failing to set specific EU policies into a larger national referential framework, since they have the pretension of doing so (Le Theule and Litvan 1993:783). But for member states with more modest ambitions the criticism would be invalid. As also noted above, the policy activism of a country varies according to type (with the Germans and the French keen constitutional reformers) and sector (the British push a pro-competition agenda whilst the Germans are keen environmentalists-although often for sound commercial reasons). In short, the effectiveness of a country's domestic EU co-ordinating capacity must be judged according to the issue, the policy type, the policy requirements and the policy objectives. Merely to examine the machinery of co-ordination is to confuse the means and the outcomes.
A number of more general conclusions may be drawn from this brief study. The first is, that given all the difficulties of co-ordination, what is surprising is the amount that appears to take place. Second, whilst co-ordination may be important in some respects, its absence does not appear to be disruptive or dysfunctional. Indeed, third, lack of co-ordination or inadequate co-ordination may be functional, and not only in ensuring latitude at the bargaining table, but also particularly for those countries which bear the highest costs in terms of policy adjustment, since legal compliance or street-level implementation may be phased in a more prolonged and politically palatable way. Poor national co-ordination may even be functional for the EU itself, since it does facilitate interstate bargaining, whilst policy slippage due to weak implementation co-ordination may be yet another price the Union has to pay for support.
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