The European Council and EU Decision-Making : Keeping a Watchful Eye on the Council?

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This dissertation analyzes the influence of the European Council (EUCO) in the legislative process of the European Union (EU) by examining the inter-institutional relationship between EUCO and the Council of the EU (‛Council’) in EU decision-making. EUCO comprises the Heads of State or Government of all EU member states, the President of the Commission and, since December 2009, a permanent EUCO President. It is therefore the highest political body of the EU. However, the functions of the institution are ambiguous. According to the EU Treaties EUCO sets the broad guidelines for the EU, but is excluded from the legislative process. Lawmaking is formally in the remits of the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. However, I suggest that EUCO plays an important, albeit informal, role in the decision-making process by influencing the Council. The core argument is that EUCO´s influence in EU decision-making is based on a principal-agent relationship between EUCO and the Council. As principal of the Council, EUCO can control the Council´s legislative behavior and, thereby, the decisions the Council takes. My dissertation examines how and with what consequences EUCO controls the Council in legislative decision-making in three studies.
Study 1 illustrates the causal mechanisms how EUCO controls the Council in five case studies. It shows that EUCO controls the Council manifestly or latently. While EUCO interferes in the Council´s activities in manifest control, latent control works through anticipation. I find that the Council´s response to manifest control depends on its zone of discretion that it enjoys after EUCO interfered. Low discretion leads to an obedient Council, while high discretion results either in an obedient or shirking Council. In Study 2, I analyze EUCO control over time and across policy areas through a content analysis of all EUCO conclusions from 1975 until 2016. According to the principal-agent model the frequency and intensity of control is lower in informationally intense policy areas and increase if the principal gains resources to exert control. The results show more control activity in the post-Lisbon period, in intergovernmental policy areas, but less intensive control. Study 3 examines the effect of EUCO on the number of legislative decisions. A count model of all EU legislation adopted from 1976 until 2009 shows that EU output increases in anticipation of EUCO meetings, but drops shortly after the summits.
In sum, the dissertation shows that EUCO influences the Council in legislative decision-making. EUCO keeps, and is anticipated to keep, a watchful eye on the Council. Yet, EUCO influence over the Council is not absolute. The dissertation offers the first comprehensive investigation of the relationship between EUCO and the Council in EU decision-making by theorizing it through the principal-agent model and analyzing it through multiple methods and data. The thesis contributes to research on delegation in the EU political system and carries implications for research on (global) summitry and on the politics in national (core) executives.

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320 Politik
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European Council, decision-making, EU legislation, Council of the EU, principal-agent model, control, influence
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undefined / . - undefined, undefined
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ISO 690KROLL, Daniela A., 2019. The European Council and EU Decision-Making : Keeping a Watchful Eye on the Council? [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz
BibTex
@phdthesis{Kroll2019Europ-51175,
  year={2019},
  title={The European Council and EU Decision-Making : Keeping a Watchful Eye on the Council?},
  author={Kroll, Daniela A.},
  note={Mikrofiche-Ausgabe},
  address={Konstanz},
  school={Universität Konstanz}
}
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September 16, 2019
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Konstanz, Univ., Diss., 2019
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Mikrofiche-Ausgabe
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