The European Council and European Governance: The Commanding Heights of the EU, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The European Council and European Governance

The Commanding Heights of the EU, 1st Edition

Edited by François Foret, Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer


200 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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In recent years, the failure of the constitutional process, the difficult ratification and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as the several crises affecting Europe have revitalized the debate on the nature of the European polity and the balance of powers in Brussels. This book explains the redistribution of power in the post-Lisbon EU with a focus on the European Council.

Reform of institutions and the creation of new political functions at the top of the European Union have raised fresh questions about leadership and accountability. This book argues that the European Union exhibits a political order with hierarchies, mechanisms of domination and legitimating narratives. As such, it can be understood by analysing what happens at its summit. Taking the European Council as the nexus of European political governance, contributors consider council and rotating presidencies' co-operation, rivalry and opposition. The book combines approaches through events, processes and political structures, issues and the biographical trajectories of actors and explores how the founding compromise of European integration between sovereignty and supranationality is affected by the evolving nature of this new European political model which aims to combine cooperation and integration. 

The European Council and European Governance will be of strong interest to students and scholars of European studies, political science, political sociology, public policy and international relations.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction François Foret and Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer PART I: The European Council as an institution and a policy-maker 2. The Institutional Consecration of the European Council: Symbolism beyond Formal TextsYann-Sven Rittelmeyer 3. More than a Prestigious Spokesperson – the Role of Summits and the European Council in European Political Co-operation (EPC), 1969–1981 Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol 4. EU High Politics – the Policy Agenda of the European Council, 1975–2011 Petya Alexandrova, Marcello Carammia and Arco Timmermans PART II: The EU Presidency and the European Council – complementary or competitive? 5. What's Left of the Rotating Presidency? The Future of ‘National’ PresidenciesSimone Bunse and Christopher Klein 6. The Communautarization of the Council Presidency – Intra-institutional Dimensions and Inter-institutional Effect Ana Mar Fernández Pasarín 7. The Council Presidency and the European Council – Towards Collective Leadership in the EU Steven Van Hecke and Peter Bursens PART III: Legitimization of the European Union 8. An Expectation–Outcome Gap Writ Large – the Felipe González Reflection Group RevisitedLars Hoffman and Hartmut Mayer 9. Legitimacy in Numbers? Communicative Aspects of the Post-Lisbon EU François Foret 10. Problems of Compound Representation in the European Union after Lisbon Christopher Lord

About the Editors

François Foret is Jean Monnet professor in political science and European studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer is Research Fellow in the Study Committee for Franco-German Relations (Cerfa) at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) in Paris, France.

About the Series

Routledge Studies on Government and the European Union

What is actually governed at the scale of the European Union (EU)? Some domains of societies and economies in Europe certainly seem to be, but the government of many others appears instead to take place at global, national or sub-national scales. The principal objective of this book series is to provide a sustained and structured space within which a cumulative set of books on what the EU actually governs would be published. These will depart from much of mainstream ‘EU studies’ to propose instead social science theory driven analyses that better reflect and reveal the transnational character of government in contemporary Europe.

This series of books will share a common focus and a commitment to detailed, theoretically driven but readable empirical studies. Although authors will differ slightly here, this focus postulates in general that:

  1. Far from being a system composed uniquely of ‘national’ and ‘supranational’ bodies, the government of the EU is enacted by all the public and private practitioners who participate in the construction and institutionalization of ‘European public problems’;
  2. This government is inscribed in a strongly fragmented European polity. However, its fragments –be they sectoral or territorial- seldom map neatly onto the frontiers of the member states;
  3. Integrating this government and polity constitutes a permanent challenge not only for the formulation of European public problems and their treatment (eg. for environmental protection), but also for the legitimation of these processes and the actors they involve (eg. Commission representatives).

The series is edited by Professor Andy Smith, Research Professor at the University of Bordeaux. All proposals for the series should be submitted either to the editor or the publishers.

[email protected]

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