ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Marianne Riddervold

Dr. Marianne Riddervold from ARENA presented her latest paper '(Not) in the Hands of the Member States: How the European Commission Influences EU Security and Defense Policies', at the ARENA seminar on Thursday 19 June 2014.

Photo: UiO

Riddervold’s paper explores how the Commission influences decision-making the realm EU’s of foreign and security policy beyond its formally delegated powers. In order to shed light on this enquiry the author draws on two empirical cases; the EU naval mission Atalanta and the EU’s Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS).

Firstly, the paper establishes empirically that the Commission, in fact, is involved in the formally intergovernmental realm of EU foreign and security policy in these two cases, though somewhat differently. On the basis of this three analytically driven hypotheses are established upon which to secure and build a deeper understanding of the how the Commissions influenced policy-making in these cases. The first hypothesis derives from rational choice theory and the bargaining perspective, and therefore suggests that the Commission has had influence on the two cases due to their successful bargaining tactics. The second hypothesis draws on communicative action theory and proposes that the Commission was able to have influence on the basis of its argumentation and justification grounded in the body’s expert knowledge. Thirdly, the last hypothesis considered in this paper suggests that the Commission had influence because it was able to circumvent the formally intergovernmental procedures in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

By the means of this analysis the paper argues that the Commission was, not only involved in the two cases, but moreover that it was able to influence the actual policies that were agreed to by the member states. Thus, the paper findings challenge the assumption that policy-making in the area of foreign and security policy is strictly intergovernmental.

The discussion that followed the presentation was focused on questions of clarification concerning the papers three hypotheses, the specific nature of the data and the rationale behind the paper’s case-selection.

By Tine E. J. Brøgger

Download the paper (restricted access)

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.


Dr. Marianne Riddervold is Post-Doctoral Fellow at ARENA Centre for European Studies. She obtained her PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo in 2011.


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Published May 13, 2014 12:47 PM - Last modified Feb. 12, 2018 10:36 AM