The EU's Council system is designed to represent national interests and make joint decisions. Descriptively, the Council is a composite organization of committee governance made up of multiple parts, from the heads of state and government who constitute European Council summits to national ministers meeting in different policy configurations of the Council of the European Union, down to the national experts who comprise working groups and discuss the minutiae of legislative proposals. This article is organized as follows. Section 23.1 looks at the hybrid institutional qualities of the Council in greater detail and examines the deliberate efforts to instil a consensus-inducing environment for joint decision making. Section 23.2 analyses how the Council has evolved internally, in relations with other key EU institutions such as the European Parliament, and in the wake of Eastern enlargement. Finally, a brief conclusion reiterates key themes, and underscores the value of pluralistic theories and methods in Council research.
Initially a purely consultative body with members seconded from national parliaments, the European Parliament is now vested with significant legislative, control, and budgetary powers. It shapes EU laws, particularly through the co-decision procedure; is involved in the appointment of the Commission and can force the latter to resign; and decides on the EU's annual budget with the Council. The Parliament has also been directly elected since 1979, with 736 MEPs elected in the seventh round of elections held in 2009. This article examines the state of scholarly understanding on the European Parliament. It begins by focusing on direct elections. The article then turns to the Parliament's party groups before exploring committees and the Parliament's inter-institutional relations with the Council and the Commission. The concluding discussion suggests some avenues for further research.
R. Daniel Kelemen
This article explores two sets of questions concerning EU agencies – questions concerning their origins and their impact. First, why were EU agencies created and how did politics influence their design? And second, what impact have EU agencies had, both on the policy areas they are designed to address and on the broader EU political system? The article is organized as follows. Section 28.1 clarifies what an EU agency is and identifies existing EU agencies. Section 28.2 explains why EU agencies were created and how battles between the Commission, Parliament, and Council influenced their design. Section 28.3 presents a brief review of the development of EU agencies from 1989 through 2009, while Section 28.4 concludes.
Originally emerging from the field of EU studies, the notion and approach of multi-level governance (MLG) have progressively been transferred to a variety of other subfields. This chapter argues that three particularities characterize the way in which French political scientists have dealt with governance and MLG. First, the notion of governance has not had great success since the existing notion of government has long been used in a sociological and relational way to describe processes and outcomes rather than merely executive institutions. Second, French scholars who adopted the notion quickly departed from the early definition of governance as opposed to government, institutions, or coercion. Third, the use of governance and MLG helped to consolidate a French way of doing political science that was based on a reluctance toward theoretical hastiness, a sensitivity to varieties of situations and processes in time and space, and a shared constructivist stance.
This chapter reviews the European literature on institutions and policy networks. Institutions provide actors with opportunities and constraints for negotiation and cooperation and thus influence the structure of policy networks. The chapter first presents studies on the influence of country- and sector-level institutions on the structure of policy networks. The respective literature deals with the influence of consensual democracy versus majoritarian democracy, corporatist systems of interest intermediation, multiple levels of governance, degrees of European Union integration, processes of liberalization and democratization, and policy-process-specific venues on policy networks. The chapter then discusses the positions and roles of state actors in policy networks. Due to their formal decision-making power, state actors are either networking targets or play a key role in terms of network integration, brokerage, or network management. The review concludes with a short discussion of commonalities and directions for future research.
State-centric Anglo-American studies continue to dominate the interest group landscape (Baumgartner and Leech, 1998; Jordan and Maloney, 2007; Truman, 1951). As a commanding “outside-in” pressure on French scholarship, a long debate on defining France on the pluralism–corporatism spectrum has ensued (Keeler and Hall, 2001; Wilson, 1987; 2008). The exceptional nature of interest representation in France has inspired a plethora of state-centric modeling. This chapter argues that an “inside-out” influence is gaining momentum, whereby French political sociological accounts underline the primacy of group behavior (Courty, 2006; Offerlé, 2009; Mathieu, 2009). Active in Europeanization research (Saurugger, 2009), and social movement theory (Fillieule and Tartakowsky, 2014), French scholars are leading the way in bringing the debate on interest representation beyond Anglo-American state-centric models.