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Chapter

Cover The European Union

11. Conclusion  

Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, and Richard Corbett

The EU is extraordinary, complex and—in important respects—unique. This concluding chapter revisits three key themes that can help structure understanding of the EU: experimentation and change; power sharing and consensus; and scope and capacity. It also returns to the question: how can we best explain the EU and how it works? Finally, the chapter confronts the question: ‘Where do we go from here’? Does knowing how the EU works give clues about how it might work in the future? In light of the COVID-19 pandemic will the EU develop in a more intergovernmental or federal manner? Or will the sort of flexible pragmatism that has helped the EU survive to this point characterize the future?

Book

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

Edited by Dermot Hodson, Uwe Puetter, Sabine Saurugger, and John Peterson

The Institutions of the European Union is the key text for anyone wishing to understand the functions, powers, and composition of the EU’s institutions. Written and edited by a team of leading international experts, the text offers a comprehensive analysis and explanation of all the most important organizations and their roles in the governance and management of the EU. The fifth edition has been substantially revised, featuring a range of newly authored chapters and including coverage of the most important developments affecting the institutions of the European Union as they contend with the changing dynamics of European integration. Up-to-date chapters examine current challenges, including the rise of populism and how it is wielded by politicians to target EU institutions, the climate emergency, and the EU’s bold new policy commitments to make the Union climate neutral by 2050, as well as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authoritative yet accessible, The Institutions of the European Union is the best guide to how institutions work together to provide political direction, manage the European Union, govern policies, and integrate contrasting interests within the EU.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

13. Europeanization and Member State Institutions  

Hussein Kassim and Vanessa Buth

This chapter examines the impact of Europeanization on member state institutions. Membership in the European Union imposes a variety of constraints and burdens on countries, but it also affords important opportunities and makes available significant resources. Integration initially reinforced the decline of national legislatures, but they have fought back in the last decade. National courts have assumed new functions and become part of a wider Community of law. At the same, the precise effects of the EU have varied cross-nationally as the demands of membership have interacted with differing constitutional arrangements, legal traditions, and political cultures. Moreover, national institutions such as governments, parliaments, and courts have left their mark on the EU and determine to a large extent the capacities of the Union as a system. The chapter considers how EU membership has affected national governments, national parliaments, and national courts.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

2. Member States in European Integration  

Christopher Bickerton

This chapter explores the role of member states in European integration. It first looks at the idea of member statehood, exploring its ambiguities and arguing for a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to be a ‘member state’ of the EU. The chapter considers in detail the role played by member states in the EU, highlighting in particular the centrality of member state governments and their power to EU policy-making and its institutions. At the same time it notes the relative absence of member state publics. The chapter ends with a reflection on whether there is a return of the nation-state, with its associated trends of nationalism and inter-state rivalry.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

2. The history of EU institutions:  

seven decades of institutional change

Renaud Dehousse and Paul Magnette

EU institutions have frequently been reformed since the origins of what is now the European Union (EU), and particularly so over the past twenty years. This chapter explains why and how this quasi-constant change has taken place. It begins by identifying five phases in this history: the founding, consolidation, relaunch, adaptation, and the current phase of reaction to functional challenges. The chapter then assesses the respective weight of state interests, ideas, and institutions in the evolution of EU institutions. In retrospect, institutional change in the EU appears to have followed a functionalist logic, leading to complex compromises that, in turn, prompt regular calls for ‘simplification’ and democratization.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

5. Germany: A German Europe or a Europeanized Germany?  

Timm Beichelt and Simon Bulmer

This chapter examines Germany’s profile as a European Union member state. It is divided into two parts, looking at EU-Germany relations from both bottom-up and top-down perspectives. The first considers Germany’s increasing influence on the EU, notably during the eurozone and refugee crises. It considers the question of whether Germany has assumed the role of the EU’s hegemon. At the same time the chapter argues that Germany is a very Europeanized member state. It uses the comparative politics paradigm by considering public opinion on Europe, the European dimension of party politics, and the Federal Republic’s major political institutions and their role in European policy. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the two perspectives, seeking a balance between the arguments for a German Europe and a Europeanized Germany.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

10. Current and Future Challenges  

Amelia Amelia, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett

As it moves into the third decade of the 21st century, the EU faces a number of new and unprecedented challenges–as well as some perennial ones. The chapter opens with a discussion of the challenges posed by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit). It goes on to consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed a series of pre-existing internal and external policy challenges, as well as creating new ones. These in turn have raised questions about various aspects of the EU’s governance, from the size and scope of its budget to the quality of democracy across its member states; from the role of the Commission to decision-making rules in the Council. How well the EU responds to these many challenges will shape the future of the Union.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

10. Bulgaria’s Slow Europeanization  

Petia Gueorguieva

The chapter analyses the Bulgarian experience of Europeanization: its achievements, weaknesses, and patterns of convergence with EU norms and rules. The chapter is structured in four parts. First, it offers a brief historical overview of Bulgarian accession to the EU. Secondly, the impact of EU membership on public opinion and political parties is evaluated. The third part presents the impact of EU membership on Bulgarian political institutions and governance. Finally, a brief comparison is offered with the Romanian experience of Europeanization. The underlying argument is that the process of Europeanization has been a slow one.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

9. Poland: Model European or Awkward Partner?  

Nathaniel Copsey and Karolina Pomorska

This chapter examines the pattern of Poland’s relations with the European Union during the period 1989–2011. Poland took an early decision in 1989 to place European integration at the centre of its plans for democratization and modernization. Post-accession opinion in Poland on the EU was initially divided between an increasingly Europhile public and an occasionally Eurosceptic political class. By the time of the Polish Presidency of the EU in 2011, however, Poland had largely shed its reputation for awkwardness and had achieved a few policy successes, particularly in relations with its Eastern neighbours. The chapter explains how Poland came to join the EU and assesses the impact of its EU membership on domestic politics, public opinion, institutions, governance, and public policy. It concludes by considering the re-emergent divide between elite and public attitudes since the 2015 elections and tensions with the EU over the rule of law.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

17. EU institutional politics:  

growing wiser?

Dermot Hodson, Uwe Puetter, and Sabine Saurugger

The establishment, consolidation, and transformation of EU institutions—in short, EU institutional politics—is the subject of this book. This chapter asks how the different institutions surveyed are situated along the five dimensions of EU institutional politics: (1) intergovernmental vs supranational; (2) international vs transnational; (3) separate vs fused; (4) followers vs leaders; and (5) legitimate vs contested. We show that while tension between supranational and intergovernmental bodies remains a key dimension of EU institutional politics, the four other institutional dimensions have become more pronounced, especially as the crises facing European integration have become more salient over the past twenty years. These crises have not had a homogenous or unidirectional effect on EU institutional politics. The chapter also looks to the future of EU institutions, including institutional tensions over EU–UK relations after Brexit and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

13. The institutions of the Common Foreign and Security Policy:  

between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism

Ana E. Juncos

This chapter examines the institutional arrangements in the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The chapter first charts the historical development of this policy, with foreign policy cooperation being one of the last policy areas to emerge at the EU level. Thus, many of the institutions operating in this area have only been recently established, including the High Representative, the European External Action Service, and many of the administrative bodies supporting the implementation of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, which comprises the EU’s civilian and military operations. The chapter then analyses the main institutional actors involved in the CFSP, focusing on their ability to shape the decision-making and implementation of this policy. The following sections also examine the five dimensions of EU institutional politics and how these play out in this particular area, highlighting the key challenges the EU faces in becoming a fully fledged international actor.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

16. The Court of Justice of the European Union  

This chapter focuses on the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which comprises two courts: the CJEU and the General Court. It first provides an overview of the CJEU’s structure and functions, and then discusses some of its main rulings and their significance. It further considers rulings on the powers of the institutions, some key legal judgments made in response to questions referred to the CJEU by national courts, the impact of CJEU rulings on EU policy, and post-Maastricht trends in the CJEU and EU law. It also assesses the evolving political reactions towards the judgments of the Court, along with the debate over whether the member states have been able to effectively curb the CJEU’s radical jurisprudence.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

3. The EU’s Institutions  

Richard Corbett, Daniel Kenealy, and Amelia Hadfield

It is impossible to understand the EU without a careful study of its key institutions and how they work. This chapter examines the six key institutions of the EU: the European Commission; the Council (of ministers); the European Council; the European Parliament; the Court of Justice of the European Union; and the European Central Bank. The chapter discusses the structures and formal powers of the six institutions and how these powers have evolved in practice over time. While it may be tempting to regard EU institutions as dry and complex, they are also dynamic organisms exercising a unique mix of legislative, executive, and judicial power. The chapter explains why these institutions matter in determining EU politics and policy more generally, focusing on three central themes: the extent to which the EU is an experiment in motion; the importance of power sharing and consensus; and the capacity of the EU structures to cope with the Union’s expanding size and scope.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

5. The Institutional Framework  

Sophie Vanhoonacker and Karolina Pomorska

This chapter examines the institutional context of the European Union's international relations. EU institutions such as the Council, Commission, European Parliament, and the Court of Justice play substantially different roles depending on the policy area. Such variations reflect differing paths of evolution and the different degrees of integration in different areas of external policy. The chapter first considers how we should think about the roles of institutions before discussing some of the key ideas about the ways in which the EU's institutions work. It then explores how institutions affect three policy areas: the Common Commercial Policy, development cooperation policy and humanitarian aid, and European foreign policy and security cooperation. It also describes four propositions that explain why institutions matter and shows that that change in EU membership and in the institutional arrangements in the global arena has had important implications for the development of the EU's ‘internal’ institutions.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

4. ‘France is back’ … in a French Europe  

Olivier Rozenberg

This chapter examines France’s relationship with the European Union by focusing on the heterogeneity of adaptation to the EU. While public policy and legislation became increasingly Europeanized, the EU had a limited impact on political life and the domestic institutional system. This situation changed during the 2010s, as revealed by the 2017 presidential elections and the arrival of President Macron. The chapter considers patterns in France–EU relations before discussing the impact of EU membership on public opinion and political parties. It then looks at the Europeanization of French politics and the impact of EU membership on French institutions as well as public policy. The chapter argues that while domestic politicization is recent, there remains considerable continuity in other aspects of France’s adaptation to the EU.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

8. Sweden: Shedding Exceptionalism in the Face of Europeanization  

Anna Michalski

This chapter examines the adaptations that have occurred in Sweden’s political and administrative system following its admission to the European Union on 1 January 1995. Sweden became a member of the EU on 1 January 1995 after a long period of hesitation. After fifteen years of membership, reticence has given way to a more positive stance, best characterized as pragmatic support. The chapter first considers patterns in Sweden’s membership in the EU before discussing Swedish public opinion towards the EU and the impact of Sweden’s EU membership on the country’s political parties, political institutions, public administration, and sub-national actors such as the civil service. The chapter goes on to explore Sweden’s approach to EU public policy and concludes by comparing its experience with those of other member states, including Austria and Finland.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

6. Democracy in the EU  

Richard Corbett and Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines the democratic credentials of the EU. Beginning with a discussion of the idea of democracy beyond the state, it explores academic debates about whether the EU suffers a ‘democratic deficit’. The chapter evaluates the EU along various dimensions, including how powers are separated and divided within the EU, the extent to which executive accountability is established, and the various mechanisms of representation in the EU. It explores the nature of European elections, the role of European political parties, the role of national parliaments in EU policy-making and recent innovations in the way that the president of the European Commission is chosen. The chapter concludes with a discussion of fundamental rights, values, and the rule of the law in the EU with a particular focus on recent developments in Hungary and Poland.