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Austria´s European Policy and its Coordination and Decision-making System at the Turn of the 21st Century

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Jeřábek, Martin

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Abstract The study describes Austria‘s relationship to the EU and the processes the country underwent in the past thirteen years as an EU member state. Due to its EU accession Austria went through a process of Europeanization. This paper analyses the top-down and bottom-up effects of this process. The author begins by asking to what extent Europeanization had an impact on the coordination mechanisms of Austrian politics, in particular, the executive and the legislative, and the specific features of the Austrian political system: federalism and corporatism. The analysis shows that the adaptation of institutions to EU model signifi cantly affected Austrian politics. The second part of the paper analyses the bottom-up effects, how domestic political processes infl uenced the Austrian European policy. Despite the strong Europeanization of Austria‘s domestic institutions the research found some problem junctures in the relationship between Austria and the EU. This included the issue of the coalition government that was formed with the participation of the FPÖ in 2000 and the sanctions other EU member states placed on Austria as a response. Another case occurred when Austria threatened to veto EU eastern expansion in 2001. On the basis of these two cases it was found that despite the adaptation of domestic institutions, domestic politics can still have a strong effect on European relations. However, the long-term trend in Austrian European policy indicates that the relationship between strong institutional adaptation and the country‘s positive pro-European policy is primarily harmonious.
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government; European Politics
Free Keywords Austria; political system; European policy; coordination system; European Union; federalism and the EU; corporatism
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 38-58
Journal Politics in Central Europe, 4 (2008) 1
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications