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Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic?$
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Fritz Scharpf

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295457

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198295457.001.0001

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Negative and Positive Integration

Negative and Positive Integration

(p.43) Chapter 2 Negative and Positive Integration
Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic?

Fritz Scharpf

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines ‘negative integration’ within the European Community and its unique effectiveness in dismantling the post-war controls of national governments over their own economic boundaries. Through the ‘constitutionalisation’ of competition law, the European Commission and the European Court of Justice have greatly reduced the capacity of democratic politics at the national level to impose market-correcting regulations on increasingly mobile capital and on economic interactions. As a result, national polities find themselves under conditions of a ‘competition among regulatory systems’ that may prevent all of them from maintaining market-correcting policies that were previously supported by democratic majorities. At the same time, however, policies of ‘positive integration’, which would reconstruct a capacity for market-correcting regulations at the European level, continue to depend on near-unanimity among national governments in the Council of Ministers, and are thus easily blocked by conflicts of interests among these governments.

Keywords:   negative integration, positive integration, European Community, economic integration, competition law, democratic politics, regulations, mixed economy, market-correcting policies

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