lunedì 29 dicembre 2014

Supranational Organizations

Peter L. Lindseth 

University of Connecticut School of Law

September 14, 2014

Forthcoming in Ian Hurd, Ian Johnstone, and Jacob Katz Cogan, eds., Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (OUP, 2015) 

The key distinction between a supranational organization (SNO) and an international organization (IO) is the scope of autonomous regulatory power that the body may enjoy. Taking the European Union (EU) as the leading exemplar of the type, an SNO can exercise a whole range of rulemaking, adjudication, and enforcement powers with a comparatively high degree of independence from intergovernmental or national control, at least within the scope of authority delegated to the supranational level. In the literature on European legal integration over the last several decades, this degree of autonomous regulatory power has given rise to the notion that the EU has become something of an autonomous “constitutional” order in its own right. When applied to SNOs more generally, this becomes what we might call the “constitutional, not international” framework.

However, both SNOs and IOs can equally be seen — in fact, should better be seen — along a different dimension, what this contribution calls the “administrative, not constitutional” framework. From this perspective, delegation expresses “pre-commitment” of constitutional principals on the national level to a stream of policy choices to be implemented by denationalized agents enjoying some measure of autonomy, either de jure or de facto. The key difference between an SNO and IO is not in their purported “constitutionalization” but in the degree of autonomous regulatory discretion delegated to the denationalized agent. In legal terms, this analytical framework operates along a spectrum stretching from strongly legitimated “constitutional government” on the national level to diffuse and fragmented forms of “administrative governance” on either the sub-national, national, supranational, or international levels. In this regard, both SNOs and IOs, as well as national and sub-national agencies, can be seen as a further stage in the development of the diverse expressions of administrative governance beyond the political summit of the state (i.e., the “legislature” or the “executive” in their highest institutional forms).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: supranational organizations, international organizations, European Union, delegation, principal-agent theory, delegation, pre-commitment

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