Comparative Politics

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By John Peterson, Elizabeth Bomberg

According to exhaustive examine, this ebook explains how the ecu Union makes judgements in seven significant coverage sectors. Written in a transparent, ordinary variety, it brings the european alive for a scholar and non-specialist viewers. The book's vital issues are that casual norms usually topic greater than formal ideas, organization usually concerns greater than constitution, and abrupt switch usually punctuates impasse. It deals a theoretically-based creation to the vigorous, funny and interesting politics of a distinct scan in smooth governance.

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It thus requires extensive, informal, 'pre-legislative' bargaining over the shape of most proposals before they have any chance of being accepted. Second, rules of access to EU decision-making are usually unclear. For Wallace (1996b: 27), this ambiguity explains why policy networks, 'currently amongst the most attractive and rewarding areas of study, have become so important' (see also Kohler-Koch 1994, 1996). Informal networking allows the participation of a far larger number and wider range of different stakeholders than could ever be accommodated in formal consultative mechanisms.

Relationships between interest groups and national administrations are usually more long-standing and routinised than is the case at the EU level. The result is that the national level is more likely to breed stable, tightly integrated networks, or 'policy communities', which strictly control access to the policy agenda (Rhodes 1990). Compared to most national systems of government, the Union seems a relatively open market for influence and access. Such 'open competition for scarce resources leads to shifting coalitions ...

4). The European Council has enormous power but little time. Held over two days, summits usually offer only three formal sessions (of about three hours each) plus three official meals, during which business may be done. Scope for actual debate is strictly limited, particularly if all delegations wish to speak to a particular issue or (as is increasingly the case) summits include sessions with non-EU Member States, such as heads of government of Central and East European states. At times, European leaders discuss quite technical or detailed issues: the European Council chose maroon as the colour for EU passports after years of deadlock on the issue.

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