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Power and LegitimacyReconciling Europe and the Nation-State$
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Peter L. Lindseth

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390148.001.0001

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Supranational Delegation and National Executive Leadership since the 1950s

Supranational Delegation and National Executive Leadership since the 1950s

(p.91) THREE Supranational Delegation and National Executive Leadership since the 1950s
Power and Legitimacy

Peter L. Lindseth

Oxford University Press

This chapter initiates the discussion of the legal-historical effort to translate elements of the postwar constitutional settlement into supranational form over the last half-century. The focus here is on the establishment of national executive leadership over the integration process. This development ran contrary to efforts by Jean Monnet to construct, purportedly on the New Deal model, a system of supranational technocratic autonomy in the High Authority of the European Coal and Steal Community. Monnet was ultimately curtailed significantly by the creation of the Council of Ministers in the Treaty of Paris of 1951. The institutional role of the Council of Ministers grew as a consequence of the Treaty of Rome of 1957, which established the European Economic Community. The crises of the 1960s further marginalized the Commission as an autonomous technocratic policy maker. But these crises also brought to the fore differing conceptions of national leadership that would play themselves out in the ‘empty chair’ crisis and the Luxembourg Compromise at mid-decade. France, under de Gaulle, favored control by particular national executives exercising a veto over supranational policy making; the remainder of the national executives favored shared oversight via consensus politics in the Council of Ministers. This later position prevailed, and found further expression in the creation of a dense bureaucracy of nationally dominated committees (COREPER, comitology). This process of national-executive ascendancy and shared oversight culminated in the creation of the European Council in 1974, which was to become the central institution of plebiscitary leadership in the process of European integration over the remainder of the century.

Keywords:   Schuman Plan, Jean Monnet, technocratic autonomy, New Deal, Treaty of Paris, Council of Ministers, Treaty of Rome, empty chair crisis, Luxembourg Compromise, COREPER, comitology, European Council

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