Interministerial Coordination

   

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

EUOECD
 
The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
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Australia
All major policy proposals must pass through the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In its role of coordinating government policy and ensuring a consistent and coherent legislative program, the department has the capacity to return any item that conflicts with the government’s overall policy agenda. However, such an occasion rarely arises, since the department is involved at an early stage in assisting with the drafting of any significant policy initiatives, so it does not reach an advanced stage without department approval.
Chile
The Government or Cabinet Office (Ministerio Secretaría General de Gobierno, Segegob) has the ability to return items. The president can overrule the advisory ministry if he or she holds a strong particular interest in a special item. But in the day-to-day course of operations, this rarely happens. Under the previous government, however, some proposals were blocked directly by then-President Sebastián Piñera.
France
The Prime Minister’s Office has strong powers vis-à-vis line ministers. Since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, the authority of the prime minister has been indisputable. President Hollande’s reluctance to impose a strong line weakened the prime minister vis-à-vis the ministers during the term of the first prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. His successor, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, has imposed a return to strict discipline and forced dissenting ministers to resign. This turmoil has shown that beyond the formal rules, it is political leadership that enables the full application of the prime minister’s powers. Returning to the tradition of the Fifth Republic, President Macron has fully restored the hierarchy and the gatekeeping role of the prime minister.
Hungary
Under the Orbán governments, all important personal, political and policy decisions have been made by the prime minister and the small groups of his confidents. The gatekeeping role has long been played by the Minister of the PMO János Lázár and the head of the personal political cabinet of Orbán Antal Rogán. Rogán is a close ally of Árpád Habony, the closest adviser to Orbán, who has no official position and no public presence. As Orbán has tried to play a bigger role in the EU in the period under review, Lázár und Rogán have been joined lately by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó.
Iceland
The Prime Minister’s Office has no formal authority. Formally issues can only be approved in cabinet if a unanimous decision is reached by ministers. In practice, however, prime ministers can return items to cabinet despite this authority not being explicitly granted by law.
USA
The comparable issue for the U.S. system concerns the ability of White House staff to control the presentation of issues, proposals, policy papers and decision memoranda to the White House or cabinet-based presidential-advisory committees. In fact, the president and his or her staff assign the responsibility for coordinating decision processes on major issues and may choose to emphasize White House or cabinet responsibility in varying degrees as he or she organizes the White House and establishes advisory arrangements. In recent presidencies, a strong and consistent trend has favored White House control. In the Obama administration, for example, the White House controlled policy management and thus the presentation of decision materials almost completely, with cabinet officials in subordinate roles. In the Trump administration, there are few initiatives from departments and agencies and actors have influence to the extent that they are assumed to reflect Trump’s preferences.
9
Canada
In general, Canada’s government office, the PCO, can both legally and de facto return items to initiating departments on the basis of policy considerations. Indeed, this happens frequently. On the other hand, as one deputy minister in Ottawa once observed, “He who writes the first draft, controls policy.” To be sure, central agencies have significant influence within the machinery of government in Ottawa. However, there is ongoing dialog between central-agency staff and line-department officials. Things tend to be sorted out before items are “returned” to line departments. Moreover, unless draft legislation has a financial resources component to it, neither Finance nor Treasury Board officials are likely to take a strong interest.
Denmark
The prime minister has the discretionary power to take the actions deemed necessary. The tradition of “minister rule” (ministerstyre) implies that this possibility is rarely exercised. Moreover, the fact that most governments have been minority governments implies that consensus and negotiation is involved.
Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munk Christiansen and Marius Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning, 4 th ed., 2017.
Ireland
The Department of the Taoiseach reviews draft memoranda designated for discussion by the cabinet. Its views are taken into account when these memoranda are revised. The taoiseach’s office exercises tight control over the government agenda; as does the Department of Finance.

Most policy originates in the line departments, but the Department of the Taoiseach has grown in size and competence in recent years, and has the capacity to block most items. In 2010, the Department of the Taoiseach had a total of 179 civil service staff, as well as seven advisers serving the taoiseach directly (see O’Malley 2012). The Department of the Taoiseach has several different policy divisions. Though these have varied over the years depending on the taoiseach’s priorities, divisions on the economy, the EU and Britain and Northern Ireland have been a constant. In 2017, there were also divisions on international affairs, social policy and public-sector reform, and economics, regulation and climate change.
Citations:
Eoin O’Malley, ‘The Apex of Government: Cabinet and Taoiseach in Operation,’ in Eoin O’Malley and Muiris MacCarthaigh (eds, 2012), Governing Ireland: From Cabinet Government to Delegated Governance. Dublin: IPA.

Eoin O’Malley and Shane Martin, ‘The Government and the Taoiseach,’ in John Coakley and Michael Gallagher, Politics in The Republic of Ireland. (Routledge, 2018).
Malta
Malta’s system of government is based on the Westminster system, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) can return most items on policy grounds. In practice, policies are adopted or rejected following cabinet discussions. Although the PMO has not established procedures for sectoral policy overviews, it now employs a number of offices to achieve this, including the Policy Efficiency Unit and Internal Audit Offices. The NAO also monitors policies and gives feedback; government has pledged to implement all recommendations. Much also depends on the powers of persuasion of the prime minister among his cabinet colleagues. The cabinet has a great deal of leverage, and its members are the most likely to object to policy or a draft bill.
Mexico
The role of the presidential office is significant in Mexico. Because Mexico does not have a prime minister, there has been no real counterweight to the power of the presidency within the executive branch of government. Much of the power thus comes from the presidential office. Whatever the legal situation might be, it makes no sense to press ahead with items to be discussed in cabinet if the presidential office opposes them. Good relations between the presidential office and an individual member of cabinet matter more to the cabinet secretary than to the presidential office.
New Zealand
The key policy adviser in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) plays an influential role in policy processes and regularly intervenes to “pull” cabinet papers that are deemed to be inadequate in some way.
Citations:
Confidential information by a policy adviser in the DPMC.
Norway
The Office of the Prime Minister plays an important role in coordinating government policy and ensuring a consistent and coherent legislative program, especially in situations when line ministries are in disagreement. It is able to and often does return materials to departments for further elaboration, and frequently works directly with departments on draft proposals. Both the gatekeeping and general policy-oversight functions are shared with the ministries of Finance and Justice.
South Korea
There is extensive coordination between ministries, the prime minister’s office and the Blue House in the course of planning cabinet meetings. The president presides over regular cabinet meetings and can legally and de facto return any items envisaged for meetings as he or she wishes. In practice, this competence is limited only by the expertise of the Blue House and the relatively small size of the Blue House bureaucracy. Thus, the de facto ability to return issues depends on their political importance to the president.
Spain
Materials earmarked for cabinet meetings (usually draft bills or appointments of top officials) are not frequently returned, but the Government Office (Ministerio de la Presidencia, GO) can do so, citing either formal or substantive considerations. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) does not have the official mandate to return items on policy grounds but, given its political weight within the core executive, does so nonetheless.

The head of the GO (who is also the deputy prime minister), since 2011 Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, can reject initiatives either in her political or legal position as chairperson of the committee that prepares Council of Ministers meetings (the Comisión General de Subsecretarios y Secretarios de Estado). The directors of the prime minister’s Private Office and the Economic Office can de facto return items, but only by taking advantage of their proximity to the prime minister.

Nonetheless, the prime minister’s Economic Office has also been, since 2012, officially responsible for coordinating economic matters. It does so through a specialized ministerial committee on economic affairs. This constellation grants the Economic Office some legal capacity to accept or return on economic policy or budgetary grounds items that have been submitted by a ministry.

A legal reform of the new general administrative procedure passed in October 2015 introduced the so-called Annual Normative Plan, along with the idea of “better regulation” as a guiding principle for Spanish lawmaking. The Royal Decree 286/2017, which regulates the Annual Normative Plan, reinforced the GO’s role as a central gatekeeper able to monitor whether sectoral ministries sending legal proposals to the cabinet meeting have respected formal and policy considerations and that new proposals are compatible with previous plans.
Citations:
Real Decreto 286/2017, de 24 de marzo, por el que se regulan el Plan Anual Normativo y el Informe Anual de Evaluación Normativa de la Administración General del Estado y se crea la Junta de Planificación y Evaluación Normativa
https://www.boe.es/diari o_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2017-3415
Sweden
The GO or PMO always have the final say on policy decisions and can return items on political or technical grounds. The only exception to this rule is when there is minority government and the parliamentary majority makes a decision which is in conflict with the government’s proposal.

However, given the distinct top-down nature of the work in the GO, items rarely proceed very far without an approving not from upstairs, so it is not very common that policy items are returned in the final stage of the decision-making process. When this happens, it is usually because the timing of a given proposal is not politically advantageous or it is unclear how the policy will be funded. It can also be the case that the European Union adopts a policy that render a domestic policy moot. A final observation is that for the current government, which is a minority coalition government, policy progress must be coordinated not just among departments, but also among the governing partners and the opposition.
Citations:
Niemann, C. (2013), Villkorat förtroende. Normer och rollförväntningar i relationen mellan politiker och tjänstemän i Regeringskansliet (Stockholm: Department of Political Science, University of Stockholm).

Premfors, R. and G. Sundström (2007), Regeringskansliet (Malmö: Liber).
Turkey
According to Article 112 of the constitution, the prime minister, as chairman of the Council of Ministers, is tasked with ensuring cooperation among ministers and with supervising the implementation of government general policy. The members of the Council of Ministers are jointly responsible for the implementation of policy. Each minister is responsible to the prime minister and is responsible for the conduct of affairs under his or her jurisdiction and the acts and activities of his or her subordinates. The prime minister ensures that the ministers exercise their functions in accordance with the constitution and the law, and can take corrective measures. Article 109 of the constitution, which gives the prime minister the power to appoint ministers, also makes his or her oversight power over ministerial proposals clear. However, ministries have been able to exercise greater influence during periods of coalition government. In those times, to prevent this, a special coordinating body composed of ministers from coalition parties sets the agenda for cabinet meetings. In contrast to that, since the presidential election in 2014, and the re-election of the AKP into power in 2015, the presidency evolved into another strong power center in the policymaking process, indicated by the regularity with which President Erdogan has chaired cabinet meetings. During the review period, Erdoğan’s de facto status as chair of the cabinet became de jure following his election as chair of the AKP in May 2017. The Presidential Office has assumed primary authority for coordinating between ministries, with the PMO becoming a secondary authority.

There is also a hidden (discretionary) budget which is allocated by the prime minister and the minister of finance. Following the 2014 presidential elections, an additional presidential discretionary budget was also created. The total expenditure from these funds reached €471.3 million during the first eight months of 2017. These funds are not audited.
Citations:
Circular, 2012/15, 16 Haziran 2012, http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskil er/2012/06/20120616-6.htm (accessed 27 October 2015)
Cumhurbaşkanlığı’na örtülü ödenek yetmedi, bütçe 546 milyona çıktı, T24, 16 September 2015, http://t24.com.tr/haber/cumhurbaskanligina-ortulu-odenek-yetmedi-butce-546-milyona-cikti,309811 (accessed 27 October 2015)
“Erdoğan ve Yıldırım’ın kullandığı 1 yıllık örtülü ödenek 8 ayda bitti,” 16 September 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/erdogan-ve-yildirimin-kullandigi-1-yillik-ortulu-odenek-8-ayda-bitti,441810 (accessed 1 November 2017)
UK
During the coalition government 2010 to 2015, a complex mechanism had to be set up to ensure bipartisan approval and consistency among coalition partners. After the end of the coalition and the return to single party government in May 2015, the situation has returned to the pre-2010 status quo and remained so after the majoritarian government turned into a one-party minority government in 2017.

The Cabinet Secretariat, the most important political unit within the Cabinet Office, sets the agenda for cabinet meetings and prepares a forward program, which is agreed by the prime minister. The Cabinet Secretariat may contact ministerial offices to request that a minister makes a presentation, presents a paper or raises an issue orally. The prime minister is thus in a very strong position.
Citations:
Constitution Unit 2011: Inside Story: How Coalition Government Works (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/coalition-government/interim-report.pdf). Royal Holloway Group 2012: A partnership of unequals: Positional power in the coalition government, in: British Politics 7 (4), 418-442.
 
The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
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Greece
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) can return all items on policy grounds, but the Syriza-ANEL government has created a rather complex set of posts of adviser and consulting organs surrounding the prime minister. The prime minister has the final word regarding what will be discussed in cabinet meetings. On different policy issues, the prime minister consults a small, informal circle of personal associates and governing party officials, meeting at the headquarters of the PMO almost daily. The small, informal circle includes three ministers without portfolio who assist the prime minister in governing. Owing to the relative increase in Prime Minister Tsipras’s credibility with Greece’s lenders after he agreed to implement the August 2015 adjustment program, his powers to return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting have increased. In general, it is the Ministry of Finance, along with the PMO, which plays the role of gatekeeper, as Greece’s finances are closely inspected by the country’s lenders. However, in the period under review, relations between the minister of finance and the prime minister was a matter of much speculation by the media.
Italy
Prime Minister Renzi resigned following the constitutional referendum defeat in December 2016. Subsequently, the position of prime minister has become more complex, as Renzi, the leader of the largest government coalition party, is not a member of the government. There is now a sort of dual leadership shared by Prime Minister Gentiloni and Renzi, the leader of the Democratic Party. This means that the initiating and gatekeeping of legislation require the agreement of both leaders, which is not always granted.
Luxembourg
The prime minister has the authority to reject policy proposals or inspire new policy projects as well as sets the agenda for and presides over the meetings of the Council of Government. Decisions of the Council are taken by majority votes; in case of impasse, the prime minister casts the deciding vote. Moreover, in cases of urgency, the prime minister can take certain decisions alone, including suspending the execution of resolutions of the Council; reporting on these decisions during the next meeting of the Council. In general, the prime minister can withdraw a project or a draft bill without formal procedures. However, the prime minister is considered the first among equals (primus inter pares) and should avoid interfering where possible, particularly in issues that are the responsibility of ministers from other coalition parties. Consultative bodies, interministerial meetings and the Inspection General of Finance (Inspection générale des finances, IGF), which is affiliated with the budget ministry, function as arbiters in policymaking.
Citations:
“Initiative en matière législative.,” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale,
http://www.gouvernement.lu/1719156/initiative-legislative. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.

„GUIDE PRATIQUE DE LA PROCÉDURE LÉGISLATIVE ET RÉGLEMENTAIRE.“ Le Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2015.
data.legilux.public.lu/file/eli-etat-leg-recueil-procedure_legislative-20150301-fr-pdf.pdf. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.
Portugal
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is able to return proposed legislation on the basis of policy considerations. In light of the understanding among the four parties that support the minority government, its decisions on returning policy additionally take political considerations into account. The priority given to budgetary consolidation has meant that the Ministry of Finance remains important in this process.
7
Belgium
Before implementation, each government project is submitted to the ministers’ council, which meets weekly. The council is composed of a secretariat, which scrutinizes technically and politically each proposal before it is debated and prepares the ministers’ council agenda, and 14 line ministers and the prime minister, who debate each proposal. Decisions are made on the basis of political consensus, not a majority vote.

Either directly or through the council’s secretariat, the prime minister can block any item presented and either return it for redrafting or turn it down completely. This may be because a project does not fit the government agreement or conflicts with one of the coalition parties’ agenda, but can be for any other reason as well. All government members must by contrast defend all accepted projects collegially. In general, the detailed government agreement, informally referred to as “the bible,” provides an easy justification for the rejection of projects that might be politically difficult to handle; if a project does not directly relate to the governmental agreement, it is likely to be turned down either by the prime minister or through maneuvers by some other coalition parties in the “core.”
Citations:
Reference: http://www.premier.be/fr/conseil-des-ministres
Finland
The Prime Minister’s Office can return items envisaged for cabinet meetings on policy grounds. As the Prime Minister’s Office coordinates the drafting of proposals, and also arranges the agenda for cabinet meetings, there is rarely reason for it to return items. The rule is that ministers can place items on the cabinet’s agenda even against the wishes of the prime minister. The handling of conflicts can be delicate, especially in cases when the prime minister and minister represent different parties, and perhaps differing political interests which need to be reconciled. Yet controversial items are often discussed in informal meetings beforehand. A weekly institutionalized unofficial meeting of the cabinet led by the prime minister, called the Iltakoulu (evening sessions), plays an important function in consensual decision-making. In addition to the ministers, evening sessions are attended by the parliamentary group chairpersons of the parties in government, the Chancellor of Justice, the State Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Director of Government Communications.
Israel
Traditionally, the prime minister did not hold the power to return items to the Israeli general cabinet meetings. However, in 2012 it filed for an amendment to standard practice, which was then ratified by the government. This included expanding the prime minister’s authority to delay the implementation of government decisions by resubmitting an issue to vote after it had been rejected, as well as authorizing him or her to cancel, postpone or summon meetings for government decisions. Since the passage of this amendment, the prime minister has returned several items, and his position has significantly strengthened.
Citations:
Barnea, Shlomit and Ofer Kenig, “Political nominations in the executive branch,” IDI website June 2011 (Hebrew)

“Government bill amendment 868 from 12.8.2012,” PMO official website:http://www.pmo.gov.il/Secretary/sederyom/Pages/seder120812.aspx (Hebrew)

Weisman, Lilach, “Expansion of the Prime Minister’s authorities was approved; We must stop the madness,” Globes website 12.8.2012: http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000773448 (Hebrew)
Japan
Present guidelines for policy coordination make the Cabinet Office the highest and final organ for policy coordination below the cabinet itself. This has de jure enabled prime ministers to return items envisaged for cabinet meetings on policy grounds. In practice, however, this rarely happens, as items reaching the cabinet stage are typically those on which consensus has been established. However, contentious policy issues can produce intercoalition conflicts even at the cabinet level.

Formal input into lawmaking processes is provided by the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. This body’s official mandate is to make sure that bills conform to existing legislation and the constitution, rather than to provide material evaluation. Ministry representatives are seconded to the Bureau to provide sectoral competences, creating influences difficult to counter in the absence of independent expertise at the central level. The lack of minutes for some key 2015 meetings raised the question of whether the Cabinet Legislation Bureau had become politicized and thus less independent under Prime Minister Abe.
Citations:
N. N., Cabinet Legislation Bureau chief defends self over process of reinterpreting Article 9, The Mainichi, 17 March 2016

Richard Samuels, Politics, Security Policy, and Japan’s Cabinet Legislation Bureau: Who Elected These Guys, Anyway?, JPRI Working Paper No. 99 (March 2004), http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp99.html
Latvia
The government office has the ability to return materials submitted for cabinet consideration based on procedural considerations. Procedural evaluation includes assessing the quality of the accompanying annotation (often in the form of regulatory impact assessment) and ascertaining whether consensus-building procedures have been followed (i.e., whether agreement has been achieved among ministries) and whether public consultation procedures have taken place.

The prime minister has the right to decide when to put issues on the cabinet agenda. These assessments are informed by expert opinions from the PKC and the government office. Controversial issues are raised in informal political consultations (coalition council) prior to placement on the cabinet agenda.
Lithuania
Draft government decisions advance primarily as a result of coordination between line ministries and other state institutions at the administrative and political levels. The Government Office has no power to return items envisioned for the cabinet meetings on the basis of policy considerations. However, the prime minister formally sets the agenda of cabinet meetings, thus serving a gatekeeping function. There have been cases in which prime ministers have removed highly politicized issues from a meeting agenda, or on the contrary included such items on an agenda despite the absence of interministerial agreement.
Romania
Under the Grindeanu and the Tudose government alike, the government office has enjoyed the formal authority to return proposals to line ministries. Before and after the Grindeanu government, there has been a division of labor between the Secretariat General of the Government focusing on the technical issues and the Prime Minister’s Chancellery being able to return items on policy grounds.
Citations:
OECD (2016): Public Governance Scan Romania. Paris (https://www.oecd.org/countries/romania/public-governance-review-scan-romania.pdf).
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Cyprus
The constitution provides that the agenda of the Council of Ministers is set by the president “at his discretion,” implying power to withhold action on an item. Decisions are made by the Council of Ministers as a whole, with the president chairing the meeting and having only the right to take part in the discussion. The cabinet can decide to send a proposal back to a line ministry. When Council decisions are communicated to the president by the secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the president has the right to return a decision for reconsideration or to veto decisions on specific matters (security, foreign affairs, defense). If the Council of Ministers insists on their initial position on a matter returned for reconsideration, the decision must be promulgated through publication in the official gazette. Despite this constitutional option, no specific cases of discord between the president and the Council of Ministers have ever been reported. The extent to which decisions echo the views of dissenting parties in case of actual differences is unclear.
Czech Rep.
The Government Office has primarily administrative functions. It supports the work of the various expert bodies attached to the government, including the Government Legislative Council, as well as the work of ministers without their own department. The government office takes part in the interministerial coordination process, but has no formal authority beyond that of any other participant in the discussion.
Estonia
Since the evaluation capacity of the PMO is very limited, policy considerations rarely serve as a reason to return the proposals. The coalition government program and political arguments between coalition partners tend to be more important in this context.
Germany
The Chancellery, and particularly its head, sets the agenda for cabinet meetings. However, real political power lies elsewhere. The cabinet’s agenda is negotiated in advance between the top politicians of coalition partners, and the cabinet mostly works as a certificating institution for policy matters decided by the heads of the political parties. Thus, the Chancellery will only in exceptional cases refuse items envisaged for the cabinet meetings on the basis of its own policy considerations. Generally, the heads of political parties, rather than the Chancellery, act as gatekeepers.
Poland
All draft bills are reviewed by the Chancellery’s Council of Ministers Committee Department before their presentation in the Council of Ministers, and the prime minister is formally allowed to return items on policy grounds. However, a number of factors have limited the actual gatekeeping role of Prime Minister Szydło. First, the number of ministries has increased from 17 to 21 under the PiS government. Second, there is a core group of ministers who enjoy a special standing in the government, including Defense Minister Macierewicz, Minister of Justice Ziobro, Minister of Science and Higher Education Gowin and Minister of Development Morawiecki. Finally, PiS party chairman Jarosław Kaczyński serves as the ultimate gatekeeper in the PiS government.
Slovenia
In Slovenia, the Government Office has the formal power to return draft laws on policy reasons or any other grounds. In practice, however, the gatekeeping role of the Government Office is of limited importance, since most legislative projects are initially discussed between the coalition partners and subsequently undergo a complex process of interministerial coordination.
Netherlands
Given the nature of Dutch politics – a strong departmental culture and coalition governments – the Ministry of General Affairs has little more to rely upon in carrying out its gatekeeping functions than the government policy accord (regeerakkoord). Ministerial departments have considerable power in influencing the negotiations that take place during the elaborate process of preparing Council of Ministers’ decisions. Each line ministry – that is, its minister or deputy minister – has a secretariat that serves as the administrative “front gate.” By the time an issue has been brought to the Council of Ministers, it has been thoroughly debated, framed and reframed by the bureaucracy between the ministries involved.

Gatekeeping in the Dutch system is one-directional; policy documents are moved from lower to higher administrative levels. The prime minister, through his representatives, does play a prominent role in coordinating this process. But given the limited scope of his monitoring capacities and staff, he can steer the course of events for only a fairly small number of issues. The euro crisis has provided the prime minister with a clear range of agenda-setting and policy-coordination priorities. Furthermore, pressure from the European Union on member states to improve the coordination of economic and fiscal policy has resulted in both the prime minister and minister of finance taking on a more prominent role in shaping the Netherlands’ fiscal and economic policies. The European Semester arrangement forces the government to update its economic policies every half year in the Nationaal Hervormingsprogramma in response to EU judgment. Under both the Rutte I and II cabinets, this has been a major driver of better gatekeeping and policy coordination.
Citations:
Europa NU, Coordinatie nationale economieen (www.europa-nu.nl/id/vg9pni7o8qzu/coordinatie-nationale-economieen)
Ministerie van EZ, Nederlands Nationaal Hervormingsprogramma 2013 (ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/nd/nrp2013_netherlands_nl.pdf)

Additional reference:
R.B. Andeweg and G.A. Irwin ( 2014), Governance and politics of the Netherlands. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

M. Rutte, De minister-president: een aanbouw aan het huis van Thorbecke, Lecture by the Prime Minister, 12 October 2016 (rijksoverheid.nl, consulted 8 November 2016)
 
The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
5
Austria
Although the chancellor chairs cabinet meetings, his or her office is not in practice able to control the meeting’s agendas. The cabinet is a body of equals and must reach unanimity in its decisions. The chancellor is first among equals. In advance of each formal cabinet meeting, coalition parties internally coordinate issues within their party. In a second step, issues identified as potentially subject to opposition or veto by other coalition parties are sent for discussion to an informal group usually comprised of one cabinet member from each party. If agreement concerning a specific proposal does not seem possible, the item will not be placed on the cabinet’s agenda.

The Chancellor’s Office’s only true gatekeeping privilege involves its capacity to oversee the constitutionality of policy proposals. The Legal and Constitutional Service of the Chancellor’s Office is widely respected for pursuing a nonpartisan agenda. If this department identifies a proposal as a potential violation of the constitution, the proposal is either put aside or sent back to the originating ministry for revision.

Apart from constitutional matters, the chancellor’s gatekeeping powers are restricted to his or her own party. As head of government, the chancellor can informally return materials within his or her own party’s cabinet faction, as can the vice-chancellor within his or her cabinet faction.

The chancellor’s position may have been strengthened by the following recent development: The Treaty of Lisbon has reduced the numbers of national participants at the meeting of the European Council to one. Within the context of a coalition cabinet such as that currently in place in Austria, the single Austrian representative – the chancellor gains political visibility and this can be interpreted as eroding the political significance of the foreign minister.
Croatia
The Prime Minister’s Office has the political authority to return policy proposals it receives from ministries. However, its gatekeeping role is limited by its weak sectoral-policy expertise. Prime Minister Orešković tried to expand the role of the Prime Minister’s Office in interministerial coordination by appointing Jakša Puljiz, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds in the Milanović government, chief integration officer in charge of interministerial coordination. The government under Prime Minister Plenković has not followed up on this attempt to strengthen Prime Minister’s Office’s gatekeeping role.
Slovakia
The Government Office (GO) has primarily administrative and technical functions. It mostly supports the work of the various advisory bodies of the government, including the Legislative Council and the Council for Solidarity and Development (which includes selected civil society actors), as well as the work of ministers without their own ministry. The GO takes part in the interministerial coordination process, but while it has the formal power to return draft laws on policy grounds, its gatekeeping role has traditionally been limited. In 2016, bodies tasked with monitoring the distribution of EU structural funds have become subsumed under the GO.
Switzerland
There is no prime minister in Switzerland. The Federal Chancellery manages and prepares the agenda of the Federal Council, and can return items and postpone consideration of political issues if they are deemed to conflict with other policies.
4
Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, neither the Council of Ministers’ administration nor the prime minister and his political cabinet have formal authority to return materials on the basis of policy considerations. However, the prime minister has some informal influence on the preparation and formulation of legislation.
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The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
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