Which policy for Europe?

Which Policy for Europe? Power and Conflict inside the European Commission

Miriam Hartlapp, Julia Metz, and Christian Rauh

The European Commission is at the center of the European Union's political system. Within its five-year terms each Commission proposes up to 2.000 binding legal acts and therefore crucially shapes EU policy, which in turn impacts on the daily lives of more than 500 million European citizens. However, despite the Commissions key role in setting the agenda for European decision making, little is known about its internal dynamics when preparing legislation.

This book provides a problem-driven, theoretically-founded, and empirically rich treatment of the so far still understudied process of position-formation inside the European Commission.

Along 48 case studies based on comprehensive insider interviews, internal Commission documents and a range of other data sources it reveals that various internal political positions prevail and that the role of power and conflict inside the European Commission is essential to understanding its policy proposals. Opening the 'black box' of the Commission, the book distills three ideal types of internal position-formation. Internal decision making of the Commission is either motivated by technocratic problem-solving, by competence-seeking utility maximization or by ideologically-motivated policyseeking. Specifying conditions that favor one logic over the others, the typology furthers understanding of how the EU system functions and provides novel explanations of EU policies with substantial societal implications.

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