Interlinking neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism: Sidelining governments and manipulating policy preferences as "passerelles"
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'.
|Date of creation:||15 Mar 2011|
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