Administering Europe
: community officials and the bureaucratic integration of Europe (1952-1967)

  • Katja Seidel

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Administrations and administrative elites are key to the understanding of the history of the European Union. While they are protagonists in the integration of Europe, they have been severely neglected in historical research. T11is thesis makes a significant contribution to the historiography of the European integration process by combining the study of the origins of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community and the Commission of the European Economic Community with an analysis of the biographies and careers of European civil servants. The study is based on extensive archival research in ten archives in seven countries and on semi-structured interviews with former officials of the High Authority and of the Commission.
    The thesis covers three main themes. It firstly sheds new light on how the European administrations emerged and which structures, staff recruitment mechanisms and working methods they adopted. The recruitment patterns in particular invite the analysis of the role of external influences of member state governments and interest groups on the European administrations which could undermine their independence. The thesis thus unfolds the conflicts and difficulties faced by the High Authority and the Commission and their officials. It reveals that many decisions concerning the administrations and staff recruitment were guided not by considerations of practicality and pragmatism but by the aim of gaining legitimacy for the supranational administrations. Secondly, the study examines the biographical background of the first European high officials. Here, the concept of generations helps to highlight and put into perspective similarities and differences between officials and contributes to explaining why these individuals chose to invest their careers in the European integration process. The thesis also studies socialisation mechanisms within the administrations which facilitated a European identity formation among the civil servants. By focusing on administrative cultures that emerged in the Commission, the third theme combines the study of administrative structures with that of individuals.
    The thesis examines the examples of the common agricultural policy and competition policy and shows how administrative cultures and actor socialisation can impact on preference formation and ultimately influence the shape of Community policies. It thus demonstrates that analysing administrative cultures and socialisation processes are crucial for understanding Community policies.
    Date of Award11 Nov 2008
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorWolfram Kaiser (Supervisor)

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