Extending the two-level metaphor to the European Union: The problem of conceptualization
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- CICERO Working Papers 
In this paper a major conceptual problem in integration theory, viz. the lack of a conceptualization of the role of the EU in contemporary research, is addressed. This is an acute problem as one increasingly employs a 'two-level' metaphor for the states-EU interaction in contemporary studies of the EU. Empirical evidence from recent studies strongly indicates that especially the Commission is an important actor. In Part 1 it is argued that there are major shortcomings in the current conceptualizations of both the state and the EU, and that these have to be overcome if we are to proceed towards the development of dynamic, explanatory theories of integration. In Part 2 the conceptual improvements in recent literature in the predominant, inter-governmentalist tradition are evaluated, arguing that its major shortcoming is the lack of a theory of the role of non-state actors. In Part 3 it is suggested how the EU may be conceptualized as a multilateral institution. Finally I show how the first and the second level interrelate.