From Frankenstein to Toothless Vampire: Explaining the Watering Down of the Services Directive

Mads Dagnis Jensen, Peter Nedergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The Services Directive is one of the most significant and controversial legislative proposals ever negotiated in the European Union (EU). This article fills a gap in our knowledge by addressing the key questions as to why and how this prestigious proposal was watered down during the negotiation process. By applying the framework of rational choice institutionalism, the analysis pinpoints the positions of the key players and estimates their relative importance in shaping the final outcome. Prima facie, the European Parliament seemed to be the decisive actor developing the text which was adopted in the end. However, a closer inspection reveals that the text was influenced by the newly elected conservative–socialist coalition government in Germany and reflected a relatively low common denominator which secured acceptance from not only the vast majority of Members of the European Parliament, but also avoided any explicit opposition in the adoption by the Council of Ministers.
The Services Directive is one of the most significant and controversial legislative proposals ever negotiated in the European Union (EU). This article fills a gap in our knowledge by addressing the key questions as to why and how this prestigious proposal was watered down during the negotiation process. By applying the framework of rational choice institutionalism, the analysis pinpoints the positions of the key players and estimates their relative importance in shaping the final outcome. Prima facie, the European Parliament seemed to be the decisive actor developing the text which was adopted in the end. However, a closer inspection reveals that the text was influenced by the newly elected conservative–socialist coalition government in Germany and reflected a relatively low common denominator which secured acceptance from not only the vast majority of Members of the European Parliament, but also avoided any explicit opposition in the adoption by the Council of Ministers.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Volume19
Issue number6
Pages844-862
ISSN1350-1763
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Council of Ministers
  • Decision-making process
  • EU
  • European Parliament
  • National parties
  • Rational choice institutionalism
  • Services directive

Cite this

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From Frankenstein to Toothless Vampire : Explaining the Watering Down of the Services Directive. / Jensen, Mads Dagnis; Nedergaard, Peter.

In: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 19, No. 6, 2012, p. 844-862.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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