Party family or nation state? The post-decisional politics of supranational socio-economic regulation

Original Article


Do parties matter in the course of the domestic implementation of policy that is made beyond the nation state? Based on within-country and cross-country comparisons and empirical evidence from the regulation of working time by governments of the Left and the Right in Britain and France, this article offers two insights. First, the partisan composition of government matters, in line with cleavage theory of party positioning on European integration but, second, the national context in which ruling parties implement that policy affects the scope of the validity of the partisan hypothesis. Thus it is argued that, far from ending domestic political contestation on the Left-Right axis, policy made beyond the frontiers of the state in the context of European integration and its concrete domestic manifestations are subject to it but in domestically-defined ways.


implementation compliance working time directive France Britain parties 



The author is grateful to three referees and Birkbeck students for their comments on earlier versions of this article and would like to thank the politicians, ministerial advisers, civil servants, party officials, trade union officials and representatives of business organisations who agreed to be interviewed for the purposes of this research project. The financial support provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (award RES-000-22-2510) and the British Academy’s overseas conference grant (OC100246) are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birkbeck College, University of LondonLondonUK

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