European Union: Power and Policy-Making

By Jeremy J. Richardson | Go to book overview

5

A maturing bureaucracy?

The role of the Commission in the policy process

Thomas Christiansen

Introduction

1

The history of European integration is very much the history of the European Commission. 2 The ups and downs of the integration path have clearly been reflected in the activity of the Commission. The European Court of Justice and the European Parliament made some of their greatest strides in periods during which the general progress of the integration project was in doubt, but the Commission seems to have been thriving mainly when the general climate was favourable. The reverse is equally true: when integration has been progressing, the Commission had a major part in its dynamism. This close linkage between the fortunes of the Commission and those of the integration process at large indicates the special nature of the Commission. Unlike the Court, the Parliament and even the Council of Ministers, the Commission is a 'purpose-built' institution: there are no historical precedents and there is no final destination to its institutional development.

The sui generis nature of the Commission as well as its susceptibility to the changing circumstances of its institutional environment make the Commission special and interesting-and difficult-to study. In the absence of similar institutions, comparative analysis is fraught with difficulty: comparing the Commission with international secretariats, as was suggested in the mid 1960s (Siotis 1964), was even then highly questionable (Sidjanski 1965). It would certainly be of very limited usefulness now.

This is one reason why during the 1970s and 1980s there was hardly any in-depth academic work on the Commission, only in the 1990s has the Commission been receiving appropriate academic attention (Edwards and Spence 1994). There are several reasons for this reassessment of the Commission's significance. First, there is the general realisation that many of the developments of the past ten years would not have happened as they did if it had not been for the Commission. Significant differences remain between the way in which European integration is understood by neo-liberal intergovernmentalists and neo-functionalists, but the majority of observers would now agree that the Commission has been of some influence, not just in limited areas of policy-making, but also with respect to the wider process of integration itself (Moravcsik 1993; Tranholm-Mikkelsen 1991).

Political science in general has also made advances in its treatment of political institutions. After a reductionist phase in which much of politics was understood in terms of inputs, outputs and systemic environment, recent writing, often referred to as 'new institutionalism', has returned the focus on the state and its institutions (Cammack 1992; Evans et al., 1985; Thelen and Steinmo 1991; March and Olsen 1985; Powell and DiMaggio 1991).

-77-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
European Union: Power and Policy-Making
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 300

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.