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Please explain like I'm five: I get what's "supranationalism", but why didn't Craig define decisional supranationalism and normative supranationalism? Wikipedia was too gruff to help!


European Union Governance and Policy Making: A Canadian Perspective. 2018. p. 397 of 424.

Supranational / supranationalism: In EU decision-making, processes that are controlled by institutions that represent the EU as a whole, rather than the member states, and are designed to express the common European interest.

Craig, P and De Burca, G. EU Law 6 ed. 2015. All emboldenings are mine.

p. 147

      These developments contributed to the Euro-sclerosis that beset the Community during much of the 1970s, which had implications for the ECJ’s role. This story has been told most fully in the important work of Joseph Weiler.143 He explains how impediments to attainment of Community objectives through the political process led to the growing importance of normative supranationalism. The doctrines of direct effect, the supremacy of Community law, and pre-emption were central in this respect, enabling the Court to develop EC law, notwithstanding the difficulties in securing enactment through the legislative process.1443

p. 192

      The Court’s concern was to ensure that the EU’s aims were not ignored either by reluctant Member States or by sluggish EU institutions, during the years of so-called legislative sclerosis which followed the Luxembourg Accords.26 This story has been told most fully by Weiler, who has explained how impediments to attainment of Community objectives through the political process, decisional supranationalism, led to the growing importance of normative supranationalism.27 The doctrines of direct effect and the supremacy of Community law were central in this respect, enabling the ECJ to develop EU law, notwithstanding the difficulties in securing enactment through the legislative process. If a national court was unsure of the exact meaning of the relevant provision, the ECJ was more than willing to clarify its scope through the preliminary ruling procedure.

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Unless there's something specific in that Weiler reference (143), these words appear to have their usual meaning.

Normative means "setting the norm" (how things should be done).

Decisional means "as decided" (how things are going to be done).

That is to say, normative supranationalism means that supranationalism is viewed as the way things should be, while decisional supranationalism means that supranationalism is a solution that politicians came up with. Or even simpler. normative supranationalism is a goal, while decisional supranationalism is a tool.

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