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Preferences, Preference Formation and Position Taking in a Eurozone Out: Lessons from the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Scott James, Hussein Kassim, Shaun Patrick Hargreaves Heap, Thomas Warren

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical studies review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2019

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Abstract

In the literature on member state position taking in the eurozone crisis, the debate has mainly centred on whether national preferences are shaped exclusively within the domestic setting or influenced by shared EU-level norms or interaction within EU institutions. This article goes beyond this discussion. Drawing on original data collected by the authors, it uses the UK’s experience to test the claims both of society-centred approaches, including liberal intergovernmentalism, and perspectives that emphasise the importance of shared EU norms or interaction. It argues that, while the first overlook the role of institutions as both actors and mediating variables in preference formation, the second rely have so far focused on the experience of eurozone members thereby raising the possibility of selection bias. Treating eurozone form as a series of processes rather than a single event, it contests the claim that preference formation is always driven by societal interests, highlights instances where government acts in the absence of or contrary to expressed societal interests, and reveals limitations of the shared norms critique of liberal intergovernmentalism. It shows that the UK government was driven by concern to protect the UK economy from financial contagion rather than solidarity with its European partners.

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