The Europeanisation of national budgeting in the United Kingdom and France : a study of governmental processes
European Union membership affects budgetary practices in Britain and France much more than the conventional literature acknowledges. Budgetary Europeanisation, defined as the process of adaptation of budgetary processes to EU pressures, involves not merely the compliance of budgetary aggregates to EU guidelines but mainly changes in bureaucratic practices, methods and strategies. Budgetary institutions have become hybrid because of the growing entanglement of national and EU budgetary procedures; therefore the conventional national approach to budgeting is outdated. The impact on budgeting is greater on spending than on taxing because unanimous voting safeguards national governments' sovereignty on taxation. The thesis isolates various pressures which contribute to budgetary Europeanisation (competition, substitution, regulation, lobbying and demand by Member States). It explains strategic differences between Britain and France. The Euro-PES mechanism and the Fontainebleau agreement in the UK explain the non-maximisation strategy of British administration, which contrasts to the French, based on the "principe de constance" and sectoral rates-of-return. The thesis compares the processes of adaptation of bureaucratic mechanisms to the consequences of EU membership in different policy domains (Agriculture, Transport and Health). It concludes that the degree of adaptation of EU pressures is higher when national bureaucrats often interact with international actors because they are better able to influence decisions at EU level (a major difference between Transport and Health). It confirms the link between budgetary Europeanisation and the amount of EU finance in departments' budgets, but it shows that this link is a secondary explanation of differences in degrees of Europeanisation. Finally, the thesis shows how EU programmes promoted shifts in national decision-making, with greater effect on the processes of decision-making than on the substance of policy. This analysis suggests that national administrations retain a large margin of manoeuvre both in policy-making and in finance, and through their participation in the EU budgetary process.