The European Council and the Council. New intergovernmentalism and institutional change
Prof. Uwe Puetter, Central European University, Budapest
The European Council and prominent Council formations often dominate the media coverage of European Union (EU) politics. In this lecture it is argued that the prominence of the European Council and the Council in contemporary EU politics has been triggered by the evolution of those new areas of EU activity that have been developed partially or fully outside the classic community method ever since the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, which triggered the rise of a new intergovernmentalism. Co-organized in cooperation with ACCESS Europe.
The European Council and prominent Council formations such as the Foreign Affairs Council, ECOFIN and the Eurogroup often dominate the media coverage of European Union (EU) politics. At least the centrality of the European Council and the Council is hard to overlook. This trend has become increasingly evident ever since the end of the 1990s. In this lecture it is argued that the prominence of the European Council and the Council in contemporary EU politics has been triggered by the evolution of those new areas of EU activity that have been developed partially or fully outside the classic community method ever since the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, such as economic governance, foreign affairs and employment policy coordination. Ever since then the EU has witnessed the rise of a new intergovernmentalism which is based on the principle that member states agree on the coordination of national policies and the collective use of policy resources outside the framework of legislative decision-making. This shift away from classic community method decision-making caused a sustained process of institutional change notably within the European Council and the Council environment. Referring to concrete instances of institutional engineering this lecture traces the transformation of European Council and Council decision-making over the last two decades and explains the new centrality of the two bodies in EU politics.
Uwe Puetter is Professor at the Department of Public Policy (DPP) and Director of the Center for European Union Research (CEUR) at the Central European University in Budapest. He also holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European Public Policy and Governance and is a member of the Executive Board of the FP7 research consortium 'bEUcitizen'.
The main research interests of Uwe Puetter are in the fields of European integration studies, comparative European politics and European political economy. He has a particular interest in processes of institutional change in the enlarged European Union, both at the national and European level and focuses on European Economic and Monetary Union as well European social policy. His current research concentrates on the transformation of intergovernmental relations in the European Union after the Maastricht Treaty. It analyses the new role of the European Council and the Council in decision-making. Together with Dermot Hodson at Birkbeck College, London and Chris Bickerton at Cambridge University he currently leads a book and research workshop project on 'European Politics in the Post-Maastricht Era: States, Supranational Actors and the New Intergovernmentalism'. In the context of the FP7 project 'bEUcitizen' Uwe Puetter leads the research themes ‘Market constraints and political choice’ and ‘Democratic parliamentary control in times of crisis’.
Among Uwe Puetter’s publications is his new research monograph ‘The European Council and the Council. New intergovernmentalism and institutional change’ which appears with Oxford University Press in 2014. In 2009 he published the book 'Die Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik der EU' (The economic and social policy of the EU) with UTB. His research monograph 'The Eurogroup' was published with Manchester University Press in 2006. For his research on the Eurogroup Uwe Puetter has received the 'Lord Bryce Prize for Best Dissertation in International Relations/ Comparative Studies in 2003-2004' awarded by the Political Studies Association in the United Kingdom, and the 'Ernst B. Haas Prize' sponsored by the European Politics and Society Section of the American Political Studies Association.
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