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European integration and international politics: Commission-member state relations in the World Trade Organisation and selected multilateral environmental agreements.

Billiet, Stijn (2007) European integration and international politics: Commission-member state relations in the World Trade Organisation and selected multilateral environmental agreements. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Traditionally, theories of European integration have focussed on the internal dynamics of this unique form of international cooperation. This also holds for the principal-agent approach, a newer and more sophisticated methodology. This thesis argues that this approach's frame of reference needs to be broadened in order to offer a more coherent framework since the European Community is becoming an increasingly active player on the international stage. Consequently, the inward-looking bias in integration theory needs to be overcome to come to a better understanding of the development of the external role and position of the Commission. Through the analysis of case studies, the study of primary and secondary sources and interviews with policy-makers, this thesis shows that the external institutional framework impacts on Commission-Member States relations, and thus on the process of European integration. Within the strong institutional framework of the World Trade Organisation, the Commission has more leeway vis-a-vis the Member States to gain influence and competences. Through its central role in the WTO's dispute settlement system, the Commission has managed to gain broader competences concerning trade- related aspects of intellectual property rights. Furthermore, the Commission is a firm proponent of the strengthening of the dispute settlement system. It is actively trying to incorporate new issues of mixed competence, like investment, within this strong institutional framework in the hope of improving its position. This is not restricted to trade-issues either. Also in international environmental agreements, the Commission tries to strengthen its position by pushing for stronger institutional provisions and for the incorporation of environmental concerns within the WTO framework. The interaction between the European and the international level, and its impact on Commission-Member State relations necessitate complementing the principal-agent approach to make it more outward-looking so that it can also be used to study the external aspects of European integration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, European Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2713

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