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Interlinking neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism: Sidelining governments and manipulating policy preferences as "passerelles"

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  • Gerda Falkner
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    Abstract

    The EU's founding fathers had the protection of the EU's constituent units as a key concern and set up serious hurdles to policy innovation in the absence of unanimous governmental agreement. These institutional design features, aptly characterised as "joint-decision trap" by Fritz W. Scharpf, were only softened but not erased over time. Nonetheless, the problem of how to innovate has, at times, been overcome through eclectic means. There are indeed some well known and quite visible practices as well as some less expected and more obscure strategies that have propelled the EU's policy system beyond what has for a long time been expected. This paper argues that there are two strategic moves the European Commission (and, at times, other supranational actors such as the European Court of Justice) can use to actively overcome member state opposition: first, sidelining some or even all national governments; and, second, manipulating relevant policy preferences. These two basic strategies can be seen to interconnect the diverging basic assumptions of intergovernmentalism and neofunctionalism as 'passerelles'.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for European integration research (EIF) in its series Working Papers of the Vienna Institute for European integration research (EIF) with number 3.

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    Date of creation: 15 Mar 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:eifxxx:p0021

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    Web page: http://www.eif.oeaw.ac.at

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    Keywords: political science; joint decision making; unanimity; integration theory; intergovernmentalism; neo-functionalism;

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    1. Schimmelfennig, Frank, 2001. "The Community Trap: Liberal Norms, Rhetorical Action, and the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 47-80, December.
    2. Eising, Rainer, 2002. "Policy Learning in Embedded Negotiations: Explaining EU Electricity Liberalization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 85-120, December.
    3. Christian Joerges & Florian Rödl, 2008. "On the Social Deficit of the European Integration Project and its Perpetuation through the ECJ-Judgements in Viking and Laval," RECON Online Working Papers Series 6, RECON.
    4. Schmitter, Philippe C., 1969. "Three Neo-Functional Hypotheses About International Integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(01), pages 161-166, December.
    5. Sandholtz, Wayne, 1993. "Choosing union: monetary politics and Maastricht," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 1-39, December.
    6. Wayne Snvdholtz, 1996. "Membership Matters: Limits of the Functional Approach to European Institutions," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 403-429, 09.
    7. Alter, Karen J., 1998. "Who Are the “Masters of the Treaty”?: European Governments and the European Court of Justice," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 121-147, December.
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