Beyond the Nation State: Parties in the Era of Integration by D. Hanley

By D. Hanley

The sizeable literature on globalization integration and supranational our bodies resembling the european dwells almost always at the difficulties which such methods pose for the geographical region. States are obvious as wanting to supply responses to those new demanding situations, yet events inside of these states are both challenged. David Hanley examines how events handle these demanding situations and the style during which events act at supranational point.

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Some of these are to do with fairly visible or concrete benefits, often summated under the heading of transaction costs. Typically, a principal might want from its agent such transaction-cost benefits as policy-relevant information or quick and efficient decision-making (Pollack, 2003: 403). There can be an obverse to this, which is the cost of failing to delegate. Some theorists would apply P/A theory to demonstrate that principals can set objectives but not allow their agents the means to realise these; some recent debates about the EU’s Lisbon strategy, which thus far has been less than successful, make use of this technique (Dehousse, 2005).

Instead, he suggests pragmatically that we consider the TNP as policy-seeking actors; they operate within a political system, the EU, that is sui generis, and within this they may be able to influence the policy process by acting in areas such as the EP or in pre-Council leaders’ summits. This approach has the merit of concentrating on the TNP as systemic actors without subjecting them to preconceived tests of ‘partyness’, which, given the inevitable bias in such academic exercises, they are unlikely to pass.

To assure its main functions of debate, all that was necessary was for party families to be structured along traditional lines in party groups. As no further functions (such as organising common policy positions or co-ordinating elections across frontiers) were required at this stage, no more sophisticated organisation was needed. Group and party: a natural progression? 1).

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