In the previous chapter we saw how, across three different issue areas, the Commission and the Court of Justice have used their discretion to press for the creation of a single European market. Although both supranational agents have encountered limits to their discretion—as in the Council's rejection of Blair House, or the difficulty encountered by the Commission in rejecting politically sensitive mergers and increasing its authority in this area—the Commission and Court have, on balance, played an independent causal role in the construction of Europe's internal market.
In this chapter, the analytical focus is once again on the agenda-setting, executive, and judicial powers of the Commission and the Court, but this time focusing on the re-regulation of the European market and the adoption, implementation, and interpretation of social policies at the European level. As in the previous chapter, the analysis is organized in terms of three case studies, progressing from relatively modest Commission agenda-setting powers under QMV in the area of worker health and safety, through the Commission's executive powers in the area of the Structural Funds, supervised variously by advisory or management committees, and finally examining the Court of Justice's controversial interpretation of the principle of equal pay for equal work in the 1991 Barber decision. As in the previous chapter, I seek to test two hypotheses. First, I hypothesize that the Commission and the Court will behave as competence-maximizers, seeking to develop social policies as well as market liberalization at the EU level. Second, I hypothesize that the discretion of the Commission and the Court, and their ability to force the pace of EU social integration, is a function of the control mechanisms established by member governments, and that