At a critical juncture? Change and continuity in the institutional development of the council secretariat (in Special Issue: Towards a New Executive Order in Europe?)

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Series Details Vol.31, No.4, July 2008, p751-770
Publication Date July 2008
ISSN 0140-2382
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Abstract: This article provides a historical institutionalist perspective on the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers-an institution that has expanded significantly over the course of the integration process and whose role in the institutional politics of the EU has been recognised as significant in the recent literature on the subject. Charting the history of the institution, we demonstrate the way in which the original institutional design contributed to a particular trajectory which can be understood as a 'path-dependent' development. However, we also identify recent developments which can be seen as a break with the historical legacy of the Secretariat-an observation which raises the question as to whether the institution is at a critical juncture in its development. The article closes with an examination of the present and future challenges the Council Secretariat is facing at this time.

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