This introduction starts by pointing out that entry into the European Union (EU) appears to pose even greater demands for co-ordination on its member states than that already required for the domestic public sector. With entry into the EU, the domain of government and action and responsibility has been extended, the complexity of decision-making has been increased and the policy stakes in many policy areas have been raised. In addition to co-ordinating their internal policy-making activities, governments must also be prepared to defend more coherent programmes at the EU level and ensure that their proposals in Brussels and their actions in their national capital are compatible. The different sections of the introduction discuss EU membership and the sources of co-ordination need, the challenge of EU policy co-ordination, and convergence and distinctiveness (divergence).
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