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Whither the commission? Reform, renewal and the issue-attention cycle

Cram, L. (2001) Whither the commission? Reform, renewal and the issue-attention cycle. Journal of European Public Policy, 8 (5). pp. 770-786. ISSN 1350-1763

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Abstract

'Whither the Commission?' is a question faced by officials within the Commission, would-be architects of the EU and academic observers of the EU policy process. The Commission crisis of 1999, the rise of new actors and the increased power of existing actors (such as the EP) have brought the role of the Commission to the height of the 'issue-attention cycle'. As well as instigating a comprehensive internal reform process under the guidance of Commissioner Kinnock, the Commission has sought to tackle this issue through the development of a White Paper on European Governance. This article places the current Commission proposals on the future of European governance in historical and analytical context. As the issue of the future of the Commission progresses up and down the issue-attention cycle, the most appropriate action for the Commission, it is argued, may be to sit tight and make sure that it is well prepared with palatable proposals for the next phase of 'alarmed discovery'.