The impact of European integration on national executives - here understood as national central administrations, comprising both the political and the administrative parts of the ministerial executive - has received growin& attention since the early 1990s. This interest in European integration as a (potential) source of change in the ministerial executives of the member states is, in itself, scarcely surprising. Most contemporary writing in the field of comparative executive studies is explicitly oriented towards describing and explaining change, and the literature is replete with references to fundamental reform and transformation. For political and administrative scientists, European integration provides a welcome addition to the already long list of challenges to the 'old-time religion' of traditional public administration. 1 As Edward Page and Linda Wouters note, 'Almost all discussions of administrative change in Europe in the wake of the development of closer European integration are couched in terms of a potential' ,2 yet few scholars in search of the European effect seem deterred by their sceptical conclusion that 'there is no strong reason to believe that ... "Europeanization" necessarily brings with it any substantial change in the national administrative structure of member states'.3