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Europe
European Council (2011)

Power in the EU: the intergovernmental thesis

In the previous article, we looked at the supranational thesis. Now, we turn to the other major camp, which proposes the intergovernmental thesis.

Theories of intergovernmentalism suggests that the most important decisions in the European Union are taken by national governments. Accordingly, integration only takes place if the member-states give their consent to it. The most important decisions are taken in the form of multilateral negotiations in the European Council.

The European Council is a good case in point: here, the heads of state or government of the member-states meet to discuss policy and what actions to undertake. National representatives work together.

Only about five years ago, these summits were often in the news. Greece, the economy, the banks: to combat all these crises European leaders met frequently to discuss solutions. Ultimately, they were the ones that pushed European integration forwards, or kept it from doing so - not the Commission, the European Central Bank or other supranational bodies.

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European Culture and Politics

University of Groningen

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