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Shaping and Taking EU Policies: Member State Responses to Europeanization


  • Tanja Boerzel


For decades, research in the field of European Studies adopted a 'bottom-up' perspective in analyzing Member State responses to Europeanization. The literature was mainly concerned with how to conceptualize and explain the effect of Member States on processes and outcomes of European integration. In the 1990s, students of European integration became increasingly interested in how the Member States responded to the impact of European processes and institutions. The 'top-down' literature has focused on the effect of the evolving European system of governance on the political institutions, policies, and political processes of the Member States. While most studies on the domestic impact of Europe emphasize that the relationship between the EU and its Member States is not a one-way street, they usually bracket European institutions and processes, i.e. take them as given and analyze their effects on the Member States. How Member States responses to Europeanization feed back into EU institutions and policy processes is rarely explored. This paper presents one way of linking the top-down and bottom-up dimension of Europeanization by focusing on the role of national governments as both shapers and takers of EU policies. More specifically, it seeks to identify the factors that define the capacity of member states to shape and take EU policies. Evidence from the field of environmental policy indicates that political factors, such as domestic veto players or institutional weight in EU decision-making, are of little explanatory power. The administrative capacity (resources, level of corruption, fragmentation of competencies) appears to be much more important for a member states in their attempts to effectively shape and take EU policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Tanja Boerzel, 2003. "Shaping and Taking EU Policies: Member State Responses to Europeanization," Queen's Papers on Europeanisation p0035, Queens University Belfast.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:queens:p0035

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    Cited by:

    1. Schäfer, Armin, 2004. "A new form of governance? Comparing the open method of coordination to multilateral surveillance by the IMF and the OECD," MPIfG Working Paper 04/5, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Matei, Lucica & Matei, Ani, 2010. "The Economic and Social Impact of Public Administration Europeanization," MPRA Paper 24267, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Europeanization; policy coordination; legitimacy;

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