European Integration and Supranational Governance

European Integration and Supranational Governance

European Integration and Supranational Governance

European Integration and Supranational Governance


The European Union began in 1957 as a treaty among six nations but today constitutes a supranational polity - one that creates rules that are binding on its 15 member countries and their citizens. This majesterial study confronts some of the most enduring questions posed by the remarkable evolution of the EU: Why does policy-making sometimes migrate from the member states to the European Union? And why has integration proceeded more rapidly in some policy domains than in others? A distinguished team of scholars lead by Wayne Sandholtz and Alec Stone Sweet offers a fresh theory and clear propositions on the development of the EU. Combining broad data and probing case studies, the volume finds solid support for these propositions in a variety of policy domains. The coherent theoretical approach and extensive empirical analyses together constitute a significant challenge to approaches that see the EU as a straightforward product of member-state interests, power, and bargaining. This volume clearly demonstrates that a nascent transnational society and supranational institutions have played decisive roles in constructing the European Union.


This book is the product of four years of intensive collaboration among a small group of people, some of whom had not met each other before the project began. We are friends now, which we count as the project's most important achievement. If the group has achieved more scholarly ambitions, it is largely due to the generous financial and logistic support of two research centers. We thank the University of California Center for German and European Studies, its directors, Richard Buxbaum and Gerald Feldman, and its administrator, Beverly Crawford. We also thank the University of California, Irvine, Institute for Global Peace and Conflict Studies, and its director, Patrick Morgan. This support provided us with a great luxury, enough time--to get to know one another, to reflect on common purposes, and to revise (and revise again) each of our respective contributions. Earlier versions of these chapters were presented at the conference, Supranational Governance: the Institutionalization of the European Union, hosted by the Center for German and European Studies at Berkeley, November 1996, and at panels organized for the European Community Studies Association meetings at Seattle, May 1997. We are grateful to the discussants at these conferences, who both encouraged and provided us with many helpful criticisms.

Wayne Sandholtz

Alec Stone Sweet

Irvine, California

February 1998 . . .

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