The Formation of Domestic Preferences on the EU Constitution in Spain


Contesting the thesis of liberal intergovernmentalism that national governments aggregate the preferences formed in civil society through a pluralist process, this article argues that national governments create and shape their preferences within an institutional environment that may act as feeder of these preferences or as modeller of them. Using the Spanish case, a set of five variables operationalize the notion of institutional environment: the ideology of party in government, prevalent political culture and policy style, the institutional arrangements for EU policy making, the domestic structure of opportunities, the search for institutional congruence and the endogenization of preferences. These are used to explain the preferences of the Spanish government in negotiating the draft Constitutional Treaty. The conclusion underlines that rationality is not absent but attention must be paid to the institutional environment in which goals are formulated.

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Closa, C. The Formation of Domestic Preferences on the EU Constitution in Spain. Comp Eur Polit 2, 320–338 (2004).

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  • preferences
  • Spain
  • constitutional politics
  • IGC
  • Convention
  • domestic EU politics