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The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change Edited by Edward Best, Professor, European Institute of Public Administration, Maastricht, The Netherlands, Thomas Christiansen, Jean Monnet Professor of European Institutional Politics, Department of Political Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands and Pierpaolo Settembri, former Official, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84720 345 8
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Paperback Price: $51.00 Web: $40.80
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84980 033 4
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  • Politics and Public Policy
  • European Politics and Policy
  • Public Policy
How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.

The analysis finds that breakdown has been avoided by a combination of assimilation of the new member states and adaptation of the system, without any fundamental transformation of the institutions. Nonetheless, they conclude that it is not just ‘business as usual’. The streamlining and formalization of procedures, together with increased informal practices, has implications for transparency and accountability. Widening has not prevented deepening of European integration, but it has deepened normative concerns about the democratic legitimacy of that process which will remain very much on the agenda of the enlarged EU.

This nuanced approach to the complexities of studying institutional politics and change contains important new and original data. As such it will be invaluable for postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students of EU politics and administrative science, as well as researchers, practitioners and journalists working in the fields of European studies more widely.
‘This book in addition of being remarkable academic reading contributes, on the highest scholarly level, to the furthering of our understanding of performance of the EU institutions which is essential for practitioners and researchers in the midst of the institutional crisis.’
– Dominik Vuletić, Croatian International Relations Review

‘. . . an impressively detailed introduction to the institutions and committees that form the core frameworks of EU activities including the EU Parliament, the European Central Bank, and the effects of EU membership expansion. The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union is very strongly recommended as an addition to governmental and university library International Studies reference collections in general, and European Union Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.’
– Midwest Book Review – The International Studies Shelf

‘This excellent book in the series of studies on EU reform and enlargement is not as dry as it first appears. . . The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional policies of the EU and their research which I feel will be highly beneficial to lawyers, economists and politicians. . . I found the book to be invaluable for postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students of EU politics and administrative science, as well as researchers, practitioners and journalists working in the fields of European studies more widely.’
– Phillip Taylor, The Barrister

‘This timely, comprehensive and authoritative study provides much food for thought for European policy makers, particularly in the current situation of uncertainty about the Lisbon Treaty. The authors’ basically upbeat findings – that, despite the arrival of twelve new member states in one big bang and one after shock, it has been pretty much business as usual for the EU’s institutions – will comfort both those who worried about the EU’s capacity to act in the absence of institutional reform and those who argued that such reform was unnecessary. But the editors identify a number of emerging dynamics that will be of concern to all who care about the Union’s democratic future: increasing formalisation of meetings and procedures on the one hand, coupled with an increase in informal, pre-cooked deals on the other; increasing primacy of the administrative over the political; and a growing trend towards “presidentialisation” within the institutions, with continued efficiency requiring more emphasis on the “primus” than on the “pares”. The editors conclude that, while the European Union’s institutional system continues to function and might even become more efficient, the price to be paid could further distance the Union from the citizens it seeks to serve.’
– Martin Westlake, Secretary General, European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, Belgium

‘This volume reports a thorough appraisal of how the EU institutions have fared since the 2004 enlargement. In essence the answer is more of the
same, with no evidence of gridlock. Business has been conducted in similar ways and at similar levels of output, helped by procedural
adaptation. The new member states have slotted into the existing routines of the Union.’
– Helen Wallace, European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Contributors: M. Alfé, E. Best, M. Bigatto, A. Birdsall, T. Christiansen, B. Donnelly, K. Dyson, C. Naômé, N. Pérez-Solórzano Borragán, J. Peterson, S. Piattoni, S. Piedrafita, P. Settembri, S. Smismans, W. Wessels
Contents:

Preface

1. Introduction
Edward Best, Pierpaolo Settembri and Thomas Christiansen

2. The European Council: A Bigger Club, a Similar Role?
Wolfgang Wessels

3. Surviving Enlargement: How Has the Council Managed?
Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri

4. The European Commission: Enlargement as Reinvention?
John Peterson and Andrea Birdsall

5. The European Parliament and Enlargement
Brendan Donnelly and Milena Bigatto

6. EU Enlargement and the European Court of Justice
Caroline Naômé

7. The European Central Bank: Enlargement as Institutional Affirmation and Differentiation
Kenneth Dyson

8. The European Economic and Social Committee after Enlargement
Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán and Stijn Smismans

9. The Committee of the Regions: Multi-Level Governance after Enlargement
Simona Piattoni

10. Legislative Output after Enlargement: Similar Number, Shifting Nature
Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri

11. Implementing Committees in the Enlarged European Union: Business as Usual for Comitology?
Manuela Alfé, Thomas Christiansen and Sonia Piedrafita

12. Widening, Deepening … and Diversifying: Has Enlargement Shaped New Forms of EU Governance?
Edward Best

13. Conclusion
Thomas Christiansen, Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri

Appendix

Index