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Course: Introduction to Public Administration and Organisations

Anamaria Pejkovi

Coursework 2: Chapter of Michael Gallagher: How European Union works?

1. and 2. :

European Commision: commisioners are appointed to represent the overall interest of EU, not
the national interest. Despite this, it is not expected that commisioners suddenly slough off their
national identities. There are 27 memebers of European commisioners, one coming from each
member state. So, from the member state point of view, they are seen as their representatives.
Also, national government decides on who will be their commisioner. Thus, if a commisioner
hopes to be reappointed, he must cooperate with his national government. Furthermore, national
governements expect from their commisioner to warn them of impending developments or
give advice on how to accomplish national interests.

European Parliament: its members come from member states, proportionally to the population
of every country. Every member state has a minimum of 6 representatives, or a maximum of
96. National interests are a very important factor when it comes to elections for members of the
parliament. EP elections are fought on the ground in each country by national parties rather
than transnational groups (as European People Party or the Socialist group), and the parties
stress national when campaigning (Gallagher et al., 2011: 129-130). So, EP elections serve as
a test on how good is the performance of national government. Furthermore, there are different
political parties in the European Parliament (from EPP, Socialists to Greens). Inside of these
parties exist national party group (for example French Socialist Party group, German Socialist
group). An interesting fact is that, when there is a disagreement between national party group
and EP party, MEPs always stand by their national party group.

The Council of Ministers: it consists of different ministers from each member state, depending
on the theme of the meeting. At any time, one member state holds the Council presidency. The
mandate for every country lasts six months. That is a relatively short period to make significant
changes. A country which holds the presidency can speed up or slow down different projects,
but cannot stop them. However, member states have important influence when it comes to
legislation. So, when Commision proposes a law, the Council decides if it passes to the
Parliament. There are different Council committes which process the proposal and finds

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incompatibility with national interests. The work of the Council is based on consensus which
means that every country has to right to decline to proposal if its against their national interest.

The European Council: it comprises of heads of the member states governments and has the
central role in decision making. This European insitution shows that member states and their
governments are central decision makers and not the Commision or Parliament. So, it serves
for accomplishing national interests.

The Court of Justice: judicial branch of government, consists from 28 judges, one from each
member state. The judges are appointed by their own government that decides on their
reappointment. So, this brings up the question about the independency of judges. Member states
must obey the judgments of The Court and cannot appeal to any other body. Some countries
were very concerned about power that this insitution has. Especially, because it is not a neutral
referee. The judgments of this Court are influenced by the preferences of member state
governments (2011: 137) It is not clarified if The Court is superior to domestic courts. While
ECJ thinks it has every authority, some countries are proclaiming that the constitution is their
highest legal source.

3.

The turnout for EP elections is very low, especially in post-communist countries. Also, it is
declining with every upcoming elections. If we look at the works of, for example, Rousseau,
we can understand why it is important to have support from citizens. Their involvement in
elections does not only show how much they support the work of EP but how well are they
informed about their actions. In addition, it shows how good this actions solve their problems
and meet their needs. Concerning the problem of low turnout, two main reasons for it are: the
status of these elections in the member states and the inability of European Union to position
itself as a supranational organization. Also, questions about democratic deficit come to mind
when we discuss the disproportionality in the EP and European Council. Is it fair that countries
with big population are underrepresented in these institutions, and small countries are
overrepresented? But, then again, even with this underrepresentation, big countries play the
central role inside the EU and small countries cannot achieve their national interests. In the end,
big countries get more and more power and decide about almost everything meanwhile small
countries have to obey them. I am coming from Croatia so I can confirm that the majority of
our people think like this. They see our government and president as Brussels officials which

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cannot reject any demand that comes from the EU. People are not well informed about tasks
and decisions of the European Union, and how these decisions affect their lives.

4.

Firstly, I think that small countries can form groups inside of European Union to pursue their
own interests. It is easier to position itself as a serious actor when there is a big number of
people behind you. Also, bigger countries can help smaller ones and support their proposals.
Although, this is hard to expect because every country thinks primarily about its own interest.
Secondly, I think a lot can be done just by improving the communication with citizens. Here,
national government must play an important role because it can represent EU issue as a
national issue. Therefore, people can understand why EU decisions are significant, how they
affect their lives and why it is important to discuss them. Finally, EU must strenghten its
position. They must decrease the importance of national interests when deciding about some
major issues. Thus, the supranational interest should prevail. To conclude, EU must become a
supranational organizati on rather than an intergovernmental one.

LIST OF REFERENCES:

Gallagher, Michael (2011) How the European Union works? in Gallagher et al. (2011)
Representative Government in Modern Europe. Berkshire: McGraw and Hill Education.