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Delegation, Agency and Agenda Setting in the Treaty of Amsterdam


  • Pollack, Mark A.


This paper applies a principal-agent model of delegation, agency and agenda setting to the 1996 intergovernmental conference and the Treaty of Amsterdam, in order to understand both the delegation of powers to supranational organizations in the new Treaty, and the efforts of such organizations to set the agenda for the conference. At Amsterdam, the member governments of the European Union delegated new powers to the Commission, the Court of Justice, and especially the European Parliament; these new powers, however, are carefully hedged with elaborate mechanisms to control, if not eliminate, supranational autonomy in the future. In the intergovernmental conference, moreover, the EUs supranational organizations attempted to influence the outcome of the negotiations as informal agenda setters, but they were limited in their ability to do so by the information-rich content of the IGC. However, while the influence of the Commission, Court and Parliament was indeed limited in the intergovernmental conference and at Amsterdam, we should beware of generalizing from IGCs to the day-to-day workings of EU politics, where the powers of the supranational organizations are far greater than in any intergovernmental conference.

Suggested Citation

  • Pollack, Mark A., 1999. "Delegation, Agency and Agenda Setting in the Treaty of Amsterdam," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 3, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eiopxx:p0039

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    Cited by:

    1. Henry Farrell & Adrienne Héritier, 2006. "Codecision and Institutional Change," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 41, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    2. Berthold Rittberger, 2003. "Removing conceptual blinders: Under what conditions does the ‘democratic deficit’ affect institutional design decisions?," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0023, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
    3. Jens Steffek, 2008. "Public Accountability and the Public Sphere of International Governance," RECON Online Working Papers Series 3, RECON.


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