The National Co‐ordination of EU Policy: Confronting the Challenge
This concluding chapter has three main aims: to identify the main findings that emerge from the ten country case studies presented in the book; to present an argument about the factors that shape the strategies and structures of national co-ordination; and to draw attention to a number of wider issues on the basis of what the findings suggest. The first finding is that European integration exerts a powerful need for co-ordination on the part of governments and that European Union (EU) policy-making has become an important locus of domestic co-ordination for governments; however, membership of the Union confronts the member states with very specific challenges, and meeting its complex demands is extremely problematic. Second, national responses to the demands of EU membership have led to a redefinition of the functions traditionally performed by some actors and a recasting or recalibration of interinstitutional relationships. Third, there are important similarities between the way in which the member states co-ordinate their European policies, although diversity persists and institutional convergence is limited in scope and extent. The main part of the conclusion presents a cross-national view of the co-ordination of EU policy, looking at similarities and differences and explaining them; the last part presents concluding remarks on the effectiveness of national co-ordination systems, co-ordination as a process, the systemic implications (impact) of the findings, and theoretical issues.
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