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The European UnionHow does it work?

The European Union: How does it work? (6th edn)

Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, Richard Corbett, and John Peterson
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p. 279Glossarylocked

p. 279Glossarylocked

  • Daniel Kenealy,
  • Amelia Hadfield,
  • Richard Corbett
  •  and John Peterson

Many of the terms below are defined and elaborated in more detail in the ‘Key terms’ boxes in the chapters. Where this is the case, we simply refer you to the box number. The EU also has its own official glossary, which can be found here

Absorption capacity
(Box 9.1)
(Box 9.1)
(Box 6.1)
Acquis communautaire:
Denotes the rights and obligations derived from the EU treaties, laws, and Court rulings. In principle, new member states joining the EU must accept the entire acquis.
Advocate General:
Senior legal advisers to the judges of the CJEU, they assist the Court by writing impartial and independent opinions on cases.
Assent procedure
Protection provided by a government to a foreigner who is unable to stay in their country of citizenship/residence for fear of persecution.
Battle groups
combine national military resources at the ‘hard end’ of European capabilities in specialized areas. The EU decided in 2004 to create 20 Battle Groups, which would be deployable at short notice for limited deployments.
The use of comparison with other states or organizations with the aim of improving performance by learning from the experience of others.
(Box 6.1)
The group of staff and advisers that make up the private offices of senior EU figures, such as Commissioners.
Candidate (country)
(Box 9.1; Table 9.2)
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU
(Box 6.1)
Civil society
(Box 5.1)
Cohesion policy:
Introduced after the first enlargement in 1973, its aim has been to reduce inequality among regions and compensate for the costs of economic integration (see Chapter 7).
College of Commissioners:
The political apex of the European Commission, comprising the 27 commissioners and headed by the president (see Chapter 3).
Committee of Permanent Representatives
(see Coreper)
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
(Box 8.1)
Common market
(Box 7.1)
Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
(Box 8.1)
p. 280Community method
(Box 1.2)
(Box 5.1; Table 5.1)
(Box 9.1)
Consent procedure
(Box 5.2)
A school of thought drawing on cultural and sociological studies and emphasizing the non-rational ‘social construction’ of the collective rules and norms that guide political behaviour (see Chapter 1).
Consultation procedure
(Box 5.2).
(Committee of Permanent Representatives): The most important preparatory committee of the Council, Coreper is composed of heads of the Permanent Representation (EU ambassadors) and their supporting delegations maintained by each member state in Brussels. (See Chapter 3; see also Perm Reps.)
Cotonou Agreement:
Agreed in the African state of Bénin in 2000 and then revised repeatedly (most recently in 2010). It is the successor to the Lomé Convention and is claimed to be a ‘comprehensive partnership’ between former European colonies and the EU.
Council (of ministers)
(or Council of the European Union) (Box 1.3; Chapter 3)
Council presidency
(Box 4.6)
Country of origin (Rules of origin)
(Box 7.1)
Court of First Instance
Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
(Box 1.3; Chapter 3)
Customs union:
An area with a common external tariff quota system and a common commercial (trade) policy. The EU forms a customs union.
Decision, EU
(Box 5.1)
Democratic deficit
(Box 6.1)
(Box 6.1)
Differentiated integration:
The idea that integration does not have to involve all 27 EU-member states but can proceed in certain areas amongst groups of member states (and non-member states) (see Chapter 4).
Direct effect:
Established in the van Gend en Loos case (1963), the doctrine has become a distinguishing principle of EU law. Under direct effect, EU law applies directly to individuals (not just states) and national courts must enforce it.
Directive, EU
(Box 5.1)
Directorates General (DGs):
The primary administrative units within the Commission, comparable to national ministries or departments, each focusing on a specific area of policy.
(Box 5.1)
Dublin regulation:
A system to determine which EU member state is responsible for examining asylum applications.
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU):
A package of measures designed to harmonize the economic and monetary policies of participating member states. It includes the free movement of capital and convergence of monetary policies. Its most visible element is a single currency (the euro) adopted in 1999 with notes and coins circulating in 2002.
p. 281EDF
Elysée Treaty:
A treaty of friendship signed between Germany and France in 1963 signalling greater political cooperation.
Empty Chair Crisis
(Box 2.2)
The process of new member states joining the EU (see Table 9.1).
EU agency that coordinates cross-border investigations and criminal prosecutions.
European Asylum Support Office:
Established in 2011, an EU agency to increase member state cooperation in support of the Common European Asylum System.
European Central Bank
(Box 1.2; Chapter 3)
European Commission
(Box 1.3; Chapter 3)
European Committee of the Regions
(Box 3.6)
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
(Box 6.1)
European Council
(Box 1.3; Chapter 3)
European Court of Auditors (ECA)
(Box 3.6)
European Court of Justice (ECJ):
the ‘Supreme Court’ of the EU, which sits at the apex of the CJEU. It deals with requests for preliminary rulings from national courts and certain actions for annulment and appeals.
European Defence Agency (EDA):
created in 2004 ‘to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defense capabilities [particularly] in the field of crisis management and to sustain’ the CSDP. It aims to move the EU towards more cooperation in arms production and procurement.
European Defence Fund (EDF)
(Box 8.1)
European Economic Area (EEA):
an arrangement that extends the EU’s internal/single market to Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
(Box 3.6)
European External Action Service (EEAS)
(Box 8.1)
European Intervention Initiative
(Box 8.1)
European Investment Bank
(Box 3.6)
(Box 4.2)
European Parliament (EP)
(Box 1.3; Chapter 3)
European Political Cooperation (EPC):
The precursor to the CFSP, the EPC was launched in 1970 as a way for member states to coordinate their foreign policies and speak (and sometimes act) together when national policies overlapped.
European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)
The European Police Office designed to improve the effectiveness with which police forces across the EU could cooperate across national borders.
(Box 1.2; Box 4.3)
(Box 7.1)
p. 282Federalism:
Principle of sharing power and sovereignty between levels of governance, usually between central or federal level, and substate (state, provincial, Länder) level (see Box 1.6).
Free trade area (FTA):
An area in which restrictive trading measures are removed and goods can travel freely among its signatory states. These states retain authority to establish their own tariff levels and quotas for third countries.
the EU’s agency for the management of its external border. It was created in 2005 to coordinate Member States’ operational cooperation in external border controls, provide training to national border guards, carry out risk analyses, organize joint control operations, and assist Member States in migrant return operations (see Chapter 7).
GDP (Gross Domestic Product):
An index of the total value of all goods and services produced by a country, not counting overseas operations.
General Court
(of the EU): One of two courts comprising the CJEU, which rules on actions for annulment brought by individuals, companies and—sometimes—member states. It deals mainly with competition law, state aid, trade, and agriculture matters.
(Box 1.2)
GNP (Gross National Product):
An index of the total value of all goods and services produced by a country, including overseas trade—the most common measure of a country’s material wealth.
(Box 1.2)
High representative:
Akin to a ‘foreign minister’ for the EU, the high representative coordinates the EU’s external policy, chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, heads the European Defence Agency, and shapes the CFSP and CSDP. Sometimes called HR/VP as the person now serves as a vice-president of the Commission.
IGCs (Intergovernmental Conference):
Conferences bringing together representatives of member states to hammer out deals and consider amendments to the treaties, or other history-making decisions such as enlargement.
(European integration): The process whereby sovereign states pool national sovereignty to maximize their collective power and interests.
Integration (negative):
Integration through market-building and the removal of obstacles to trade. Less ambitious than positive integration.
Integration (positive):
Integration through the active promotion of common policies, which effectively replace national ones.
Intergovernmental Conferences
(see IGCs)
(Box 1.2)
Internal market
(or Single market) (Box 7.1)
(Box 1.2; Box 6.1)
(Box 5.1)
Luxembourg Compromise
(Box 2.2)
A system of exchange bringing together buyers and sellers of goods and services.
Marshall Plan
(Box 2.2)
Multilevel governance
(Box 1.2)
Multi-speed Europe:
The idea that not all member states have to move ahead with integration at the same pace/speed. See Variable geometry.
Mutual recognition:
A product made or sold legally in one member state cannot be barred in another member state if there is no threat to public health, public policy, or public safety. p. 283Established by the CJEU in the landmark case Cassis de Dijon (1979).
A theory of European integration which suggests that economic integration in certain sectors will provoke further integration in other sectors, and can lead to the formation of integrated supranational institutions (see spillover) (see Chapter 1).
Non-tariff barriers:
Regulations, such as national standards, that increase the cost of imports and thus have the equivalent effect of tariffs.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
(Box 1.2)
Ombudsman, EU
(Box 3.6)
(Box 5.1)
Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP):
Under this decision-making procedure the EP shares legal responsibility for legislating jointly with the Council (of ministers), typically on proposals from the Commission. (See Figure 5.1.)
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
(Box 8.1)
Path dependency:
The idea (developed especially by historical institutionalists—see Chapter 1) that once a particular policy path or course of action is taken it is difficult to turn back because of the ‘sunk costs’ (time and resources already invested). Used to explain why even policies that have outlived their usefulness remained unreformed.
Perm Reps:
EU-speak for the Permanent Representatives (EU ambassadors from the member states) and the Permanent Representations (akin to embassies) of each member state. Together the ‘Perm Reps’ from each of the member states make up Coreper.
Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
(Box 8.1)
Petersberg tasks:
A series of security tasks designed to strengthen European defence capability and the EU’s role as a civilian power, including humanitarian, rescue, and peacekeeping operations as well as tasks involving combat forces in crisis management. (See Chapter 8.)
Pillars (of the EU):
A shorthand term for describing the architecture created by the Maastricht Treaty, with the first pillar (the pre-existing EC) and the second (foreign and security policy) and third (justice and home affairs) pillars together constituting the ‘European Union’. (See Box 1.1.)
Policy networks:
Clusters of actors, each of whom has an interest or stake in a given policy sector and the capacity to help determine policy success or failure. (See Chapter 5.)
Political and Security Committee (PSC)
(Box 8.1)
Precedence, of EU law
(see Supremacy)
Public policy:
A course of action (decisions, actions, rules, laws, and so on) or inaction taken by government in regard to some public problem or issue. (See Chapter 5.)
Qualified Majority Voting (QMV)
(Box 3.3)
(Box 5.1)
Regulation, EU
(Box 5.1)
Schengen Agreement
(Box 2.2)
Schuman Plan
(Box 2.3)
p. 284Single market
(or Internal market) (Box 7.1)
Soft security:
a post-Cold War concept that refers to security that is obtained through non-military policy instruments (except in cases of peacekeeping) and does not involve territorial defence of the state—related to the ideas of ‘human security’ (defence of the citizen, as opposed to the state) and ‘homeland security’ (obtained via policies designed to eliminate internal security threats).
(Box 1.2)
The idea that integration has a self-reinforcing logic, as integration in one area of public policy creates pressure to integrate in other areas, thus ‘spilling over’ from area to another.
Strategic autonomy, European
(Box 8.1)
(Box 2.2)
(Box 1.2)
Supremacy (of EU law):
The idea that if a domestic law contradicts a EU obligation, European law prevails, established by the CJEU in Costa v. ENEL (1964).
Tour de table:
In the Council (of ministers) a ‘tour around the table’ allows each delegation to make an intervention on a given subject.
(Box 5.1)
(Box 5.1)
Variable geometry:
The idea that not all member states have to integrate in the same way, some can integrate in some areas, others not and there is no expectation that eventually integration will be uniform. See Differentiated integration and Multi-speed Europe.
Venue shopping:
The activities of an interest group searching (or ‘shopping’) for a decision setting most favourable or receptive to their policy claims.