A Common Man’s Guide to the Common Market by Hugh Arbuthnott, Geoffrey Edwards

By Hugh Arbuthnott, Geoffrey Edwards

The function of this revised and prolonged ebook is to aim to provide an explanation for how the regulations of the group are supposed to in attaining its fundamental targets. a brief historical past of the basis and significant occasions are integrated and the formal associations and the particular decision-making tactics are explained.

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Sample text

Community issues cannot be conveniently classified into foreign or domestic categories or be clearly assigned to one government department or another. Most governments have had to introduce new internal methods of coordinating their positions on Commission proposals. The need for coordination is not purely, or even primarily, administrative. Participation in Community decision-making has involved national foreign ministries heavily, involved domestic departments such as agricultural ministries, and prime ministerial offices in domestic battles for the decisive influence over the preparation of national positions and the handling ofCommunity negotiations.

The Committee's rather cumbersome procedures are frequently overtaken by the pace of the negotiations in the Council and the informal deals behind the scenes between governments. The Committee is, furthermore, very much an umbrella organisation. Lacking the teeth or leverage of governments or the Commission, it has great difficulty in exercising real influence at any stage of the policy-making process except perhaps on highly detailed issues where its expertise proves particularly valuable. Two factors above all explain why the Economic and Social Committee tends to be by-passed.

At a minimum, the European Council has provided a regular opportunity for the heads of the twelve governments (Prime Ministers and, in the case of France, the President - together with the French Prime Minister after the elections of 1986) to meet and discuss any issues relating to the Community and other subjects of common interest. The European Council has gradually assumed a far more important role in the decision-making process of the Community than was originally envisaged, although the Council of Ministers formally remains the body responsible for taking decisions that have legal effect.

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