Common Eu Institutional Model
This essay has chosen to answer two very specific questions in order to answer the title question: (1) Has HMG been strengthened by EU membership? (2) How has the UK Parliament altered to EU membership? Given how there is an adaptation process (which can cause pressure) when complying with the various types of Europeanisation, a theoretical process would seem appropriate if this essay is to evidence how such changes have occurred. Therefore, if we keep in mind the end goal of this essay, which is to think about Europeanisation, ‘we must begin at the domestic level, investigate how strategies or organizations [or other political phenomena] are framed at the EU level, and then decide the varying impacts of the political difficulties and influences applied by the dispersion of European policy at the local level’ (Graziano and Vink, 2013: 28).
Moreover, in the context of Europeanisation, RCI provides a plethora of different models that can measure and explain the extent of EU compliance (Schneider and Ershova, 2018: 2). This essay, however, follows the path of Borzel and Risse (2000) which considers the importance of agents, self-interests, actions and resulting conflict (Eriksson, 2011: 166). In Europe, national governments should, as indicated by this view, react ‘deliberately to new open doors in the EU unless local veto points exhibit impassable difficulties toward such a reaction’ (Bulmer and Burch, 2009: 27). But given how there is no isomorphism and no real convergence towards a common EU institutional model that homogenizes the domestic structures of the EU states (Bongardt and Torres, 2013), the research here, given their powers, works under the assumption that the two institutional mechanisms chosen here are very pertinent for analysis of the UK and will detail a mixed resulting effect of top-down Europeanisation.
In terms of structure, the RCI path will firstly walkthrough: ‘the “logic of consequentialism”, [but will subsequently pertain to] the misfit between European and domestic processes, policies and institutions [that provide] societal and/or political actors with new opportunities and constraints in the pursuance of their interests.’ (Borzel and Risse, 2000: 1). Whether such changes in the political opportunity structure leads to a domestic redistribution of power, comes down to the capacity of certain actors (such as the PM) to exploit these opportunities and to avoid the consequent constraints. As expected in top-down Europeanisation, the difference will be measured on whether UK institutions converged over time because of their membership or whether those institutions remained much the same (Borzel and Panke: 2009: 411). Additionally, these authors have indicated that there are two mediating elements with opposite affects that will influence previously mentioned capacities; firstly, the existence of multiple veto points in a country’s institutional structure that may allow for certain actors to become resistant to change (such as Members of Parliament), and, secondly, the existence of formal institutions that may allow for the opposite effect where the systemic aspect of membership of the union could result in an increased likelihood of change (Borzel and Risse, 2000: 2).
The rationality assumption, which underlies the approach, demands (at the very least) that decision makers ‘be goal oriented and have transitive preferences over the possible outcomes of the interaction they are jointly involved in.’ (Schneider and Ershova, 2018: 2). This essay will consider the rational choice of individuals as the basic units of social analysis as they are what RCI consider ‘under the assumption of methodological individualism’ (Mastenbroak and Kaeding, 2006: 341). Methodological individualism is what the RCI approach relies on and holds that institutions exist ‘because of the actions of individual choices and can then cease to exist if individuals make it so’ (Eriksson, 2011: 141). In this instance, we can also think comparatively in the case former PM Edward Heath when he signed the Treaty of Accession in January 1972 (Geedes, 2013: 58-59). And then secondly, with this same assumption, we must consider how and in what ways both HMG and Parliament has adapted to the subsequent decisions that resulted from (the incoming) top-down Europeanisation that the individual with agency, John Major, wanted to bequeath.