive Governance


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  • Torbjörn Larsson
  • Jarle Trondal
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    This study offers an organisation theory approach arguing that the differentiated organisatational constellation of the European Union contributes to a differentiated penetration of domestic government decision-making processes. It is argued that the European Commission mainly activates the lower echelons of the domestic government hierarchies, notably professional experts within sector ministries and agencies. Furthermore, the European Commission arguably weakens domestic politico-administrative leadership, the Foreign Office and the Prime Ministers Office. By contrast, the Council of Ministers arguably strengthens domestic politico-administrative leadership, the Foreign Office and the Prime Ministers Office. An illustrative empirical analysis of decision-making processes within the central administrations of Norway and Sweden is offered to illustrate the differentiated domestic impact of the Commission and the Council. Based on a rich body of survey and interview data this analysis reveals that intimate processes of interpenetration between the European Commission and the Norwegian and Swedish central administrations occur largely outside the control of the domestic politico-administrative leadership, Prime Ministers Office and Foreign Office. In Sweden this tendency is somewhat counterbalanced by the inter-sectorally interlocking effect of the Council of Ministers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ARENA in its series ARENA Working Papers with number 22.

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    Date of creation: 24 Aug 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0202

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    Keywords: European Commission; European Council; organization theory; governance; Norway; Sweden;

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