Integrating Europe: Informal Politics and Institutional Change

Integrating Europe: Informal Politics and Institutional Change by Jeffrey Stacey

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In Integrating Europe: Informal Politics and Institutional Change the author explains why the European Union (EU) member states actively surrender policy-making power to supranational authorities in unconventional ways. In light of the general antipathy toward giving up national sovereignty in European societies--even where "pro-European" sentiment thrives, why do national governments allow the creation of any new EU laws or policies whose effects theycannot keep under their general control? Why do EU member states allow any sovereignty transfer to occur outside of inter-governmental treaties, which are the only legitimate EU bargains found in the EU's formal sphere? Deploying the tools of rational choice institutionalist theory, the author argues that informalbargains struck between the EU's primary organizational actors - the European Council, European Commission, and European Parliament - have paradoxically resulted in increased integration. As the EU is an ideal laboratory for testing different institutionalist hypotheses for explaining institutional change, the author focuses on the ongoing competition to alter the EU rules that allocate power, and, with an approach that allows for feedback loops among agents and structures, makes an argumentthat flies in the face of realist and intergovernmentalist theories. While some have shed light on the importance of informal dynamics in the legal sphere of the EU, this book does the same for the policy-making sphere.
Publication Date:
15 / 04 / 2010

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