The New EU Governance: New Intergovernmentalism, New Supranationalism, and New Parliamentarism

Vivien A. Schmidt
IAI - CSF Working Paper - May 2016

Contemporary analysts differ over which EU actors are the main drivers of European integration and how they pursue it.“New intergovernmentalists” focused on political leaders’deliberations in the Council clash with “new supranationalists” centred on technical actors’ policy design and enforcement in the Commission and other EU bodies, while both ignore“new parliamentarists” concerned with the European Parliament. This essay argues that only by considering the actions and interactions of all three main actors together can we fully understand the “new” EU governance and its problems. It uses in illustration the EU’s crises of money, borders and security. The essay also suggests that it is best to think about the future of EU governance not in terms of any hard core but rather as a “soft core” of member-states clustered in overlapping policy communities. It additionally proposes ways of reinforcing EU-level capacity for policy coordination with national-level decentralisation to address problems of democracy and legitimacy.

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