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15. European parties:  

a powerful caucus in the European Parliament and beyond

Tapio Raunio

The party system of the European Parliament (EP) has been dominated by the two main European party families: centre-right conservatives and Christian democrats, on the one hand, and centre-left social democrats on the other, which controlled the majority of the seats until the 2019 elections. In the early 1950s, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) decided to form party-political groups, instead of national blocs, to counterbalance the dominance of national interests in the Council. Over the decades, the shape of the EP party system has become more stable, and traditional levels of group cohesion and coalition formation have not really been affected by the rise of populism and the increasing politicization of European integration. National parties remain influential within party groups, not least through their control of candidate selection. Outside of the Parliament, Europarties—parties operating at the European level—influence both the broader development of integration and the choice of the Commission president.

Chapter

This chapter examines the party system of the European Parliament (EP). In the early 1950s, members of the EP decided to form party-political groups instead of national blocs to counterbalance the dominance of national interests in the European Council. Since then, the party groups have gradually, but consistently, consolidated their positions in the EP. The chapter first considers the shape of the EP party system, the structure of the party groups, and the role of national parties within them. It then looks at the Spitzenkandidaten (lead candidates) initiative, whereby the Europarties put forward their own candidates for the Commission President in the 2014 elections. It also discusses coalition politics and parliamentary committees as well as electoral accountability in the EP and concludes with an overview of the state of research on the EP party system, emphasizing the need to understand how coalitions are formed in the committees and the plenary.

Chapter

This chapter examines possible futures for American foreign policy in terms of the interests and ideology of the U.S. elites (and to a lesser extent the population at large), the structures of U.S. political life, and the real or perceived national interests of the United States. It first provides an overview of the ideological roots of U.S. foreign policy before discussing key contemporary challenges for U.S. foreign policy. In particular, it considers American relations with China, how to mobilize U.S. military power for foreign policy goals, and the issue of foreign aid. The chapter proceeds by analysing the most important features of America’s future foreign policies, focusing on the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Europe and the transatlantic relationship. It concludes by describing some catastrophic scenarios that could accelerate the decline of US power.

Chapter

14. The Committee of Permanent Representatives:  

integrating interests and the logics of action

Jeffrey Lewis

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) originated as a diplomatic forum to meet regularly and prepare meetings of the Council of Ministers. It quickly and quietly evolved into a locus of continuous negotiation and de facto decision-making, gaining a reputation as ‘the place to do the deal’. This reputation is based on insulation from domestic audiences and an unrivalled ability to make deals stick across a range of issue areas and policy subjects. Most importantly, Coreper spotlights the process of integrating interests in a collective decision-making system with its own organizational culture, norms, and style of discourse. In actual operation, the Committee has much to offer institutional theorizing, as multiple ‘logics’ of action are discernible and often complexly entwined.

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This chapter examines the role of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) in the European Union. Coreper originated as a diplomatic forum to meet regularly and prepare meetings of the Council of Ministers. It evolved into a locus of continuous negotiation and de facto decision-making, gaining a reputation as ‘the place to do the deal’. Coreper is the site in EU decision-making where national interests and European solutions interact more frequently, more intensively, and across more issue areas than any other. The chapter first provides an overview of the origins of Coreper before discussing its structure and powers. It then considers how Coreper, as an institutional environment, gives rise to what neo-institutionalists call ‘logic of appropriateness’, which informs bargaining behaviour and influences everyday decision-making outcomes.

Chapter

Morten Egeberg

This chapter provides a general introduction to the European Commission, the main executive body of the European Union (EU). It argues that it is more productive to compare the Commission to national executives or to a government than to a secretariat of a traditional international organization. It begins with a summary of the Commission’s functions within the EU’s policy process. It then considers the question of Commission influence and autonomy, before moving on to look at the structure, demography, and decision behaviour within the organization—that is, at the role of the President of the Commission and the Commissioners, at the Commissioners’ personal staffs, and at the Commission administration. It then examines the committees and administrative networks that link the Commission to national administrations and interest groups, and also deals with the recent growth of EU agencies. The chapter concludes by emphasizing that the Commission is much more of a European(ized) and supranational institution than it was at its inception.

Chapter

Morten Egeberg

This chapter provides a general introduction to the European Commission, the main executive body of the European Union (EU). It argues that it is more productive to compare the Commission to national executives or to a government than to a secretariat of a traditional international organization. It begins with a summary of the Commission’s functions within the EU’s policy process. It then considers the question of Commission influence and autonomy, before moving on to look at the structure, demography, and decision behaviour within the organization—that is, at the role of the President of the Commission and the Commissioners, at the Commissioners’ personal staffs, and at the Commission administration. It then examines the committees and administrative networks that link the Commission to national administrations and interest groups, and the recent growth of EU agencies. The chapter concludes by emphasizing that the Commission is much more of a European(ized) and supranational institution than it was at its inception.

Chapter

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms by drawing on both the scholarly and policy relevant literatures. It begins with a discussion of the development of human security, focusing on the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms. These include the United Nations Development Program’s 1994 Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter proceeds by considering the intellectual and institutional genealogy of human security. Finally, it analyses the most trenchant critiques of human security, which can be categorised into: too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.

Chapter

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security. It does so in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms, drawing on both the scholarly and policy-relevant literatures. The chapter describes the development of human security, with references to the academic literature where necessary. Accordingly, the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms, are examined. These include the 1994 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter takes up a recurring question about the newness of human security by looking at its intellectual and institutional genealogy. The chapter provides a detailed overview of the most trenchant critiques of human security. These critiques are placed into the following categories—too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.