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Small States and EU Governance

Leadership through the Council Presidency

Small States and EU Governance by Simone Bunse
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The rotating Council presidency took the centre stage in the EU's recent institutional reform debates disclosing a deep divide between the big and small Member States. While the former sought its abolition, the latter fiercely defended it. This divide resurfaced in the 2008 referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish rejected the treaty in part due to their concerns over the new institutional arrangements which contain the most fundamental reform of the Council presidency to date and over the balance between small and big Member States. This book investigates the tension between big and small states in the EU by taking a closer look at an institution that had long been ignored by EU scholars: the Council presidency. The literature has traditionally seen the presidency as a neutral, administrative task that is particularly irksome for the small. This gives rise to two inter-linked questions: a) why has the presidency reform been so contentious? and b) why are especially the small states such adamant supporters of the rotating office? Simon Bunse seeks answers to this puzzle by examining the political objectives the presidency serves and presenting a systematic and comparative assessment of its nature and influence in internal market and foreign policy issues. Her book is one of the most in-depth accounts of this institution to date, how to exert leadership in the EU, and of the factors that condition a presidency's success.
Palgrave Macmillan; March 2009
309 pages; ISBN 9780230234345
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Title: Small States and EU Governance
Author: Simone Bunse