The three articles all touch on the idea that the most powerful/elite actors played key roles during the process of finalizing the SEA but I found Moravcsik’s article to be the most compelling; however, some aspects of this article were not well articulated. The article proposes that through intergovernmental institutionalism, the role of supranational institutions in strengthening “existing interstate bargains as the foundation for renewed integration” (56) was dominant in finalizing the SEA. Moreover that European integration stems from the states and their relative power in the EU.
The three principles of intergovernmental institutionalism are as follows: 1). Intergovernmentalism is the expression of state interests at the national level, meaning the interests of the state are influenced at the domestic level not the international level 2). Lowest-common-denominator bargaining is that of the dominant state interests 3). The protection of sovereignty seeks to maintain state sovereignty without much loss to the supranational organization (Marovcsik 25-26).
Moravcsik explains the three nationalistic goals by the dominant states that lead to the overall approval of the SEA. Historically, Germany has profited “directly from economic integration” (29); France moved forward for political reasons as France’s term for EC presidency happened to come around at the time of negotiations; and Britain was in favor of liberalizing the market so long as the budgetary issues were resolved to their liking.
Through Weiner’s policy analysis guide I believe that this theory effectively describes the account of the SEA. As Marovcsik explains, there were three supranational factors that consistently recurred in EC reforms and thus lead to the successful passage of the SEA in 1986: “pressures from EC institutions; lobbying by transnational business interest groups; and the political entrepreneurship of the Commission” (21).
Where Moravcsik struggled was in the definition of the problem as to why the SEA was sought. The issue that lead to the passage of the SEA was not explicitly defined as did the other two articles. According to the findings of Sanholtz & Zysman and Garrett, the catalyst for reforms was the perceived decline of American economic dominance (particularly in technology) and the rise of Asian economies, specifically Japan. Clearly further research needs to be done to incorporate definitions of catalysts and domestic policy implications on the international level.