The author of this chapter on the national co-ordination of European Union (EU) policy in Germany contends that, in order to arrive at a more balanced picture of the efficiency of German EU policy co-ordination, the various aspects of the term ‘Europa-Politik’ need to be distinguished more carefully than experts on the EU usually do; accordingly, the chapter draws on the polity–policy–politics distinction and other policy classifications customary in the field of policy analysis in the pursuit of four objectives. First an analysis is made of the already well documented structural arrangements in Bonn, the Länder and Brussels for co-ordinating various policy types in the multilevel decision-making system; the German co-ordination machinery is described as basically a two-track system consisting of a diplomatic track built and a sectorized expert track. Second, substantive policy interdependencies reflected and articulated within the departmental division of labour (as well as on the other two layers of the European decision-making system) are explored as to their issue salience and their bearing on the politics dimension of Europa-Politik. Third, the place of politics (and politicians) in the apparently diplomat- and bureaucrat-dominated, expert-driven German subsystem of the European political system is considered more systematically, and it is contended that the German pattern of ex post co-ordination is ultimately superior to a practice of ex ante co-ordination of all policy matters regardless of their salience. Fourth, the French and the British co-ordination systems, which emphasise ex ante central co-ordination, are considered and pronounced as less thorough than their image suggests; their emphasis on ex ante central co-ordination is explained by the more defensive nature of the two governments towards European integration in the past and, in the case of Britain, by features of the Westminster system that allow more hierarchical interministerial relations than does a coalition government, or a federal system.
Keywords: domestic policy, EU policy, European Union, Germany, institutional structures, national co-ordination, national policy, national politics, national polity, policy interdependence, political systems
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