The Europeanisation of Whitehall. UK central government and the European Union

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Publication Date 2009
ISBN 978-0-7190-5515-7 (Hbk); 978-0-7190-5516-4 (Pbk)
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It is some thirty-five years since the United Kingdom joined what is now called the European Union. What has been the impact of the EU on UK central government? Has it been transformed or merely adapted to new pressures and requirements?

This book explores the ‘Europeanisation’ of the work of civil servants and ministers and how they engage with the EU. Drawing on fresh empirical evidence – including interviews with over 200 serving and retired officials and ministers – this volume offers the first comprehensive analysis of the spreading impact of European integration across government. The authors place their study in the context of political divisions over the European Union but outline the often neglected way in which the EU has transformed the business of government. Their account charts the process from the Macmillan government’s 1961 application to join the European Communities through to the end of Tony Blair’s premiership.

The book examines the character and timing of responses across government, covering the core government departments and also those more recently affected, such as the Ministry of Defence. It argues that central government has organized itself efficiently to deal with the demands of EU membership despite the often controversial party political divisions over Europe. However, in placing their findings in comparative context it concludes that the effectiveness of UK governments in the EU has been less striking.

This book will be of particular interest to students of British politics and the European Union as well as to policy-makers.

1. Setting the scene
2. The Europeanization of UK central government: analytical challenges
3. The EU framework for UK policy-making
4. Approcahing Europe: Europeanization and access
5. The management of EU business in Whitehall: the hub
6. The European Union and the 'inner core' departments
7. The European Union and the 'outer core'
8. Understanding the impact of Europe
9. Whitehall in comparative context
10. Conclusion

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