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Europeanization of European Politics


The impact of European integration studies on the state administrations of the associate states of the European Union (EU) have pointed towards an irregular practice of “Europeanization.” While there has been indisputably growing variety and regularity of links between state administrations and the EU structure. There is small proof of an expected union towards a common institutional replica. This irregular Europeanization is presently clarified with allusion to a neo-institutionalist structure, drawing principally on the work of March and Olsen. It is disputed that the politico-administrative structures of the member states differentially acclimatize to the demands of European assimilation in a way which echoes the pre-existing equilibrium of domestic institutional structures, as well as the wider matrices of principles which characterize the nature of proper political forms in the case of each state polity. Distinctive state blueprints of institutional modification, rather than appearing inconsistent, emerge as consequent to a basic reason of delineation in dissociable from the integration process itself. The general dispute is demonstrated by an extensive comparative study of France and the Netherlands, examining both the construction and the execution of European guidelines in the two countries. (Achard, 1972)

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Decisions of the EC and the people behind them are getting to be part of the national decision-making processes. This is how state administrations are getting “Europeanized” though it doesn’t bring with it considerable transformations in the structures of administration of member states. The institutional union has been confined to awareness of fresh public management ideas but not direct consequences of the integration process. All the member states do have a similar institutional form at the national decision-making system level with a permanent representation at the EU headquarters in Brussels. These representations take part in crucial EU decision-making process which otherwise is not present at the domestic level of each member state. However, within the member states, various EU policymaking as well as implementation for different domestic systems within the EU continue to exist though there is very little indication of converging towards s uniform representation. The provisions given only echo the strengths and weaknesses of each member state and their respective existing national blueprint, but not new preplanned guidelines to meet the stringent demands of EU policies. Therefore No country has started anew and designed a system for European policy coordination from first principles. (Andeweg, 1988)

A Comparison of France and the Netherlands

This section looks at the models of adaptation exhibited by two member states. The two cases selected, France and the Netherlands, offer a useful set of parallels and differences. These two countries are regarded as “core” member states of the European Union as they are the original members of the European Communities. Apart from that, they are also on the forefront in pursuit for closer integration of the EC. However, their respective state constitutions and political cultures have major divergences. The French have a centralized and hierarchical policy making process while the Dutch system in contrast is more spread and consensual in approach to decision-making. (Besselink, 1996)

Their national sovereignty too also still does have major differences between the two countries. A traditional notion of state sovereignty still remains highly prominent in the French case, while in the Netherlands on the other hand, state sovereignty has not been of grand historical significance (Besselink 1996, 193–195). It’s only associated rather more to the independent privileges of the component parts of Dutch society (see Besselink, Albers and Eijsbouts1994). By and large, the present union of these two states is sincerely entrenched in the integration process despite their major differences in their domestic institutional arrangements and practices. The methodical evaluation of the two national understandings should, in consequence, allow for an interesting initial discovery of disparity in state adaptation to the common demands of the integration process. (Edwards, 1995)

There are two subsections involved in this comparison that solely deals with the two major interfaces between the supranational as well as the domestic politico-administrative systems. The first one looks at the dissimilar manner in which these two countries have outlined their involvement in the EC policymaking process while bearing in mind the concerns of their interministerial coordination. The section part examines the execution of EC norms at the domestic level, pointing out both the particular institutional dissimilarities and wider differences of approach between the two countries. The second section then looks at the domestic implementation of EC norms, highlighting both specific institutional differences and broader differences of approach between the two states. The French case is discussed in one section, and then the Dutch case is explained that eventually yields a number of comparative observations. (Metcalfe, 1994)

National Systems of European Policymaking


In terms of European policymaking, France is frequently depicted as the classic national case of centralization. Linked to the continuation of the General Secretariat of the Interministerial Committee for European Economic Questions, the centralization is primarily THE EUROPEANIZATION OF NATIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS 87 that is vital in the coordinating system in the case of France. A reinforced part as the central locus of French European policymaking, the SGCI has come to engage this central position which requires that it be situated in the broader national politico-administrative context. (Kortmann, 1994)

To cope with the needs for interministerial policy coordination created by the institution of the then Organization for European Economic Cooperation and the administration of Marshall Plan aid, the SGCI was established in 1948. The Schuman government decided to create an interministerial committee serviced by a small permanent secretariat when it faced with a prolonged disagreement between the foreign and the finance ministries over the coordination of European policy. In keeping with this interministerial compromise, it was further decided to attach the newly created secretariat to the presidency of the council of ministers. The SGCI saw its remit steadily increase with the function of the development of European integration the subsequent decade. The responsibility for the coordination of French positions in terms of the European Economic Community, the European Coal and Steel Community as well as the EURATOM was successfully given to the secretariat. The SGCI remained in essence an administration de mission, a horizontal coordinating body created to deal only with specific problems throughout. (March, 1984) (Metcalfe, 1994)

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The Netherlands

The Netherlands has an open attitude as far as assimilation of international law is concerned. As far back as 1950s, binding international norms direct within the domestic legal order as well as superior force over any conflicting provisions of national law were all amended in the Dutch Constitution. This model made it very easy for the European Community law to fit in. (Kellermann 1983). Despite missing the deadlines for the implementation of EC norms due to the slow consensus building at the domestic legislative procedure, the requisite measures were adopted without problems. Essential re-evaluation of the implementation of EC norms in the Netherlands started to occur by the end of the 1980s as a large backlog had begun to accumulate due to the single market project. The domestic implementation procedure was changed through recommendations suggested by the legislative proposals Review Commission that facilitated implementation of EC norms which were then taken over as government policy officially. (Metcalfe, 1994)

The Dutch reforms just like the French reinforced the execution of the procedure downstream. Effective monitoring of implementation as well as coordination was realized once the community adopted the measure. This shows how the Dutch system responded in the same way as the French did. It shows that despite their differences in governance, their local systems are respected. The new General administrative law act was amended specifically for better implementation of EC norms. The national implementing authorities are given the mandate by the EC to choose genuine policies. Therefore the adoption of administrative measures meant for the implementation of EC norms are fast tracked by the provisions of the AWB. The French case, the integrity of the domestic system has to be respected by both the European as well as the domestic law, according to the adamant French Council of State. The Dutch on the other hand has a more pragmatic approach to the extent of bending its rules to better fit with its supranational counterpart. (Edwards, 1995)


The explanation suggested at the outset, the neo-institutionalist for differential patterns of national administrative version to the demands of European integration seems mainly to come from the two national case studies analyzed. Both the French and Dutch have indicated different blueprints to the adaptation to the process of European integration. Preservative patterns have been broadly displayed by both national administrations in the context of the integration process. The domestic implementation of EU norms as well as European policy making are centralized in the case of the French whose structures are based on the prevailing national models for decision making that emphasizes recognition mechanisms within the framework of well defined politico-administrative hierarchies. In contrast, the Dutch case, high degree of interministerial coordination as a result of European integration doesn’t belittle the consensual character of the domestic politico-administrative system. Both European policymakings as well as European policy implementation domestic coordination have “THE EUROPEANIZATION OF NATIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS 105” that identifies the basic principles of ministerial independence and parity central to the Dutch version of cabinet government. There is very minimal evidence of a basic structural rapprochement between the two systems despite the growth of decentralizing pressures in the French case and countervailing centralizing pressure in the Dutch case as a result of the integration. In defining the administrative adaptation differential patterns in both cases, broader matrices of values have similarly played a role. The development of implementation strategies for community norms in both national systems, different conceptual frameworks governed the entire process.


Achard, P. (1972). Les incidences des communautés européennes sur l’organisation. Paris: Guyomarch 1993, 467.

Andeweg, R. B. (1988). Centrifugal Forces and Collective Decision-making. European Journal of Political Research.

Besselink, A. E. (1996). An Open Constitution and European Integration. Berlin: Dutch Report to the 1996 Berlin Conference.

d’Etat, C. (1989). Rapport Public 1988: Etudes et Documents No. Paris: La Documentation.

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Edwards, J. S. (1995). Europeanisation- Institutional. London: Goethe-Institut/London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kortmann, B. (1994). The Kingdom of the Netherlands. Deventer: Deventer.

March, J. J. (1984). The New Institutionalism. New York: The Free Press.

Metcalfe. (1994). International Policy Co-ordination and Public Management. Publius: Journal of Federalism.

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