Adapting to Europe




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Peer reviewed



One of the most noticeable features of recent studies of European integration has been the growth in the number of publications that have focused on the impact that membership of the European Union has had on its member states. One element of this has been the emergence of a significant body of work that has been concerned with domestic patterns of adjustment, thereby helping to address an important gap in the literature (Knill and Lehmkuhl, 1999: 1; Börzel and Risse, 2000: 1). In this sense, it is striking that the majority of the EU literature has tended to focus on developments at the European level rather than paying attention to developments at the domestic level and in particular the impact of European integration. And those studies which have sought to examine the nature of a member state’s relationship with the EU have principally charted the negotiating stance taken by government in a historical perspective. This is significantly different from offering an analytical review of the extent to which European integration has impacted on member states, for example on the activities of government. This is a point of which Claudio Radaelli is perfectly aware: ‘Europe matters, but how? The political systems of the European Union (EU) member states are penetrated by European policies, but what is the effect of this process? Is Europeanization making the member states more similar? Or do different domestic political structures “refract” Europeanization in different directions? Has “Europe” changed domestic political structure (for example, party systems and public administration) and public policy? If so, what are the mechanisms of change?’ (Radaelli, 2000: 1). This article is concerned with the impact that membership of the European Union has had on member states by examining four books that seek to cast light on the nature of the relationship between the domestic and the EU level.

Any book that seeks to investigate the way in which membership of the EU has impacted on member states should be tested against a number of criteria: first, a common framework for analysis; second, is the book written in a manner that provides a coherent account or is it structured in a way that is more reflective of a collection of individual essays; and third, does the book enhance our knowledge of the subject area. In examining the various contributions that comprise these four books, this article is divided into five sections, the first of which looks at the changing character of EU membership. Section two sets these changes within the context of the emergent literature on Europeanization. The third section takes a closer look at the approach and focus deployed in each of the books, while section four examines the extent to which the material adds to our understanding of the relationship between the EU and its member states. The final section notes the overall value of the four books.



Europeanisation, European Union, member states


Blair, A. (2002) Adapting to Europe. Journal of European Public Policy, 9 (5), pp.841-856


Research Institute