By Jean Blondel, Ferdinand Müller-Rommel
A presentation of the constitution and workings of the nationwide cupboards in Western eu nations this day, in keeping with a typical framework which permits the reader to match their origins, constitution, composition and actions. Emphasis is put on the management and at the personality of coalitions.
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Additional info for Cabinets in Western Europe
87 21 18 16 18 18 19 20 22 22 22 18 21 23 23 22 21 21 The cabinet consists of the senior figures in government, those heading the major departments as well as some non-departmental ministers. It always includes the senior Treasury or Finance Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and, since 1977, another Treasury minister, the Chief Secretary. Other positions always represented are those of the Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Home Affairs, Scotland, and Defence and, since 1964, the Secretary of State for Wales, while the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has been in the cabinet since 1972.
There are cases of policy issues being considered in detail in cabinet, especially those involving important changes in the framework of government such as the proposal to create elected regional governments in Scotland and Wales in 1978 and 1979. But these are the exception rather than the rule and most policy issues are examined in detail before they reach cabinet. Cabinet may occasionally get involved in solving conflictual matters regardless of their intrinsic importance - but this is unusual.
Cabinet meetings are held on a weekly basis, on a Thursday morning for one-and-a-halfto three hours. Usually no formal cabinet meetings are held for four to six weeks during the parliamentary recess (Wilson, 1976). The number of meetings of cabinet has tended to decline in the post-war period. Under Attlee and Churchill it met regularly twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with an annual total of about 90 formal meetings. Heath seems to have adopted a similar twice weekly schedule (Heath, 1976).