European Union: Power and Policy-Making

By Jeremy J. Richardson | Go to book overview
Save to active project


The Court of Justice and the European policyprocess

Daniel Wincott


Somewhat belatedly the Court of Justice is now being subjected to sustained political analysis and taken into account in the general political science literature on European integration (Burley and Mattli 1993; Volcansek 1992; Weiler 1993; Weiler 1994; Alter and Meunier-Aitsahalia 1994; Garrett 1992; Garrett and Weingast 1993). According to some of these analyses the Court has played a role, perhaps even the crucial one in the integration process, acting as 'the principal motor for the integration of Europe' (Mancini, cited in Volcansek 1992:109). Some studies have suggested that the Court is 'an unsung hero' of the 'unexpected twist' by which, in the face of the scepticism of most political science and international relations theory, the EC became 'something far more than an international organisation of independent sovereigns' (Burley and Mattli 1993:41). Other political analysts have argued that the Court simply reflects the interests of dominant member states, having little independent influence (Garrett 1992), and certainly incapable of 'imposing' a policy which was not within the set of relatively well-defined member state preferences (Garrett and Weingast 1993).

Adopting a policy perspective, the argument presented here takes up a position somewhere between these extremes. I argue that the Court should not be viewed as an imposing and wholly independent institution which is 'forcing' (as Volcansek claims of economic integration 1992:109) or has 'engineered' (Burley and Mattli 1993:44 on 'legal integration') integration. But neither should the role of the Court be minimised. Instead, an image is sketched of the Court as one actor among many in the European policy process.

The language of policy analysis, describing policy-making as a process of negotiation and mutual adjustment, is particularly appropriate for analysing European integration. In addition, policy and the policy process in Europe have been subject to continual mutation; thus, an analysis which attributes a rational and synoptic control of integration to a single institution or group is likely to be misleading. Instead, emphasis on the contingencies of the construction of policy 'problems' and 'solutions' and how they are brought together, and on the influence of ideas and knowledge is more likely to provide a fruitful prospectus for research. The contribution of the Court of Justice to the integration process should be seen in this light.

This chapter will be divided into three further sections. In the first of these sections the role of the Court in the process of 'constitutionalising' the Treaty of Rome, and also in the general development of Community law, will be examined. The second section will consider


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.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

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

Cited page

Bookmark this page
European Union: Power and Policy-Making


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?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 300

matching results for page

Cited passage

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

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.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?