This chapter examines how European Union policies are made. Most EU legislation is now adopted according to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, under which the Council and the European Parliament have equal powers. The basic policy-making rules laid down in the Treaties have been supplemented over the years by formal agreements and informal understandings between the main actors in the decision-making institutions. EU policy-making is open to criticism on grounds of democracy, transparency, and efficiency, but it continues to deliver an impressive amount and array of policy outcomes. The chapter considers the basic rules and principal actors involved in EU policy-making and how the policy-making process works in practice. It also asks whether the EU policy-making process is democratic, transparent, and efficient, before concluding with an assessment of the theory and practice underlying the process.
Daniel Kenealy and Fiona Hayes-Renshaw
This chapter explores policy outcomes by looking at a number of European countries. It considers some salient policy areas, including those that are decided primarily at the national level, for example health, and policies that are determined at the more macro, European Union (EU) level, for example trade. It also looks at policy areas that involve shared decision-making across different levels of government, examples here include immigration and the environment. The chapter also focuses on the role of position-taking by political parties and other groups, such as interest groups and social groups or movements. It considers how these explain variations in policy outcomes.
Michael J. Hiscox
This chapter examines the domestic sources of foreign economic policies. Different people in every society typically have different views about what their government should do when it comes to setting the policies that regulate international trade, immigration, investment, and exchange rates. These competing demands must be reconciled in some way by the political institutions that govern policy making. To really understand the domestic origins of foreign economic policies, we need to perform two critical tasks: identify or map the policy preferences of different groups in the domestic economy; and specify how political institutions determine the way these preferences are aggregated or converted into actual government decisions. The first task requires some economic analysis, while the second requires some political analysis. These two analytical steps put together like this, combining both economic and political analysis in tandem, are generally referred to as the political economy approach to the study of policy outcomes. The chapter then considers the impact of domestic politics on bargaining over economic issues between governments at the international level.