The Impact of the European Communities on National Policy-Making

  • Helen S. Wallace
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


The now fairly extensive literature on the European Communities, much of which sets out to analyse ‘the European decision-making process’, has tended to concentrate on how this process looks from the perspective of the Community itself and of its institutions. National governments and actors in the six political systems have been discussed primarily in so far as they are participants in the Community system. However, if we are to reach an understanding of the impact of the Communities on national processes, then some attention must be given to how the Communities are viewed from the national capitals, to the extent to which Community business impinges on the governmental systems in the member states and to the importance given to European matters among the competing issues which vie for prominence in national politics. Any analysis of the politics of European integration which looks from the Communities outwards makes the assumption that European issues are the only ones that count; but if those same issues are examined from a national perspective, we need to ask whether they represent simply one bundle of issues among many, or whether they have come to add a new dimension to the full range of governmental business and political debate.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Community Policy National Politics National Parliament 
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  1. 2.
    The phrase is used here as defined by Charles E. Lindblom, in The Policy-Making Process, Prentice Hall, 1968. For discussions of the distinction between the foreign policy and domestic policy processesGoogle Scholar
  2. see James N. Rosenau. ‘Foreign Policy as an Issue Area’, in Rosenau (editor), Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy, Free Press, New York, 1967, andGoogle Scholar
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  4. 3.
    The concept of ‘issue area’ is taken originally from Robert A. Dahl, Who Governs?, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 1961.Google Scholar
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    Leon N. Lindberg and Stuart A. Scheingold, Europe’s Would-be Polity, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1970, p. 79.Google Scholar
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    One such model was described by D. Sidjanski, in ‘The European Pressure Groups’, Government and Opposition, Vol. 2, No. 3, April–July 1967, pp. 400f.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See the arguments made by Miriam Camps, in European Unification in the Sixties, Oxford University Press, 1967, Ch. VI, pp. 196f., andGoogle Scholar
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    The information on the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund is drawn from a recent visit to their headquarters. For a description of the general attitudes of national interest groups see Werner Feld, ‘National Economic Interest Groups and Policy Formation in the EEC’, in Political Science Quarterly, September 1966.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Government and Opposition Ltd 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen S. Wallace

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