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UK central government and the European Union

It is some thirty-five years since the United Kingdom joined what is now called the European Union. What has been the impact of the EU on UK central government? Has it been transformed or merely adapted to new pressures and requirements? This book explores the ‘Europeanisation’ of the work of civil servants and ministers and how they engage with the EU. Drawing on fresh empirical evidence—including interviews with over 200 serving and retired officials and ministers—it offers a comprehensive analysis of the spreading impact of European integration across government. The study is placed in the context of political divisions over the European Union but the book outlines the often neglected way in which the EU has transformed the business of government. This account charts the process from the Macmillan government's 1961 application to join the European Communities through to the end of Tony Blair's premiership. The book examines the character and timing of responses across government, covering the core government departments and also those more recently affected, such as the Ministry of Defence. It argues that central government has organized itself efficiently to deal with the demands of EU membership despite the often controversial party-political divisions over Europe. However, in placing the book's findings in comparative context, the conclusion is that the effectiveness of UK governments in the EU has been less striking.

The Greek case

The book examines the European debt crisis with particular reference to the case of Greece. It investigates its spillover from a Greek-specific problem to a Eurozone-wide crisis and chronicles the policy responses to combat it. The central argument of the book is that the principal cause of the Eurozone’s problems was, and still remains, the indecisiveness of European elites to tackle its underlying deficiencies. Leading Eurozone countries have been unwilling to commit to a common long-term plan which could deal convincingly with complex and inter-related problems affecting both its ‘core’ and its ‘periphery’. The guiding principle of policy responses thus far has been the pursuit of permanent fiscal discipline. Yet, fiscal discipline alone would not provide the long-term solutions required; a steady course towards economic governance and political unification is necessary.

Through the detailed tracing of the evolution of the crisis, the book provides valuable insights into the crucial interconnection between Greece’s own economic troubles and the wider European search for macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic growth. As such, the book appeals well beyond those with a narrow academic interest in Greece. This is very much a discussion about the future of the Eurozone and the European Union as a whole.

Between economic regulation and European cultural policy

This book explains how and why the European Union has started to intervene in the cultural policy sector—understood here as the public policies aimed at supporting and regulating the arts and cultural industries. It is a comprehensive account of the Communitarisation process of the cultural policy sector. Before 1992, no legal basis for EU intervention in the field of culture appeared in the Treaties. Member states were, in any case, reluctant to share their competences in a policy sector considered to be an area of national sovereignty. In such circumstances, how was the Communitarisation of the policy sector ever possible? Who were the policy actors that played a role in this process? What were their motives? And why were certain actors more influential than others?

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The European Union and its member states

This book takes up traditional approaches to political science. It aims to offer a mixture of conventional and specific analyses and insights for different groups of readers. In view of the European Union's multi-level and multi-actor polity, the book highlights the complex procedural and institutional set-up of nation states preparing and implementing decisions made by the institutions of the European Community (EC). In looking at the emerging and evolving realities of the European polity, it shows how European institutions and Member States (re-)act and interact in a new institutional and procedural set-up. It explores how governmental and non-governmental actors in different national settings adapt to common challenges, constraints and opportunities for which they are mainly themselves responsible. The book discusses the Belgian policy toward European integration as a significant demonstration of its commitment to multilateralism and international co-operation in security and economic affairs. Attitudes to European integration in Denmark, Germany, Finland, Greece, and Spain are discussed. Tendencies towards 'Europeanisation' and 'sectoralisation' of the ministerial administration during the process of European integration and the typical administrative pluralism of the Italian political system seem to have mutually reinforced each other. Strong multi-level players are able to increase their access and influence at both levels and to use their position on one level for strengthening their say on the other. German and Belgian regions might develop into these kinds of actors. A persistent trend during the 1990s is traced towards stronger national performers, particularly in terms of adaptations and reactions to Maastricht Treaty.

The increasing commercialisation of sport raises important questions concerning regulation. The development of the European Union (EU) and the internationalization of sporting competition have added an international dimension to this debate. Yet sport is not only a business, it is a social and cultural activity. Can regulation at the EU level reconcile this tension? Adopting a distinctive legal and political analysis, this book argues that the EU is receptive to the claim of sport for special treatment before the law. It investigates the birth of EU sports law and policy by examining the impact of the Bosman ruling and other important European Court of Justice decisions, the relationship between sport and EU competition law, focusing particularly on the broadcasting of sport, the organization of sport and the international transfer system, and the relationship between sport and the EU Treaty, focusing in particular on the impact of the Amsterdam and Nice declarations on sport and the significance of the Helsinki report on sport. This text raises questions concerning the appropriate theoretical tools for analysing European integration.

This book offers a timely exploration of the nature and scale of the emergent EU human rights regime by critically examining how and why EU intervention in human rights matters (with a key focus on child protection in Romania) as part of Eastern enlargement, has had feedback effects on the EU’s own institutional and policy structures. By drawing on the human rights conditionality (particularly in relation to children’s rights) as applied to Romania, this book demonstrates that the feedback effects regarding children’s rights have transformed the EU institutions’ role and scope in this policy area both in EU internal and external human rights dimensions. The process-tracing dimension illustrates why policy issues emerge on EU political agenda, which is in line with agenda-setting processes, and why they persist over time, which reflects historical institutionalist accounts. It is also shown that Eastern enlargement has raised the profile of Roma protection, international adoptions, the disabled and mental health at the EU level. The impact of these developments has been further reinforced by the constitutional and legal provisions included in the Lisbon Treaty. It is argued that Eastern enlargement along with the post-Lisbon constitutional changes have generated the emergence of a more robust and well-defined EU human rights regime in terms of its constitutional, legal and institutional clout.

Concepts, measures and policy processes

The European Union and its member states are investing in ambitious programmes for ‘better regulation’ and targets of regulatory quality. This book lifts the veil of excessively optimistic propositions covering the whole better-regulation agenda, and provides a conceptual framework to handle the political complexity of regulatory governance. It approaches better regulation as an emerging public policy, with its own political context, actors, problems, rules of interaction, instruments, activities and impacts. Focusing on the key tools of impact assessment, consultation, simplification and access to legislation, the chapters provide empirical evidence on the progress made in the member states and in Brussels, drawing on an extensive research project and an original survey of directors of better-regulation programmes in Europe. They show how indicators define, measure and appraise better-regulation policy, linking measures to policy processes in which the stakeholders learn by monitoring. Although better regulation is a top priority for competitiveness in Europe and the legitimacy of EU policy, the level of commitment and the development of tools vary considerably. The major challenge for better regulation is institutionalisation—this calls for clear choices in terms of what the EU wants from better regulation.

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How a secretive circle of finance ministers shape European economic governance

This book a study on the work of the Eurogroup—monthly informal meetings between euro area finance ministers, the Commission and the European Central Bank. It demonstrates how this small, secretive circle of senior decision-makers shapes European economic governance through a routinised informal policy dialogue. Although the role of the Eurogroup has been contested since before the group's creation, its actual operation has never been subject to systematic evaluation. This book opens the doors of the meeting room and shows how an understanding of the interplay of formal provisions and informal processes is pivotal to the analysis of euro area governance. The book advances the conceptual understanding of informal negotiations among senior European and national decision-makers, and provides an in-depth analysis of historical episodes of policy coordination. As other areas of European decision-making rely increasingly on informal, voluntary policy coordination amongst member states, the Eurogroup model can be seen as a template for other policy areas.

The dynamics of compound bureaucracies

This book introduces international bureaucracy as a key field of study for public administration and also rediscovers international bureaucracy as an essential ingredient in the study of international organizations. Firstly, the book systematically compares behavioural dynamics within a carefully selected number of international bureaucracies. The focus is on studying these dynamics within international bureaucracies at the actor level - that is, by studying the behaviour and roles as perceived by the officials themselves. The book outlines a conceptual map of four generic behavioural dynamics that are likely to be evoked by these officials: intergovernmental, supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics. Essentially, the Westphalian international order dominated by the intergovernmental dynamic is challenged to the extent that international bureaucracies embed supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics in everyday decision-making processes. Admittedly, there are no guarantees that these dynamics always materialise in the actors' behaviour and ultimately in the decisions reached by international organisations. However, they serve as cognitive and normative frames for action, rendering it more likely than not that particular decision-making dynamics are associated with certain behavioural patterns. Secondly, the book illuminates some causal factors that may help to explore the conditions under which different behavioural dynamics are manifested in the behavioural and role perceptions of the incumbents of international bureaucracies. Essentially, the authors do not propose to 'test' the four dynamics outlined above in a rigorous manner. They serve more as 'searchlights for illuminating empirical patterns in our data'.

The changing face of European policy making under Blair and Ahern

As two of the longest-serving prime ministers in Europe, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were in power during one of the most tumultuous periods of European integration. This book offers an insight into how they responded to the demands and opportunities of European Union (EU) membership at the national level. Drawing on extensive interviews with key figures, it explores how the two leaders sought to radically reshape the EU national policy-making process in the UK and Ireland in order to further their strategic policy agendas. The book therefore asks three key questions. How did the national EU policy process change between 1997 and 2007? To what extent did the UK and Irish policy processes converge or diverge? Did the reforms enhance the projection of national policy? These empirical and comparative questions are related to broader theoretical and conceptual debates concerning Europeanisation. By employing conceptual and analytical frameworks, the book considers what these reforms tell us about the nature of the ‘EU effect’ in different member states. Do governments simply adjust to EU-level pressures for change or try to adapt strategically in order to maximise their influence? Are the changes attributable to political agency or do they derive from longer-term structural developments in Brussels?