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Where does supranationalism come from? Ideas floating through the working groups of the Council of the European Union

Author(s): Jan Beyers

Journal: European Integration Online Papers
ISSN 1027-5193

Volume: 2;
Issue: 9;
Date: 1998;
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Keywords: Belgium | Council of Ministers | ideas | institutionalism | intergovernmentalism | supranationalism | European officials | European public space | political science

The central purpose of the paper is to explain why some officials involved in Council working groups have a more positive disposition towards European integration than others. The paper is inspired by the fact that many studies on European integration deal only occasionally with the attitudes and the ideas of the men and the women involved in daily negotiations. Consequently most studies employ member-states or European institutions (e.g. the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament) as central units of analysis and the description of European policy-making is therefore often based on a limited number of observations (small-N-analysis). In this paper we propose to desaggregate the Council in multiple observations, the officials involved in day-to-day proceedings. In doing so we hope to obtain a more profound understanding of the Council negotiator's attitudes. This systematic empirical analysis leads to the conclusion that the interaction between domestic and transgovernemental experiences explains a signification proportion of the variance along the supranational-intergovernmental continuum.

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