Uploading Domestic Interests to the European Level: Why Some Small States are More Active than Others

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Diana Panke
conference paper description
The recent enlargement of the European Union considerably increased the number of small member states. Of the 27 EU countries, 19 have fewer votes in the Council of Ministers than the EU average. They face structural disadvantages in uploading national policies to the EU level due to less bargaining power and less of the financial resources necessary for building up policy expertise and exerting influence via arguing. This paper explores strategic disadvantages of smaller states in advocating their policy interests to the EU and comprehensively maps out their strategies to counterbalance them. A comprehensive survey shows that some states are more active than others. In order to explain activity differences, three sets of explanations on learning, coordination mechanisms and legitimacy are developed and comprehensively tested. This shows that small states are most active in negotiations, if they have noninterrupted administrative work environments, motivated staff, policy expertise, been members of the EU for some time and experienced a learning curve while holding the office of the EU Presidency. By contrast, differences in specific or in diffuse support of EU integration do not influence how active small states are in shaping EU policies.