How nation states ‘hit’ Europe: ambiguity and representation in the European Union

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Series Details Vol.27, No.5, November 2004, p919-942
Publication Date November 2004
ISSN 0140-2382
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This article analyses how differences in domestic institutional constellations shape the representational roles of member state officials when attending the EU Council of Ministers. The conceptual framework used draws on theories of political representation, institutional theories and the Europeanisation literature. Our primary argument is that role perceptions are considerably conditioned by actors' domestic institutional embeddedness. Comparing Belgian and Swedish officials attending working groups within the Council of Ministers substantiates this argument. Belgian officials are more supranationally oriented than their Swedish counterparts. This difference is related to varying levels of vertical and horizontal specialisation, federalism, competition among veto-players, the role of the Foreign Ministry, and the level of trust in domestic government compared to the level of trust in the EU.

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