N° 5, 2002/1 – The European Commission: The Dynamics of an Institutional Restructuring
edited by Philippe Rivaud, Andy Smith, 2002/1 (n°5)
Philippe Rivaud, Andy Smith – Introduction. The European Commission: The Dynamics of an Institutional Restructuring
Whereas the European Commission has long been regarded as the EU’s executive, the Council Secretariat has in recent years acquired siginificant executive powers of its own, in particular in the realm of EU foreign policy. In response to this development, there have been concerns about administrative fragmentation and rivalry and calls for the merger of the executive functions of the two institutions. Against this background, the article charts the relations between the Commission and the Council Secretariat across a range of shared tasks. It concludes that, despite an underlying tension induced by the provisions of the treaty, inter-institutional relations are largely co-operative. It provides a tentative explanation based on the expansion of EU institutions, the growing interconnectedness of EU policy-processes and the strengthening of a ‘supra-institutional’allegiance amongst EU officials.
While an increasing number of academic publications put forth diverse causal variables which determine interest groups’ attitudes on the European level, few have addressed the question of how bureaucratic sectorisation of the Commission services supports or prevents the emergence of a European form of interest representation. This article argues that country specific styles of interest intermediation interact with EU-level specific opportunity structures, which open or close channels for interest representation. In an increasing number of policy areas, different Commission services share competences. This creates a situation in which bureaucratic competition arises between these services. The main question of the paper is therefore how these internal conflicts influence the emergence of a European form of interest intermediation.
Jacques de Maillard – The Commission, Wine, and Reform
This article builds on the idea – presented by Hassenteufel and Surel (2000) in this journal – that research on Europeanization presents a formidable opportunity to bring EU scholars closer to ‘normal’ political science. By focusing on the Europeanization of public policy, the article reviews the pre-requisites for ‘normal’ analysis, that is, the definition of concepts, the methodology, the identification of research designs, and questions & puzzles amenable to standard public policy analysis. Europeanization involves both vertical (that is, the domestic adaptation to European models) and horizontal (for example, regulatory competition and ‘framing’) mechanisms. Further research would benefit from ‘bottom-up’ research designs which examine Europeanization in the context of other pressures and opportunities available at the domestic level.