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The European Commission and Bureaucratic Autonomy
Europe's Custodians


  • Date Published: June 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107023215

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the struggle of the European Union bureaucracy to maintain its autonomy in an increasingly complex institutional setting and adverse political environment. Using an original survey of nearly two hundred top European Commission officials, it shows that the Commission is a coherent organization that shares a common culture of supranationalism. The European Union's multicephalous structure of political authority limits the capacity of European politicians to curb the autonomy of the Commission but tends to undermine the legitimacy of the organization, which finds itself under persistent political attacks. These attacks inadvertently help the organization bolster its defenses against the external threats and trigger internal legitimation processes that reinforce the devotion of its employees to its institutional mission. The rich survey data show how Commission bureaucrats establish themselves as the 'custodians of Europe'. The book helps disentangle the complexity of the Commission and makes a contribution to the study of international bureaucracies, a topic that has received little attention.

    • Original survey of nearly 200 top Commission officials
    • Wealth of original data documenting the autonomy of the Commission
    • Theoretical discussion of bureaucratic autonomy in national and international settings
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107023215
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 36 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The autonomy of national and transnational bureaucracies
    3. Surveying top European bureaucrats
    4. Autonomy at the top of the European bureaucracy
    5. Political attempts to alter bureaucratic behavior
    6. Cultural impediments to political control
    7. Custodians of 'Europe'
    8. Bureaucratic attitudes and policy outputs
    9. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Antonis A. Ellinas, University of Cyprus
    Antonis A. Ellinas is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cyprus. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and his B.A. from Hamilton College. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Reuters Institute and Nuffield College of Oxford University and a Fulbright Scholar. He studies political organizations and specializes on political parties, the mass media and public bureaucracies. His first book, The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. His work has appeared in Comparative Politics, the Journal of European Public Policy and the Journal of Common Market Studies, among others.

    Ezra Suleiman, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Ezra Suleiman is the IBM Professor of International Studies and Professor of Politics, as well as the founder and former Director of the Program in European Politics and Society at Princeton University. He received his BA from Harvard University, continued his graduate work at the Universities of London and Paris and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Suleiman has lectured and taught at many European universities and was a professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris for more than a decade. He has been a visiting scholar at numerous institutions, including the CNRS (France), Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium), Nuffield College (Oxford), the European University Institute (Florence) and the University of Turin (Italy). He has received numerous awards from, among others, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the ACLS, the Fulbright Commission, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, the American Academy in Berlin, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and the Collegio Carlo Alberto (University of Turin). Professor Suleiman was awarded the Legion of Honor by President Jacques Chirac for his contribution to French culture and to Franco-American relations. He has published more than ten books on European politics covering areas of policy making, comparative bureaucracy, elites and executive leadership. He has also contributed articles to Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Liberation and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He serves on the boards of several journals, academic institutions, and think tanks, as well as several corporations.

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