European Capacity Building by Stealth

Jarle Trondal contributes with an analysis of European integration in the area of public administration in the new book Beyond the Regulatory Polity? The chapter is entitled 'The Rise of a European Public Administration: European Capacity Building by Stealth’.

The book Beyond the Regulatory Polity? The European Integration of Core State Powers is edited by Philipp Genschel and Markus Jachtenfuchs and was published with Oxford University Press early 2014.

About the book

Most EU-scholars conceive of the EU as a multilevel polity with strong powers to regulate economic policy externalities among the member states but little power to intervene in, let alone assume, core functions of sovereign government ('core state powers') such as foreign and defense policy, public finance, public administration, and the maintenance of law and order. This book challenges this view.

Based on a systematic comparison of integration processes in military security, fiscal policy, and public administration, it finds steady progress in the integration of core state powers although with substantial sectoral variation. But the EU is not heading towards state-building. In contrast to the historical experience of national federations, the European integration of core state powers proceeds mostly by regulating national capacities, not by creating European ones, and leads to territorial fragmentation rather than increased cohesiveness.

European Capacity Building by Stealth

Jarle Trondal contributes with a chapter on European integration of core state powers in the area of public administration. He conceptualizes the European public administration and outlines an organizational theory approach to explain European integration of public administration and its implications. Based on a rich body of primary data, Trondal examines capacity building within the Commission and how Commission officials make use of these capacities in their everyday work. In a second step, he examines the extent to which and how non-majoritarian institutions (both EU and national agencies) relate to the Commission and in practice tend to supply the Commission with relevant organizational capacities, however, particularly at the implementation stage of the decision-making cycle.

Two empirical observations are highlighted: First, the supply of organizational capacities inside the Commission has become steadily strengthened largely by stealth over a 60 years period. At present, most organizational capacities are concentrated within policy DGs, however, increasingly supplemented within a more powerful Secretariat General (SG). This supply of organizational capacities inside the Commission administration enables Commission officials to act fairly independently of domestic government institutions. Secondly, Trondal in his chapter shows that the supply of organizational capacities inside the Commission is positively correlated with a stealthy integration of agencies at EU and national level across levels of governance. Arguably, the organizational capacities built inside the Commission have increased its capacity to integrate non-majoritarian institutions by stealth.

Full info

Jarle Trondal
‘The Rise of a European Public Administration: European Capacity Building by Stealth’

In: Beyond the Regulatory Polity? The European Integration of Core State Powers
Philipp Genschel and Markus Jachtenfuchs (eds)

Oxford University Press, 2014
ISBN 978-0-19-966282-1

Published Jan. 21, 2014 2:34 PM