New Constellations in European Research and Higher Education Governance
New Horizons in European Politics series
Edited by Meng-Hsuan Chou and Åse Gornitzka
Chapter 5: European institution building under inhospitable conditions - the unlikely establishment of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
Supranational institution building is at the heart of European integration. The dynamics of creating and designing new bodies is diverse, driven by functional needs, political motives, institutional fads and legacies (Groenleer 2009; Kelemen and Tarrant 2011). Some institutions have been established with relative ease, while others have come after protracted periods of struggles between main decision-makers, or have been proposed but never materialized. Particularly challenging to theories of European integration are the unlikely cases: if new European Union (EU) institutions are created when member states are unsupportive and historical legacies speak against them, how can this be accounted for and what can such cases tell us about the dynamics of supranational institution building? In this chapter we argue that the establishment of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) - a 'knowledge institution' under EU law that combines higher education, research and business activities - is such a crucial case. Its establishment provides an opportunity to study how new EU institutions are created and the nature of institutional design under inhospitable conditions. Several conditions have placed heavy odds against the establishment of this particular type of institution: in this area member states have been particularly reluctant to advance European integration, a high degree of national sensitivity to supranational involvement existed.
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