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Chapter

This chapter focuses on the so-called organized interests, whose interaction with the formal European Union institutions is a central component of the EU’s decision-making process. The term ‘interest group’ refers to a range of organizations outside of the formal institutions that seek to influence decision making. They provide a link between state actors and the rest of society, also known as ‘civil society’. The chapter first considers the general growth of interest-group activity at the European level before discussing the types of group that try to influence EU policy making and the forms of representation open to interests. It then explores the strategies and tactics that interest groups use to try to influence the different institutions. Finally, it analyses the issue of regulating interest-group access to the EU institutions.

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

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

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

This chapter examines how the power of the democratic idea drives change in the European Parliament’s (EP) powers. The EP, the only directly elected institution of the European Union, derives its authority from national electorates rather than national governments and is therefore a transnational institution. Since the first direct elections in 1979, the EP’s powers and status have grown dramatically, culminating in the changes agreed under the 2007 Lisbon Treaty. Nevertheless, the EU is perceived to be suffering from a ‘democratic deficit’. This chapter first traces the historical evolution of the EP before discussing its decision-making. It then considers how the EP aggregates interests, what influence it exercises, and what kind of body it is becoming. It concludes by assessing various perspectives about the EU’s democratic deficit. The chapter stresses the importance of consensus mechanisms within the EP as well as those that link it to other EU institutions.