European Integration and National Political Systems.

Authors Avatar
Introduction: European Integration and National Political Systems

Simon Hix and Klaus H. Goetz

European integration and domestic political change

- European integration should be analyzed as an explanatory factor in domestic political continuity or change

- The study of national political systems has evolved largely in isolation from the study of European integration for three main reasons:

. the separation has been a natural product of a division of labor in the discipline of political science: between comparative politics, with its focus on domestic political institutions and processes, and international relations, with its focus on international regimes and regional integration

2. Many scholars of comparative European politics have taken a healthily skeptical attitude to the study of European integration - as either a normative project or as not contributing much to generalisable political science knowledge

3. as long as the empirical impact of European integration on national politics was seemingly small, it could be ignored as a relevant variable

- This position is no longer sustainable. With the growing development of the "multi-level" European polity, the disciplinary boundary between comparative politics and international relations is increasingly porous.

- The key question asked is what has been the impact of European integration on government and politics in domestic political systems.

What is European integration?

"European integration comprises two inter-related processes: the delegation of policy competences to the supranational level to achieve particular polity outcomes; and the establishment of a new set of political institutions, with executive, legislative and judicial powers"

National Policy Delegation and European-Level Political Outcomes

Within domestic systems, policy competences are divided between different levels of government and are delegated from majoritarian institutions, such as legislatures and governments, to non-majoritarian institutions, such as central banks and independent regulators. In much the same way, European governments have delegated policy powers to the supranational level.

The competences of the EU are:

. market regulation: the EU-level is responsible for almost 80% of all rules governing the production, distribution and exchange of goods, service, capital and labor on the European market.

- EU as deregulatory project: removal of technical, fiscal and physical barriers, liberalization of domestic markets and privatization of national monopols

- On the other hand: domestic regulations have been replaced by a new "re-regulatory" regime at the European level
Join now!

2. direct redistributional capacity: is in contrast to regulation, small: EU budget is only 1.27% of the total GDP of the EU member states

3. significant indirect redistributional impact, e.g. Common Agriculture Policy

4. macro-economic stabilization: powerful role of the EU with the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), operating through three main mechanisms:

- independent European Central Bank is responsible for setting interests rates with the main goal of securing price stability

- the rules governing national budget deficits force member states to pursue fiscally conservative budgetary policies

- this is reinforced ...

This is a preview of the whole essay