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Intergovernmental functionalism ? The Council of Europe in European integration.

MacMullen, A. L. (2004) 'Intergovernmental functionalism ? The Council of Europe in European integration.', Journal of European integration., 26 (4). pp. 405-429.


The Council of Europe is a significant presence in European integration but, although appreciated by human rights lawyers, its varied policy competences and outputs are largely overlooked by social scientists. Functional and intergovernmental theoretical approaches are considered for their potential insights. The workings of the COE are analysed, using evidence from official sources and participant interviews, to establish the nature of the policy process. Five key institutional aspects are discussed: access to membership, policy coverage, the institutional apparatus, decision procedures and processes, and mechanisms to ensure output compliance. Substantial contributions by national officials and experts, and the importance of publicly accepted norms in setting the limits within which policy consensus can be achieved are important features. Both functionalism and intergovernmentalism offer insights into the incremental operation and flexible policy achievements of the COE. Its explicit commitment to promoting democratic values reduces the need to choose between the two theoretical approaches.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:COE, Membership, Decision procedures, Institutional analysis, Policy process.
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Record Created:10 Mar 2009
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:23

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