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Chapter

The Introduction asks: what do we mean when we talk about politics? On one level, politics is about the interactions between people. However, more specifically, it is about how a society is run. The term for this is ‘governance’. Governance involves who makes the decisions, how they make decisions, and how they put those decisions into effect. This first chapter relates this definition to the UK political system as it exists today. It provides a short analysis of the effectiveness of the UK system in terms of how it has evolved and what changes have been made over time. It takes a brief look at how the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has shown up problems in the UK political system.

Chapter

Thomas Christiano

This chapter looks at democracy. The term ‘democracy’ refers very generally to a method of group decision making that is characterized by a kind of equality among the participants at an essential stage. To evaluate the arguments of democratic theorists, we must decide on the merits of the different principles, and conceptions, of humanity and society from which they proceed. We can evaluate democracy along at least two different dimensions: instrumentally, by reference to the outcomes of using it compared with other methods of political decision making; or intrinsically, by reference to qualities that are inherent in the method — for example, whether there is something inherently fair about making democratic decisions about matters on which people disagree. A vexing problem of democracy is whether ordinary citizens are up to the task of governing a large society. The chapter then offers some solutions for the problem of democratic citizenship.

Chapter

This chapter examines the European Union’s policy-making process with a comparative perspective. It outlines the stages of the policy-making process (agenda-setting, policy formation, decision-making, implementation, and policy feedback) and considers the prevailing approaches to analysing each of these stages. It also shows how these approaches apply to studying policy-making in the EU. Themes addressed in this chapter include policy-making and the policy cycle, the players in the policy process, executive politics, legislative politics, and judicial politics. The chapter argues that theories rooted in comparative politics and international relations can help elucidate the different phases of the EU’s policy process. It concludes by explaining why policy-making varies across issue areas within the EU.

Chapter

Alasdair R. Young and Christilla Roederer-Rynning

This chapter examines the European Union’s policy-making process with a comparative perspective. It outlines the stages of the policy-making process (agenda-setting, policy formation, decision-making, implementation, and policy feedback) and considers the prevailing approaches to analysing each of these stages. It also shows how these approaches apply to studying policy-making in the EU. Themes addressed in this chapter include policy-making and the policy cycle, the players in the policy process, executive politics, legislative politics, and judicial politics. The chapter argues that theories rooted in comparative politics and international relations can help elucidate the different phases of the EU’s policy process. It concludes by explaining why policy-making varies across issue areas within the EU.

Chapter

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the Eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system— the lack of genuine democratic politics.

Chapter

9. The Budget  

Who Gets What, When, and How?

Brigid Laffan and Johannes Lindner

This chapter examines the European Union’s budgetary procedures with an eye towards elucidating the characteristics of budgetary politics and policy-making. Where EU money comes from, how it is spent, and the processes by which it is distributed are the subjects of intense political bargaining. Budgets matter politically, because money represents the commitment of resources to the provision of public goods and involves political choices across sectors and regions. The chapter first provides a thumbnail sketch of the EU budget before looking at the major players involved in the budgetary process. It then considers budgetary politics over time, focusing on two phases, one dominated by budgetary battles and other by ordered budgetary decision-making. It also discusses the relevant provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon with respect to budgetary procedures and concludes with an assessment of the budget review and how the EU manages a larger budget.

Book

Simon Bulmer, Owen Parker, Ian Bache, Stephen George, and Charlotte Burns

Politics in the European Union examines the theory, history, institutions, and policies of the European Union (EU). The EU is a unique, complex, and ever-changing political entity, which continues to shape both international politics and the politics of its individual member states. The text provides a clear analysis of the organization and presents a well-rounded introduction to the subject. Complete and detailed in its coverage, including coverage of the eurozone, refugee crises, and Brexit, along with the latest theoretical developments, the text provides a comprehensive assessment of EU politics and policy at the start of the 2020s. The book is divided into four parts: Part One provides the student with a strong foundation in political theory and analysis; Part Two charts European integration from 1995 through to the 2010s; Part Three addresses the distinctive character of the EU institutions; and in Part Four, key EU policy areas, both internal and external, are covered.

Chapter

9. The Budget  

Who Gets What, When, and How?

Brigid Laffan and Johannes Lindner

This chapter examines the European Union’s budgetary procedures with an eye towards elucidating the characteristics of budgetary politics and policy-making. Where EU money comes from, how it is spent, and the processes by which it is distributed are the subjects of intense political bargaining. Budgets matter politically, because money represents the commitment of resources to the provision of public goods and involves political choices across sectors and regions. The chapter first provides a thumbnail sketch of the EU budget before looking at the major players involved in the budgetary process. It then considers budgetary politics over time, focusing on two phases, one dominated by budgetary battles and the other by ordered budgetary decision-making, and shedding light on the EU’s large-scale budgetary response to the Covid-19 pandemic which marks an important step within the evolution of the EU budget. Finally, the chapter also provides an assessment of how the EU manages a larger budget.

Chapter

David Judge, Cristina Leston-Bandeira, and Louise Thompson

This concluding chapter reflects on the future of parliamentary politics by identifying key puzzles implicit in previous discussions which raise fundamental questions about what Parliament is and why it exists. The goal is to determine the ‘predictable unknowns’ as starting points for exploring the future. Three principal puzzles that need ‘hard thinking’ in order to understand legislatures are considered: representation, collective decision-making, and their role in the political system. The chapter also examines the difficulties in reconciling ideas about popular sovereignty and direct public participation with notions of parliamentary sovereignty and indirect public participation in decision-making; the implications of the legislative task of disentangling UK law from EU law in the wake of Brexit for Parliament's recent strengthened scrutiny capacity; and how Parliament has integrated the core principles of representation, consent, and authorization into the legitimation of state policy-making processes and their outputs.

Chapter

This chapter traces the history and evolution of foreign policy analysis (FPA) as a subfield of international relations (IR) from its beginnings in the 1950s through its classical period until 1993. It begins with a discussion of three paradigmatic works that laid the foundation of FPA: Decision Making as an Approach to the Study of International Politics (1954), by Richard C. Snyder, H. W. Bruck, and Burton Sapin; ‘Pre-theories and Theories of Foreign Policy’ (1966), by James N. Rosenau; and Man–Milieu Relationship Hypotheses in the Context of International Politics (1956), by Harold and Margaret Sprout. These three works created three main threads of research in FPA: focusing on the decision making of small/large groups, comparative foreign policy, and psychological/sociological explanations of foreign policy. The chapter also reviews classic FPA scholarship during the period 1954–1993 and concludes with an assessment of contemporary FPA’s research agenda.