Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

A systematically updated and entirely redesigned new edition of the leading text on the European Union. The seventh edition is packed with new features, accompanied by an all-new companion website and includes new chapters on member state relations and interest representation.

Table of Contents

The Historical Evolution

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Post-War Transformation of Western Europe

Abstract
The European integration process was initiated and developed in Western Europe. It was extended to Central and Eastern Europe only after the key features of the European Union (EU) as they are today had been created and become established. Until the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989–90, countries such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, and Poland were either part of the Soviet Union or were located within the Soviet bloc. As such, they were quite outside the processes that, until the early 1990s, were focused exclusively on drawing Western European states increasingly close to one another in an array of cooperative and integrative relationships.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 2. The Creation of the European Community

Abstract
Much of the early impetus behind the first of the European Communities, the ECSC, was provided by two Frenchmen. Jean Monnet, who had pioneered France’s successful post-war experiment with indicative economic planning, provided much of the technical and administrative initiative and behind-thescenes drive. Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister from 1948 to early 1953, acted as the political advocate. Both were ardent supporters of European unity, both believed that the OEEC and the Council of Europe — where anyone could be exempted from a decision — could not provide the necessary impetus, and both came to the conclusion that:
A start would have to be made by doing something both more practical and more ambitious. National sovereignty would have to be tackled more boldly and on a narrower front (Monnet, 1978: 274).
Neill Nugent

Chapter 3. The Deepening of the Integration Process

Abstract
Since the European Communities were created in the 1950s, European integration has advanced in many ways. One, much-used and very useful, analytical device for capturing the nature of the ways in which integration has advanced is to distinguish between deepening and widening. Deepening refers to the development of vertical integration: that is, to the ever more intense nature of the integration that exists between member states. Widening refers to the development of horizontal integration: that is, to the growing geographical spread of the EC/EU via the accessions of new member states.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 4. The Widening of the Integration Process

Abstract
This chapter examines the widening of the integration process. That is to say, it examines EC/EU enlargement.
Neill Nugent

The Evolving Treaty Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. From Rome to Nice

Abstract
As was noted in Chapter 3, the Founding Treaties of the 1950s that created the European Communities have been supplemented and amended in various ways by subsequent treaties. This chapter examines these treaties up to the 2001 Treaty of Nice.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 6. The Constitutional and Lisbon Treaties

Abstract
As was noted at the end of Chapter 5, it was recognised at the time agreement was reached on the Nice Treaty that it contained little more than the minimum that was necessary to enable the EU to enlarge. The Treaty made provision for fitting the new member states into the Commission, the Council, the EP and the other EU institutions, but it did little to tackle wider matters relating to how the much larger and more heterogeneous EU could function with efficiency and effectiveness.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 7. Treaties and the Integration Process

Abstract
Since the SEA it has been customary for rounds of treaty reform to occur on a regular basis. One reason for this has been that the logic and momentum of the integration process has required periodic revision of the treaties so as both to ‘catch up’ with evolving realities and to enable desired developments to occur. Another reason has been that because all treaties are a consequence of intergovernmental bargaining, some governments are inevitably disappointed with the outcomes of treaties and so start pressing for another round of treaty reform almost before a negotiated treaty has been ratified and applied. And a third reason has been that the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice Treaties explicitly provided for further rounds of treaty reform: in the Maastricht case in response to pressures from dissatisfied governments at the Treaty’s outcome, and in the Amsterdam and Nice cases in consequence of a general recognition that the Treaties were leaving unfinished business.
Neill Nugent

The Institutions and Political Actors of the European Union

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. The Commission

Abstract
Frequently portrayed as the civil service of the EU, in reality the Commission is rather more and rather less than that: rather more in the sense that the treaties and political practice have assigned to it greater policy-initiating and decision-making powers than those enjoyed, in theory at least, by national civil services; rather less in that its role in policy implementation is greatly limited by the fact that agencies in the member states are charged with most of the EU’s day-to-day administrative responsibilities.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 9. The Council of Ministers

Abstract
The Council of Ministers is the principal meeting place of the national governments.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 10. The European Council

Abstract
Although no provision was made in the Founding Treaties for summit meetings of Heads of Government, a few such gatherings did occur in the 1960s and early 1970s. At the Paris summit in 1974 it was decided to institutionalise these meetings with the establishment of what soon became known as the European Council.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 11. The European Parliament

Abstract
For long after it was first constituted as the Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Parliament — the title it adopted for itself in 1962 — was generally regarded as a somewhat ineffectual institution. This reputation is no longer justified, for whilst it is true that the EP’s formal powers are not as strong as those of national legislatures, developments over the years have come to give it a considerable influence in the EU system. As with national parliaments this influence is exercised in three main ways: through the legislative process, through the budgetary process, and through control and supervision of the executive.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 12. European Union Law and the EU’s Courts

Abstract
An enforceable legal framework is the essential basis of decision-making and decision application in all democratic states. Although not itself a state, this also applies to the EU because the EU is more than merely another international organisation in which countries cooperate with one another on a voluntary basis for reasons of mutual benefit. Rather it is an organisation in which states have voluntarily surrendered their right, across a broad range of important sectors, to be independent in the determination and application of public policy.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 13. Other Institutions

Abstract
In addition to the EU’s main institutions, which have been examined in the last five chapters, there exist a large number of other institutions. These institutions have a variety of roles and purposes. The more important of these additional institutions are examined in this chapter.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 14. Interests

Abstract
Brussels has come to compete with Washington as the world’s ‘most lobbied city’. The exact number of lobbyists in Brussels is impossible to gauge with precision, partly because many who lobby do not do so on a full-time basis but also act as lawyers, accountants, businessmen, and so on, and partly also because many of those who are really full-time lobbyists prefer to call themselves ‘consultants’, ‘advisers’, ‘policy specialists’, and the like. Nonetheless, the normal estimates of between 15,000 and 20,000 people making a living from ‘lobbying Brussels’ give an indication of the scale of lobbying activity.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 15. The Member States

Abstract
The EU exists first and foremost to further the interests of its member states. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that, as previous chapters of this book have shown, the member states are core EU actors. This chapter examines the ways in which member states behave and act in the EU.
Neill Nugent

Policies and Policy Processes of the European Union

Frontmatter

Chapter 16. Understanding EU Policies

Abstract
This chapter introduces the EU’s policies. It does so by describing the diverse origins of the policies and by taking an overview of key features of the policy portfolio.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 17. Policy Processes

Abstract
This chapter examines the nature of the EU’s policy processes. It shows that the processes are numerous and highly complex in nature, that a number of factors combine to determine what processes apply in what policy circumstances, that there are four broad frameworks of policy processes, that a number of characteristics regularly feature in most policy processes, and that the processes are by no means as inefficient as they are often portrayed as being.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 18. Making and Applying EU Legislation

Abstract
This chapter examines the making and applying of EU legislation. Regarding the making of legislation, attention is focused on legislation that is subject to a full legislative procedure, which generally means legislation that is thought to be significant and/or concerned with establishing principles. The reason for this focus is that legislation that does not require a full legislative procedure — which is usually narrow in focus and of an administrative and implementing character — was examined in Chapter 8.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 19. Internal Policies

Abstract
The EU’s main internal policy interests and responsibilities can be grouped under four broad headings: establishing the internal market, macroeconomic and financial policies, functional policies, and sectoral policies.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 20. Agricultural Policy and Policy Processes

Abstract
Despite the fact that, even after the 2004/07 enlargement, it accounts for only 1.2 per cent of EU GDP and just over 5 per cent of EU employment, agriculture looms large in the life of the EU. It does so for five main reasons. First, the economic impact of agriculture is greater than indicated by the figures just given, for in addition to farming itself there are many industries that are closely linked to agriculture and are dependent on its success. These industries include agro-chemicals and fertilisers, agricultural equipment, food processing, veterinary medicines, and financial services. Second, the EU has, via the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), major policy-making and decision-making responsibilities for agriculture. Indeed, agriculture is the most integrated of the EU’s sectoral policies. Third, as a major recipient of EU funds — accounting for over two-fifths of total annual budgetary expenditure — agriculture is central to EU budgetary deliberations. Fourth, there is a greater institutional presence and activity in the agricultural field than in any other: the Agriculture Ministers normally meet more frequently than the ministers of all other Councils except for the Foreign and Ecofin Ministers; Agriculture Council meetings are prepared not by COREPER but by a special body, the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA); the Agriculture Directorate General is the second largest of the Commission’s DGs (only Personnel and Administration is larger and that does not deal with a policy sector); and there are far more Council working parties and Commission management and advisory committees in the sphere of agriculture than in any other single policy area. Fifth, agriculture is the most controversial of the EU’s policies, with the member states disagreeing on many issues, most notably the extent to which and the ways in which the sector should be protected.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 21. External Relations

Abstract
The EU is an important actor on the world stage. It is so partly because of its size and resources and partly because of its ability to act in a united, or at least coordinated, manner in a range of external policy contexts and settings.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 22. The Budget

Abstract
Despite the considerable attention it has received over the years and despite the political tensions it has often generated, the EU’s budget is relatively small in size. In 2010 it totalled €141.5 billion in commitment appropriations, which though a large sum in absolute terms represented only 1.2 per cent of the total Gross National Income (GNI) of the member states and about 2.5 per cent of their total public expenditure.
Neill Nugent

Stepping Back and Looking Forward

Frontmatter

Chapter 23. Conceptualising and Theorising

Abstract
The previous chapters of this book have been concerned with identifying and analysing the principal features of the evolution and nature of European integration and the European Union. This chapter has much the same focus, but takes a different approach. It does so by moving away from logging and analysing ‘the facts’ to examining the insights that are provided by conceptual and theoretical perspectives.
Neill Nugent

Chapter 24. Present Realities and Future Prospects

Abstract
The European Union should not be viewed in too narrow a context. Whilst many of the factors that have influenced its development apply to it alone, many do not. This is most clearly seen in the ways in which modernisation and interdependence, which have been crucial to the creation of many of the central features of the EU, have produced similar effects elsewhere in the international system — albeit usually to more modest degrees.
Neill Nugent
Additional information