chapter  1
Introduction: European integration and consensus politics
Pages 23

This chapter deals with the domestic politics of European policymaking. It describes the establishment and evolution of the coordination systems in the three Low Countries. The chapter explains that these are marked by Dutch ministerial autonomy, Luxembourgish informality and pragmatism and Belgian formalized cooperation, respectively. It elaborates on a number of specific propositions in order to assess EU coordination in terms of consensus politics. The chapter compares the way that European Union (EU) policy coordination in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg is established and assess the fit with existing domestic consensus-seeking arrangements. Coordination of national positions regarding EU policies is as old as the EU and its predecessors. The actors involved in national EU coordination reflect the issues of EU policymaking. In practice, consensus is nearly always reached at the Directorate-General of European Affairs (DEA) level; only a handful of cases are discussed in inter-ministerial meetings and almost none are discussed at the highest political level.