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In their recent article, “The Institutional Foundations of Intergovernmentalism and Supranationalism in the European Union,” George Tsebelis and Geoffrey Garrett profess to offer a “unified model of the politics of the European Union.” Unfortunately, the article provides something much more limited. Along the way, it misrepresents the current state of theoretical and empirical work on the EU. As a consequence, the article fails to recognize the areas of potential agreement between their research and that of others, as well as genuine differences.

Our point of reference is the European Integration and Supranational Governance project, collaborative research published in 1998. It is this work that Tsebelis and Garrett crticize in their survey of the literature. Tsebelis and Garrett chose not to reference the full project, but rather a condensed overview published in article form in 1997. In the following sections we correct specific misrepresentations of our positions; note potential areas of agreement; and delineate the real points of disagreement, tying these to current theoretical debates.

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