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SPP 506

Author: Richard Rose, Daniela Corona and Alexander Trechsel
Description: In the EU’s system of multi-level governance, decisions are normally taken by consensus following deliberations among 28 national governments in which both large and small states participate. However, they must also be co-ordinated with politics and policies in 28 separate national systems of government. Vertical co-ordination is therefore necessary and cannot be taken for granted. The europeanization of public policy makes this increasingly important, especially for states such as Portugal, which is in deficit by Eurozone standards. The staff of the Portuguese Permanent Representative’s Office, a mixture of diplomats and staff seconded from national ministries in Lisbon, is responsible for vertical co-ordination with national ministries that must bear in mind constraints at the European level that differ from national politics. A smart strategy for a small EU member state is to define its national priorities in generic rather than national terms, because any position must have multi-national acceptance to secure endorsement by a super-majority of member states.

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