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Cover Politics in the European Union

18. Policy Making and Policies in the European Union  

This chapter examines policies and the patterns of policy making in the European Union (EU). First it surveys the range of EU policy responsibilities, and identifies ways in which policy dynamics differ between them, the most striking difference in policy making relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and its defence affiliate, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It then explores the different stages in the EU policy cycle: the passage of policy issues from agenda-setting stage through policy formulation and decision making to the implementation stage and feedback loops. In a final section, it identifies some important policy areas that are worth being aware of but where space precludes chapter-length treatment.


Cover The European Union

7. Internal Policies of the EU  

Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos and Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines some of the EU’s key internal policies. The chapter begins by considering the different kinds of power that the EU possesses, and how that differs from national governments, before considering the EU’s reliance on member states to implement many of its policies. The chapter explores three types of internal policy. First, it discusses policies designed to build and expand the internal market, which remains the foundation of the project of European integration. Second, it explores policies designed to cushion, or correct, the impact of the internal market. Finally, it discusses policies that have taken the EU into new realms, beyond the original vision of constructing an internal market—realms that are associated with core state powers such as money, borders, and internal security.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

6. Competition Policy  

The Politics of Competence Expansion

Mark Thatcher

This chapter examines the European Union’s competition policy. It shows that the EU’s legal powers in general competition policy—over restrictive practices, abuse of a dominant position, mergers, state aid, and state monopolies—are very extensive and highly supranational with few direct controls for national governments. The chapter then studies two views of the application of these powers—that they have been used in a more ‘neo-liberal’ manner in recent decades or that they continue to provide scope for industrial policies of supporting European champion firms. It underlines that the Commission has been an active and central player in policy-making, together with the European Court. But all actors operate in a wider context of large powerful firms as well as experts and practitioners in competition policy. The chapter concludes by analysing how the economic crisis after 2008 has reignited debates about altering the criteria for policy to give more place to aims other than protecting competition, to offer more space to national policy-makers, and to provide greater scrutiny and accountability for the Commission, as well as greater action to deal with the new ‘digital tech giants’, but that these encounter significant obstacles.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

1. An Overview  

Mark A. Pollack, Christilla Roederer-Rynning, and Alasdair R. Young

The European Union represents a remarkable, ongoing experiment in the collective governance of a multinational continent of nearly 450 million citizens and 27 member states. The key aim of this volume is to understand the processes that produce EU policies: that is, the decisions (or non-decisions) by EU public authorities facing choices between alternative courses of public action. We do not advance any single theory of EU policy-making, although we do draw extensively on theories of European integration, international cooperation, comparative politics, and contemporary governance; and we identify five ‘policy modes’ operating across the 15 case study chapters in the volume. This chapter introduces the volume by summarizing our collective approach to understanding policy-making in the EU, identifying the significant developments that have impacted EU policy-making since the seventh edition of this volume, and previewing the case studies and their central findings.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

14. Energy Policy  

Sharp Challenges and Rising Ambitions

David Buchan

This chapter examines three strands of the European Union’s energy policy: the internal energy market, energy security, and climate change. Energy policy has rapidly gained in importance for the EU, as it faces the challenges of creating an internal energy market, increasing energy security, and playing an active role in combating climate change. Reform of the energy market has been a constant activity since the late 1980s and has been based on liberalizing cross-border competition, but this could be increasingly undermined by member-state intervention and subsidy to promote renewable energy and to ensure adequate back-up power. Efforts to curb energy use and to develop a low-carbon economy are at the heart of Europe’s new programmes and targets to combat climate change. The chapter shows that each of the three strands of the EU’s energy policy involve different policy-making communities and illustrate a range of different policy modes.