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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.


Cover British Politics

9. Governing from Below  

This chapter studies a key aspect of delegation in British politics: decentralization and local/national self-government. It deals with local government in England, and government in the devolved territories/nations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Decentralization in British politics has formed into a complex pattern, where there are different dynamics in the various territories: relative centralization in England, power-sharing in Northern Ireland, pragmatic devolution in Wales, and then a strong push towards independence in Scotland. For a question about how centralized or decentralized British politics is, the answer would need to be based on where a person lives, with England rehearsing the conventional arguments about constitutional centralization and the rest of the country increasing decentralization, if not a form of federalism. The chapter then assesses the question of the rationale and general stability of the system, with respect to the integrity of the UK as a whole.


Cover European Union Politics

15. Citizens and Public Opinion in the European Union  

Simona Guerra and Hans-Jörg Trenz

This chapter provides an overview of trends in public opinion towards the European Union (EU). The chapter also discusses the key factors thought to explain differences in mass opinion regarding the EU. These include political economy and rationality; that is, opinions stemming from calculations about the costs and benefits of the EU; perceptions of the national government (domestic proxies); the influence of political elites; political psychology, including cognitive mobilization (attentiveness to politics) and concerns about the loss of national identity; and, finally, the role of the mass media in driving opinions regarding the EU.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

9. From Deadlock to Dynamism  

The European Community in the 1980s

N. Piers Ludlow

This chapter examines the origins of the European Community's (EC) transformation, arguing that the most important factor was the emergence of a new degree of consensus among economic and political leaders about what ‘Europe’ should do. In the course of the mid-1980s, the EC went from being a seemingly moribund entity to a rapidly developing success story. The launch of the single market programme revitalized the EC, helped it overcome long-standing institutional paralyses, created onward pressure for yet more integration, and forced the rest of the world to pay heed to the European integration process once more. The chapter explains how the apparently narrow target of establishing an internal market within the EC encouraged multiple other efforts to integrate Western Europe more closely. It also considers the important role played by national governments and the European Council in shaping the direction of European integration.


Cover Foundations of European Politics

1. Introduction  

The Introduction argues that to understand European politics there are two premises that need to be accepted. Firstly, the interplay between European and national-level politics must be taken seriously. The two cannot be studied independently. Secondly, a theoretical model of politics is necessary to help us to make assumptions about politics explicit and to ensure that the arguments used are logically consistent. Models help us to zoom in on a particular aspect of politics and apply our analysis to real-life examples. It also helps us to spot the similarities and differences across political systems and governments so we can make comparisons. The Introduction answers the question: why focus on Europe? One of the most obvious reasons is that Europe is the home to the largest number and variety of democratic governments anywhere in the world.


Cover Exploring Parliament

26. MPs Campaigning for their Constituencies  

Oonagh Gay

This chapter examines the mechanisms used by Members of Parliament (MPs) to campaign for their constituencies, and more specifically to influence policy agendas and become national figures. There are clear personal and career factors that make constituency campaigning worthwhile to MPs. In terms of themes adopted for campaigns, unemployment has long been at the heart of constituency projects. The chapter first considers the reasons why MPs undertake constituency projects before discussing the first modern example of how constituency unemployment could be used to win national publicity, the Jarrow Crusade led by the Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson. It then explains how MPs raise constituency issues in the UK Parliament and use their party machinery to lobby ministers. It also explores the ways in which the clash between constituency interests and government policy pose dilemmas for MPs as ministers.