Overt and Covert Institutionalization in Europe
Concerns decision-making in the European Union (EU), given the ever-present threat of deadlock, and argues that a set of informal and more formal tactics, serving to facilitate rule-making, has evolved to deal with this problem. Three basic modes of overt and covert institutionalization are identified and discussed: overt and formal modes of rule-changing; overt change through informal strategies and patterns; and covert institutionalization through committing actors at an early stage, shaping policy behind closed doors, and re-labelling and restructuring a choice situation. The theoretical foundations of each of these are discussed, and each is illustrated by empirical examples of European policy-making, including various examples of initiatives that were initially blocked by the Council of Ministers, but eventually became EU law and policy. Finally, the question is raised as to the consequences of these different modes of institutionalization and the conditions under which these different paths of deepening European institutionalization do not normally occur.
Keywords: covert institutionalization, deadlock, decision-making, European Council of Ministers, European policy, European Union, formal strategies, informal strategies, institutionalization, overt institutionalization, rule-changing, rule-making
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