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Cover European Union Politics

5. Intergovernmentalism  

Michelle Cini

This chapter provides an overview of intergovernmentalist integration theory, focusing on classical, liberal, and ‘newer’ variants. It first introduces the basic premises and assumptions of intergovernmentalism, identifying its realist origins and the state-centrism that provides the core of the approach, before examining in more detail the specific characteristics of the classical approach associated with the work of Stanley Hoffmann. The subsequent section also examines some of the ways in which intergovernmentalist thinking has contributed to different explanations of European integration. The topics covered in this section are: confederalism; the domestic politics approach; and institutional analyses that emphasize the ‘locked-in’ nature of nation states within the integration process. Next, the chapter introduces liberal intergovernmentalism, an approach developed by Andrew Moravcsik, which, since the mid-1990s, has become a focal point for intergovernmentalist research and addresses. This section also identifies some of the criticisms directed at the liberal intergovernmentalist approach. The chapter ends by introducing new intergovernmentalism, the most recent intergovernmentalist approach.


Cover The Member States of the European Union

2. Member States in European Integration  

Christopher Bickerton

This chapter explores the role of member states in European integration. It first looks at the idea of member statehood, exploring its ambiguities and arguing for a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to be a ‘member state’ of the EU. The chapter considers in detail the role played by member states in the EU, highlighting in particular the centrality of member state governments and their power to EU policy-making and its institutions. At the same time it notes the relative absence of member state publics. The chapter ends with a reflection on whether there is a return of the nation-state, with its associated trends of nationalism and inter-state rivalry.